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API at LdM in Florence, Italy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

API Florence 2007

I had an incredible study abroad semester in Florence with API. The city of Florence is absolutely beautiful with no shortage of things to do. The API staff in Florence was always available and served as a fantastic resource for navigating the city and culture. The staff also did an excellent job of planning and coordinating social events and weekend trips - like a Florentine soccer game or a tour of Tuscany including a vineyard in Chianti and a relaxing day at the hot springs spa. The whole process from start to end with API was easy and straightforward. Would highly recommend to anyone else!

  • Academic Programs International responded to this review July 24, 2015 at 6:35 AM

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us Christina - we're thrilled you had a great experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

“To Travel Is To Evolve” – Pierre Bernard

The highlight of my collegiate career was studying abroad through Academic Programs International to Florence, Italy. Throughout college I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I grew up, and studying abroad provided me the platform to not only find my future career, but also to find myself. Florence is a culturally rich city, full of art, history, delicious food, and amazing vibes. Prior to departing to Florence, API ensured that I was prepared for the road ahead and their support did not stop when I arrived in Italy. My phenomenal residence directors met me at the airport and assured me they would do anything and everything they could to make my trip unforgettable. They surely did not disappoint: I received advice on eateries and local monuments, help with planning independent excursions, and assistance with simple (yet unfamiliar) tasks such as mailing letters at the post office. In addition, LDM was an academically stimulating environment and I thoroughly enjoyed learning in a small classroom with an Italian professor. The courses offered were nothing like the options available to me at my home university; my favorite course at LDM was Sociology of the Mafia. Finally, API’s planned excursions and cultural activities were on point. These varying opportunities allowed me to become more knowledgeable and well-versed in Italian culture and see the most incredible sights. API’s ability to provide for students (pre-departure advising, on-site care, re-entry support) is second to none; I felt supported throughout my entire journey. I highly endorse this organization and I would recommend Florence as a destination that offers it all!

  • Academic Programs International responded to this review January 09, 2015 at 6:02 AM

    Thanks for the kind words Kate - we loved hearing about your journey!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Independent and Intellectually Immersed

Studying abroad with API changed the outlook I had on my college experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to study abroad for a semester as an NCAA Division II student-athlete. That in its own right is a challenging and valuable experience. Yet, I wanted to add even more knowledge and skills during my undergraduate career and studying abroad with API proved to be just what I was looking for. In just the 4 months that I spent living abroad in the heart of Tuscany, I gained even more valuable experience to add to my college resume; all skills that contributed to my participation in athletics, but also skills that contributed to my overall growth as a person. I quickly became an even stronger, independent, and more intellectually immersed individual. The API Florence team is a phenomenal group of women who guide American students along this path of self-discovery. All of the excursions and cultural activities API Florence offers works to help students become more knowledgable and intellectually stimulated in a global environment. There is a lot of support and guidance from API to give students the most fulfilled opportunity possible. An online toolbox filled with information and reading materials can be accessed before, during, and after abroad to aid students in the preparation and post-abroad process. Additionally, API Florence has an office right in the city near the university for the students' use. Everything is organized and details are shared so you, the student, knows what to expect and if you have questions, you know where to go or what resources to access. This is what helped me get the most out of my time abroad. The API team who works in Florence really does want you to take advantage of all the opportunities the program and city has to offer. It is because of their diligence to work for the students and contribute to the individual's development that I feel my return to my college campus has been incredibly smooth.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

API stole my heart!

My experience with API in Florence, Italy influenced my year abroad, as well as my future career. During my time spent in Florence, the on site staff were continually planning events and traveling trips throughout Italy. In a new country by myself, I always felt like I had someone to rely on while I was abroad. I also loved Scuola Lorenzo de'Medici. The international school offered so many different types of courses that couldn't be found anywhere else: art classes in the Uffizi museum, wine tasting trying various Italian wines, and cooking lessons with a true artist and chef, Professor Nappi. It was because of this overall amazing experience that I decided to work abroad in Japan (for three years!) upon graduation from college. Looking back at all my years abroad, I attribute my success to my starting point: API in Florence, Italy.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

An Amazing Experience

API is an amazing program, complete with amazing people and opportunities. Everyone I spoke to through API were not only helpful but were also so friendly. I never had one problem with any of the employees to API. The program provides students with so many opportunities to make the each students' study abroad an experience of a lifetime. API helped me immerse myself within the culture and helped me take in as much as I could while I was there. I would recommend API to any student wanting to study abroad. It was a wonderful experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Can I Go Back Yet?

API is AMAZING. This time last year, all I knew was that I wanted to study abroad. I had no idea which program to choose, so I began my search by looking at websites such as this. Thankfully, I was convinced by a review on this very website. I am now hoping to do the same for someone else. I honestly don't know how I could have had a more worthwhile or life changing experience through a different program. It was the perfect amount of supervision with the staff and freedom with my peers. I had so much fun taking in the culture and history that I could while still feeling safe and secure. My apartment in Florence was literally five steps away from The David. I'm actually half-wishing I wasn't writing this review right now because it's making me upset that I can't go back.
I felt very safe in Florence. There were a couple of times when my roommates would leave our doors unlocked at the apartment, but nothing was ever stolen. I DO know a couple of students that were with us who were pickpocketed as we were out at night, so I would just recommend having a side purse that you can always have your eye on, or just keep your money in a front pocket where no one can reach it. Never bring ALL of your money or credit cards with you. It does get a little creepy at night, as some italians do tend to whistle at you and/or walk behind you. I always stayed with at least one other person. If you just ignore them they usually give up, and nothing ever happened beyond that. Besides a couple of whistles at night, there was nothing else that caused me to feel unsafe!
The food is AMAZING (OF COURSE)! Gusta Pizza is a must. So is the very first gelato shop you come to when you cross the Ponte Vecchio (GET PINEAPPLE GELATO--it is the best here!) Everywhere else is equally delicious, of course. Also, did I mention there is a Secret Bakery? YES. a Secret Bakery. It is only open at night, and there is no sign. If you're lucky, sometimes you can follow your nose (of find some other wanderers at night) to the frosted glass doors where you knock three times and wait for the most delicious treats to be secretly brought to you! One of my favorite memories was searching for the Secret Bakery!
Overall, I couldn't have done it without the API advisors. I loved going on all of the excursions each weekend (Cinque Terre, Rome, Padova, Verona, Venice--all included in tuition) and I loved talking to the advisors. They were all so nice and hilarious. They also lived right around the corner, so if you ever needed them, they were just a few steps away. Another one of my favorite things about the program was the group cooking class. We all went to a giant kitchen where we all learned to cook a three course meal (we got all the recipes afterwards). Studying abroad is best and worst thing you can possibly do. It's a life changing experience: once you're home all you want to do it go back. I encourage you to Study Abroad and guarantee that you can't go wrong with API! I wouldn't trade the memories or friendships for anything.


Academics:
I took Foundation Oil Painting (I'm a Nursing Major) and it was SO much fun! It wasn't too challenging. We got to listen to music in class, it was so relaxing and I learned so much!

Living Situation:
The apartments are AMAZING! Talk about the complete Italian experience. I was prepared to be living in a tiny one-room apartment with six other girls, but they are very spacious with many rooms, a living room, fully equipped kitchen, and two bathrooms! We had absolutely no problems. We were also in a building with other Italian neighbors which really helped assimilate you to the environment. The ONLY thing is that if you are there in the summer, it gets HOT!! I mean, we were literally melting during a couple nights. So I would highly recommend bringing something to help you cool down (a wet towel and water bottle for me did not suffice). I know some had air conditioning, but our particular unit did not.

Cultural Immersion:
I felt very well integrated! Almost too integrated because everyone spoke English! I didn't really get to learn much Italian because every time I would try to speak it they would look at me like "Oh, silly American, here, I will speak English for you!". You will soon notice that there are a LOT of tourists in Florence. However, it doesn't take long for it to feel like home!

Health and Safety:
I'm repeating myself: I felt very safe in Florence. There were a couple of times when my roommates would leave our doors unlocked at the apartment, but nothing was ever stolen. I DO know a couple of students that were with us who were pickpocketed as we were out at night, so I would just recommend having a side purse that you can always have your eye on, or just keep your money in a front pocket where no one can reach it. Never bring ALL of your money or credit cards with you. It does get a little creepy at night, as some italians do tend to whistle at you and/or walk behind you. I always stayed with at least one other person. If you just ignore them they usually give up, and nothing ever happened beyond that. Besides a couple of whistles at night, there was nothing else that caused me to feel unsafe!

Social Life:
Just avoid pickpockets at night and the high cover charges!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Firenze- a city of food, wine, & art

Chances are if you’re reading this, you already want to study abroad. So what made it the best experience of my college career? Academic Programs International.

A year and a half ago, I was in your shoes pondering through the numerous possibilities. I focused on three main program criteria: academic rigor, expansion of my worldly knowledge, and to gain an appreciation of other cultures. For the prefect balance, I picked API’s Florence semester program. The benefits began at the user friendly application and continued throughout the semester. I started my travels with cultural immersion trips by API: Rome, Venice, and my personal favorite, Tuscany- in which we experienced the heart of Chianti through the wine tasting at the Castello di Verrazzano. Due to Florence’s proximity to major railways etc I was also able to traveled near and far to places such as Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Munich, Prague, and Istanbul. And while I love to travel, my time in Florence made the long-lasting impressions. API does a great job immersing students into the Italian culture and providing a connection with academic courses.

Following my return to the United States, I have come to the realization that my time abroad has altered my life goals, character, habits, and general attitude. For that, I can thank API.



Academics:
The program offers a wide variety of courses! As a Psychology major, this was a welcome surprise and I enjoyed gaining an international perspective on topics.

Living Situation:
API provides students with great apartments across Firenze! It was reassuring to know that if any issues arose, API would be there to help fix the problem.

Cultural Immersion:
API did a fantastic job getting students involved in the local culture (tips on where locals buy groceries, a soccer team, a cooking class with local chefs etc), and excursions around the country!

Program Administration:
API has an office in the heart of Firenze (complete with computers study rooms etc) where students can go at any time to talk with program advisors and staff. They were always accessible and and very knowledgable.

Health and Safety:
The program is very safe, and Florence in general.

Social Life:
Very easy to meet with other students and locals.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

I left my heart in Florence

My semester spent in Florence with API completely changed my life. Not only did I grow as a person, but I gained clarity that led me to a decision about my future that previously I had been too scared to choose. The classes I took were fascinating and were in subject areas that my small college was not able to offer. I lived in a great little apartment, and my roommates ended up being my travel companions & great friends. I could also not have asked for a better program than API - they were incredibly supportive and helpful from the paperwork process before leaving, all the way to after I returned.

I started my food blog, Gillianasana, at the start of my semester, so if any one is considering Florence and would like an inside look, here is the link: http://gillianasana.blogspot.com. I can't recommend studying in Florence and/or with API enough, and I would do it all over again.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Best Experience

Studying abroad in Florence for a semester was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Florence is such an amazing city full of art, history, culture, delicious food and beautiful scenes. The API directors in Florence really made us students feel at home, making it an even more unbelievable experience. Also, the school LDM is fantastic, full of great professors and an huge array of courses offered that you would not find at most U.S. universities.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Excellent Experience!

Florence was amazing. There are many different people from all different areas. You just need to know where to go and know who to talk to in order to dive into the Italian culture. People are friendly, the sights are beautiful, and it was four of the greatest months of my life. I hope to return for a visit someday when I am older!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Ciao Ciao

API made my study abroad experience worthwhile. Before going abroad I researched like crazy and tried to prepare for anything and everything under the moon, I get nervous easily. Once I got accepted to API things got easier. They took care of everything and gave me detailed information on how to prepare to go abroad. Once I got there they set up orientations and activities to help us adjust. What was nice was they had a lot of things planned but they weren't manditory. You could go to the soccer game, but you didn't have to go to the opera night. One of the best activities they had was the cooking class, it happens the first week you are in Florence. Not only did this help me to bond with my roommates but it also helped us meet other people in our program that we became friends with that I still talk to to this day. The one problem my roommates and I had was the school. They were very strict and the amount of work they had was somewhat challenging with all the traveling you do. Other than that I had a great apartment with a few issues which is normal because they are so old. API was very helpful with all the problems that came up. I truly enjoyed my experience abroad and have API to thank for that.

  • Academic Programs International responded to this review July 24, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    Glad we were able to help you have such a great experience- thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    7

Empowering, inspiring, surreal, scary, surprising

I chose my program while searching through The University of Rhode Island website suggestions of affiliated programs. I researched reviews and blogs from other students who travelled abroad and decided API was the best fit. They included extra opportunities like excursions around Italy and apartment arrangements which encourage immersion in the culture.

I purchased a RyanAir flight to Sardinia for five days with one of the friends I met abroad. My internship supervisor was from there and he told me some local adventures to experience. Without much time to plan, we flew to the island and created a spontaneous experience abroad-- which came along with successes and failures. We managed to rent a car and explored from North to South only with a map in hand. It was very empowering to decide on where to stay as the night approached and to figure out the roadways on our own. I'll never forget our crazy week in a foreign country with no gps and smiles on our faces.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    6

Life changing, exhilarating, unique, daring, unforgettable.

I chose Academic Programs International in Florence, Italy because I felt the most secure with API and because I wanted my first time outside of America to be in the country of my family origin.

My most memorable experience was seeing Istanbul for 6 days, jumping off of a cliff in Matala, Greece, and meeting my distant relatives for the first time in Italy.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    6

Exciting, Phenomenal, Educational, Friendly, and Happiness

My most memorable moment would be watching the fireworks along the Arno river on St. John's day. It was such an amazing experience with my new friends and most of Florence. I will never forget it.

I chose API because the classes fit into my degree and they offered great assistance and trips along the way.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Studying Abroad in Florence, Italy was the best decision for my college experience

I went to Italy for my Study Abroad. I was in Florence in Spring 2010. The Program was great. I enjoyed the way they organized everything from traveling to the living arrangement. I would recommend that everyone that has the opportunity to study abroad should do it!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

great travel, OK classes

I had an amazing time, loved Florence and traveled a lot. The classes I took were okay. Not challenging at all.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Too many people

Too many people from one school. (Stonehill).

Not enough people from different areas.

Everyone from Stonehill and they already had their friends. I would do something different if I went again.