I had an amazing time. Loved everything about my experience, so much I want to move back and work for a tour guide company or study abroad company! I just traveled around Italy and thought it was... MandyLeeT
Ways to a Perfect Experience
Submitted by Dena - Springfield, MA Western New England University | April 29, 2015
It may seem crazy to give a program a perfect review. But when it was ran so smoothly and I was in an amazing country how could I not. The experiences I had and the friendships I made were more significant that I could ever imagine. The excursions offered with the program allowed me to travel with my new friends without the pressures of having to plan the trips myself. The courses I took were unlike anything I've ever taken in America, I went on class trips and gave performances. I could go on for hours about my amazing host mom. I strongly suggest living with a host family because it just adds a whole other level to your trip. I learned the language, had homemade meals, and met so many people. I wish I could go back everyday. I miss the city filled with so much art, beauty, history, and love. If you want a memorable study abroad experience this is the program you need to take.
Best Decision of My Life
Submitted by Lynn Ymker - Brookings South Dakota State University | April 28, 2015
I only spent three weeks in Florence but they were by far some of the best weeks of my life. I met amazing people and also had amazing experiences. I took an Italian wine and culture class. Going in, I knew nothing about wine, but now I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable. My teacher did a great job. We went on a field trip one day to Montepulciano and Pienza. ISA provided excursions to Cinque Terre and Rome. Both trips were amazing! My apartment was in the same building as the ISA office and was a one minute walk from Ponte Vecchio. Being so close to the city center was amazing and I immersed myself in the culture as much as I could! I would do it again in a heart beat!
Submitted by Leah Shaknitz - Tempe, Arizona Arizona State University | April 23, 2015
Studying in Florence was truly a dream, and ISA helped that dream come true. The staff in both America and Italy were fantastic, super helpful, and always making sure we had a great time. The excursions provided by ISA including but not limited to Cinque Terre, Rome, Siena, and San Gimignano (there were much more) were well planned, and both great day trips and weekend trips. The apartment I was placed in was very authentic and was right next to the famous Piazza della Repubblica and a 10 minute walk from the school FUA. Just an example of how the staff tried to make us feel welcomed and at home- they set up a Thanksgiving Feast for us to enjoy since we were so far from family on the holiday. I highly recommend this trip and studying with ISA you will not regret it!!!
Loved everything about it
Submitted by MandyT5 - New York | August 20, 2014
ISA was a great program. Very nice and welcoming staff. Loved the two trips I went on with them. Had great housing and wonderful roommates who I still stay in contact with. Wish I was still in college so I could study abroad more!
Submitted by MandyLeeT - New York | August 06, 2014
I had an amazing time. Loved everything about my experience, so much I want to move back and work for a tour guide company or study abroad company! I just traveled around Italy and thought it was magnificent but there is so much more of Europe I want to see. ISA made me love my experience so much that I want to go back as soon as possible.
Florence is a vineyard, olive grove, truffle forest
Submitted by Sarah Dufresne - Millbury, MA | July 14, 2014
MY experience in Florence Italy was unremarkable. I speak about and refer to experiences I shared there as if it were only yesterday. The cultural immersion that was provided by my program was the best opportunity to truly live at a florentine. I was heavily involved in a sustainable agriculture program within my studies and was able to travel much of the farmland, vineyards and agriculture of Italy. My program also allowed me to do my own independent research with Italy and discover on my own with support of my local community. I would highly recommend this study abroad program and will travel back to Italy with the treasured memories every time! I could not have asked for a better experience abroad, every student should participate in this opportunity!
Submitted by Matt - Ferris State University | September 22, 2013
Great program! I love FUA. Wish I had more interactions with Italians.
I absolutely LOVED my program
Submitted by Geena - Carroll College | September 22, 2013
I absolutely LOVED my program! ISA was so supportive and really cares for you. The location of my apartment was prime -- right in the city center. Academics were also so interesting and really broadened my horizons.
Once in a lifetime
Submitted by H. Haberle - University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill | September 21, 2013
Awesome experience with great people!
You Won't Know Until You Go
Submitted by Breanna Miele - Saginaw Valley State University | November 08, 2012
I honestly cannot praise ISA and the Florence program specifically enough. This experience changed my life in every way possible--but in the most positive ways, of course (as cheesy as that sounds). If you are on the fence about this program or are still unsure, all I can tell you is that of all the things Study Abroad Alumni say when they get back from a trip, the one thing they don't say is that they regret doing it.
For the most part, the classes were a lot of fun and really interesting. There was just one professor I had that wasn't as engaging as she could have been.
The location was amazing!! I was two minutes from Ponte Vecchio. I felt very safe in the apartment and the living conditions were fine. The only thing was that our toilet was in our shower (no joke)! That was a little difficult at times. Overall, it was a good apartment, though.
The on-site staff is especially amazing!!!
Health and Safety:
I felt safe most of the time. Just beware of pick-pockets and be smart. Use common sense and you'll be just fine.
I met so many people this summer who became my friends for life, locals, people from surrounding countries, and Americans.
Submitted by Karab - Central Missouri State University | November 08, 2012
I loved studying abroad in Florence, Italy through ISA. The staff was helpful and personable. When I had concerns they would talk them through with me and help me find a way to solve it. I was upset at first with how far away my homestay was from the main part of Florence. I had quite a long walk or had to ride the bus. That upset the American me who is used to having everything easy and was only looking for what a tourist looks for. However, the staff talked it through with me and I decided to stick with it. I am more than glad I did! My homestay mother made excellent traditional Italian, was very nice, and I began to feel like a local rather than a tourist. I had the privilege of interacting with local Italians rather than just other tourists.
Florence is a wonderful, very beautiful town. I always had something great to eat, museum to visit, event to attend, and buildings to gaze at. It is not expensive to enter the many museums and basilicas around the town so do it! Just like anyplace in the world you should never walk alone at night and always be aware for pick pocketers since it is a touristy town! This should not scare you away from it as any major city or town is like that!
As for the negative review about the classes at FUA. I took Cooking and Art/Architecture and LOVED it. There was barely any lecture in the cooking and I learned many tips that I use every day. That class made cooking so enjoyable and I can impress people with what I learned! The art/architecture class in phenomenal since I was studying in the famous "living museum." Instead of sitting around we saw ruins from the Romans/Etruscans, Medici palazzos, the Santa Croce Basilica, Botticelli's Birth of Venus and so much more. Definitely go!
Health and Safety:
Just like any tourist area you need to be careful and aware. Do not walk alone at night. If you are obviously drunk or wearing revealing clothing (both not very encouraged in Italy) you may get harassed. I feel like that is the way it is a lot of places though so do not let it scare you away. Just be smart!
Submitted by Kimmy Keslin - University of Georgia | October 30, 2012
I can say that studying abroad in Florence, Italy was the best semester of my life - hands down. And it probably wouldn't have been the same without the help of the ISA staff. The on-site staff was always there willing to help without being too hands on and annoying. They gave you a sense of freedom on this new journey, yet you felt safe knowing you had a family away from home. You could have a wonderful time abroad without any worries.
Health and Safety:
I never felt unsafe walking through the streets of Florence. Even when walking home late at night, there was always a lighted way and people around. Nothing too sketchy.
Italia - Mamma Mia!!
Submitted by Lindsay - University of Dayton | October 30, 2012
Firenze, Italia, what more do I have to say? My semester abroad with ISA was travel-packed, exhausting and absolutely unforgettable. Not one of my 111 day trip was spent uneventful. From the streets of Florence, the waterfalls of Morocco, the Alps of Austria, the Tuscan sunsets, the festivals of Spain, the Guinness Ireland and Mt. Etna in Sicily, my trip was just that - one of a lifetime.
My decision to study abroad in Italy with ISA completely shaped my experience. Starting with the application process and registration, to our arrival in Rome, ISA was helpful, friendly and supportive. Before you leave the U.S., the ISA program schedules your classes, registers your visa paperwork, arranges your housing and thoroughly prepares you for what you may encounter along the way. Throughout my time abroad, the ISA Florence team was extremely engaged with the students and tended to our every question and request. The team organized tours, day trips, cultural activities, overnight trips, soccer games, holiday events and outings.
Without the help and support of ISA my time abroad may have been spent worrying, planning or desperately trying to emerge into Italian culture. ISA made it an easy transition and allowed more time for excitement. Everyday I spent in Italy, I learned something new, tried something new or did something new. Your time abroad is short, there is no time to waste!
Molto Bene a Firenze!
Submitted by Angela Coburn - West Chester University of Pennsylvania | October 29, 2012
I loved my ISA Study Abroad experience so much. The only bad part about my experience was my House mom, but I informed ISA of this throughout the trip and they did so much to help make it better for me. The staff was so helpful and friendly and genuinely excited about giving us an amazing experience. They planned so many things to get us acquainted and to make sure we were fully immersed in the culture in addition to making the transition a lot easier. My class was so interesting and I learned A LOT. The work was not difficult or intensive so I was still able to enjoy myself. The friends I made there I still talk to a year and a half later. We became like a family and I could not have asked for a better experience. I would recommend ISA to ANYONE and EVERYONE I know and I have continued to do so!!!!!
Submitted by Jessica Phan - | October 29, 2012
My trip began in Rome, Italy where I met the other fifty students’ part of this summer program and had my orientation. ISA organized walking and bus tours for us and brought us to a group dinner. During my four-day stay in Rome I had the opportunity to see the Roman Ruins, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican museum.
After orientation, ISA brought us all on a bus to Florence, Italy. They brought us all to our respective apartments and gave us our keys. I lived in an apartment across from Pitti Palace with eight other girls. There were three bedrooms with three girls per room each with a bathroom. The nine of us all shared the kitchen, the washer, and the TV. Yes, I only said washer. As I lived independently in a new country, I had to learn new customs. In Italy, dryers do not exist and everything gets hung dry off the balcony or on a line. Italy also does not serve drinks in restaurants with ice. There was plenty to get used to, but nothing to hold me back from having fun and exploring a new country.
During my three weeks in Italy I took a Physics class at the Florence University of the Arts. The credits I earned there were transferable to my major here at TCNJ. I walked to my class five days a week and was in class for about two hours. There were twelve people in my class; therefore my professor was able to supplement some of our class meetings with museum trips and labs. My days in Florence were all structured similarly. I was lucky to have my class in the morning so after class I would walk to the open market with my new found friends to buy food for lunch and dinner. Since the refrigerator was small and since food is so fresh in the markets, we bought our food on a daily basis. I had so much fun cooking in the apartment with the other girls and experimenting with new types of pastas and vegetables.
Every other weekday, the girls in my room and I took day trips around Italy. We chose cities that we about an hour to an hour and a half out of Florence and could be reached by train and/or bus. The train station was definitely intimidating at first and very confusing, but after our first trip we felt confident and continued travelling. The day trips that I went to include San Gimignano, Signa, Pisa, and Lucca. On the weekends we took farther trips. The first weekend I followed the excursion ISA provided and went to Lake Garda and Verona. They once again brought us on tours, however this time it was a beautiful boat tour and a walking tour respectively. On the second weekend my friends and I went to Venice by EuroRail, one of the fastest European trains. Finally, on the last weekend, my roommates and I stayed in Cinque Terre to hike the five villages and stayed overnight to enjoy the beach the following day.
Although, I was nervous and scared at first, in the end I did not want to leave and now I wish I could go back. I can confidently say that if I were to go back to Florence, Italy I would be very comfortable and know where to go and who to go to in the event of an emergency. The ISA staff based in Florence was one of the most amazing groups of people I have ever met. They became like family to me during my stay, helping me out when I needed it, showing me where to go for the best foods and entertainment, even walking me to the post office to send a letter back home. I appreciated their help so much and not once did I feel that they were tired of helping and caring for all of us.
What I have shared with you is just a recap of my experiences in Italy this past summer. This does not even begin to describe all the amazing sites I saw, all the interesting people I met, all the friendships I have made, and all the great food I ate. I was privileged to have the opportunity to study abroad and even have my parents visit me there, but with appropriate planning, anyone can go. I definitely encourage anyone who has even thought of studying abroad to go and explore. My experience is one that I will never forget. St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” After this amazing experience I can say that I have definitely turned some pages in my book and I cannot wait to continue doing so in the future.
I loved my Physics professor. He made the class fun and enjoyable during the summer session. We took trips to local museums to supplement the lectures.
Even in the apartment with 8 other girls, the apartment was spacious. The apartment was located in a very convenient spot in Florence.
ISA offered many ways in order to become culturally immersed, I only found it difficult to participate in all these activities while being there for only 3 weeks.
The staff was fun, welcoming, and extremely helpful!