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Music Semester in Italy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best experience I could ask for

My teachers were amazing, the school administrators were always available when I needed them, and we lived in a common apartment in the center of Florence
There is nothing I would have changed about the experience. I was properly prepared by the program director before, and they even checked in occasionally during my stay. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I would definitely recommend PAA.

My class was much more intense and longer than my voice lessons at my home university, however I loved it so much more than my usual lessons. I had to write a six page research paper, which I normally do not have to do, and I gave a final exam performance. I absolutely LOVED my teacher, Susanna Piccardi. She was a challenging professor but she was so knowledgeable in Italian vocal technique and drove me to work harder than I ever have, however I loved every moment and I learned more than I ever have before, especially in such a short time. I cannot say enough about this teacher. I honestly wish that I could take her, as well as my accompanist Camilla, back to the U.S. with me for school. I definitely want to study at FUA again, maybe for my junior year, just so I can work with the two of them again.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Positive aspects? Everything!

I would love to receive (perhaps I have at home and haven't yet seen it as I am still travelling abroad) my grades overall and for the final exams. Small classes were great and a more advanced Italian class would have been helpful as there was a wide scope of ability in the one 'advanced' class (not the teacher's fault!).

The staff were fantastic, replied to any emails within minutes when I was still in Australia despite the time difference, and were really kind and helpful in Italy too!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Adjusting

Coming into Florence I knew that I was signing up for a different world, no pun intended. Trying to fully plunge myself into a new lifestyle can turn into a plethora of things. But for me it was life changing. I decided to add to my course load of two music classes and try to learn Italian. I reached out to our neighbor who taught me Italian everyday after my classes. She taught me basic things I would need to know to get by and also down to conjugation! Not being fully fluent in Italian also taught me patience. Learning to explain things the best way you can and not quickly or at all getting upset that you aren't understood humbled me. Now working with my instructors was an amazing experience because I got the chance to work with someone other than my professors from undergrad.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

PAA review

I thought this program was a lot of fun and I certainly learned a lot in my host country. The school in Florence I stayed in was perfectly placed and had everything students would need except a cheap and public was to eat. I met a lot of very interesting Americans and even a few Florentines. A good program, language classes were great, but the other academics were not as interesting.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

The music and Italian teachers were wonderful, sweet, helpful and very approachable.

The school was mainly full of American or Japanese students and these students stayed in groups by themselves. I wanted to have Italian friends with whom I could speak the language not these students.

I integrated into the culture by seeking out friends on my own. There were definitely not enough facilities/activities provided through the program or the school.

Expect challenges (not necessarily bad) with roommates. Also, the staff at the school is not very easy to communicate with. You might like to make a good relationship with the PAA staff to discuss difficulties because it's not always very easy with the school directors.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    5

  • Social Life

    9

Written review from above categories

Singing teacher who I had for 2hrs in total for the week - was superb and I learnt a lot from her. Struggled to organise more time with her as was going against admin rules however paid extra in the end. Internship was a disaster - no performance opportunities and did menial tasks such a emptying dustbins, ensuring the bathroom was clean and if it wasn't to clean it, and that there was enough toilet role. I'm a singer, and have had many small jobs/internships where I have helped out cleaning here and there, but I have all gained experience and new skills which will aid me in my career too. I understand the Italian culture it one where everyone helps out, but i wasn't gaining anything from it. So I stopped after 3 weeks, fortunately having the FUA transcript didn't matter for me as I'm British however I would not recommend anyone in the USA to apply for the Music Volunteer in St Marks Church Internship as you will be committed and you would be able to quit as you would get an 'F'.

Overall experience is mainly based on my enjoyment and learning experience with the singing teacher and making the great friends that I will forever stay in contact with.

In terms of cultural immersion - I think this was mainly done with me as an individual (or with friends i had met there) seeking out my own new cultural experiences. FUA hadn't really helped with that.

Health + Safety - average. 2 checks of the house to make sure it was still 'ok' whilst I was living there.