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AIFS Study Abroad in Florence: Semester or Year

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

When Can I Go Back?!

I had known I wanted to study abroad since high school, but I wasn't aware of many programs that could lead me to Florence. After researching programs outside of my university (which didn't off a program in Florence) I landed on AIFS because it seemed to offer the most for the least cost.

AIFS included many excursions and events that were covered by the program cost. We spent a weekend in London and 5 days in Rome for orientation. During the middle of the program, we had the opportunity to participate in a weekend trip to Venice. There were also many day trips to cities such as Siena, San Gimignano, Lucca and Pisa. There were activities available such as wine tastings, cooking and pastry classes, soccer games and more that the students could participate in.

One of the aspects of AIFS that impressed me the most was the meal plan. The Florence program included both breakfast and dinner meal tickets that could be used for meals at various restaurants throughout the city. Reading about the plan before my trip I was thinking "the restaurants will probably be okay, but they'll probably be more for students or tourists" but I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the restaurants were incredibly delicious and enjoyed by locals as well. I rarely had a meal that I didn't want to rewind and enjoy again.

I lived with a host mom who was incredibly sweet. The program gave the option of living with American students in our program in apartments or living with a host family. I had a roommate from my program as well and we shared a room in the apartment of an older Italian woman named Vittoria. She had two adult children living in Florence and one had children of his own so we got to visit with her family sometimes as well. Two of her grandchildren helped us work on our Italian as they were learning English in school and could speak very well already at the ages of six and eight. Her children were both fluent which was helpful as Vittoria only knew a handful of English words. Vittoria would make us home-cooked meals about twice a month and was a very useful resource for any questions we had about the city!

It's difficult for me to put into words how wonderful my experience in Florence was. I want to highlight how wonderful all of the staff of AIFS was both overseas and back in the states. They were all polite, kind and helpful in every aspect. The staff made my preparation for studying abroad easier by including the flight package, helping me fill out and send in a VISA application and answering any questions I had. Once abroad, the staff was very energetic and kind. They provided many opportunities for the students to meet each other and local students.

Overall, I am ecstatic and grateful that I chose AIFS as my study abroad program for Florence. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I cannot wait to return to the beautiful city.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Come perfetto

This spring semester I took the opportunity to experience a different perspective of Europe in a place where I have always wanted to live. The last two summers I have been fortunate enough to be able to compete in the European skateboarding competition circuit. Therefore, that is how I familiarized Europe by, the extremely inviting skate family that showed no discrimination towards things like age gender and race. This is where I experienced my first taste of how hospitable others can be if you share a universal commonality. For me, that commonality or shared love is skateboarding. As long as you have a passion for something, you have a chance to make new friends all over the world for life. Studying abroad in Firenze Italy enabled me to capitalize on this way of thinking in addition to helping me better discover myself and what I would like to do in the future.
As an international business major, I strived to one-day look towards a career becoming an importing and exporting agent abroad. This meant I would have to become fluent in Italian and one semester in Firenze became my new challenge to do so. I spent four months living with an Italian host family where I felt like part of the family instantly. The three kids, Ginevra, Virginia and Pietro always patiently helped refine my Italian outside of class but more importantly they showed me what it was truly like to have younger siblings. It was literally perfect, my host mother was a designer of a luxury brand in Italy called AC’M. There were art desks located everywhere perfect for random inspiration I would get along with a beautiful town home in Florence straight out of a home décor magazine. The city of Firenze itself taught me much about art, specifically new and innovative art mediums used in my Painting in Florence III class. I was able to complete my first oil painting and how to create egg tempra paint made from scratch. Whenever I needed inspiration, I used the cities multitude of famous museums free for students to study works, stroke techniques and to seek inspiration whenever I needed it. My favorite days were those spent painting Florence’s oldest bridge the Ponte Vecchio from the private rowing club patio. At the end of the semester the school held an art exhibit for the students art work highlighting our hard work.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation