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ISA Study Abroad in Florence, Italy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

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Loved everything about it

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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Spectacular

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

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Florence is a vineyard, olive grove, truffle forest

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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Great program!

Great program! I love FUA. Wish I had more interactions with Italians.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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I absolutely LOVED my program

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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Once in a lifetime

Awesome experience with great people!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

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You Won't Know Until You Go

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.

Academics:
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.

Living Situation:
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.

Program Administration:
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.

Social Life:
I met so many people this summer who became my friends for life, locals, people from surrounding countries, and Americans.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

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Firenze

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

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Brava!

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

Italia - Mamma Mia!!

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!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

Molto Bene a Firenze!

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!!!!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    0

  • Social Life

    0

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Ciao!

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.


Academics:
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.

Living Situation:
Even in the apartment with 8 other girls, the apartment was spacious. The apartment was located in a very convenient spot in Florence.

Cultural Immersion:
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.

Program Administration:
The staff was fun, welcoming, and extremely helpful!