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SPI High School Italian Language Immersion in Tuscany

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Highly recommend SPI in Siena!

There is no experience more transformative and expanding than study-abroad, and SPI seeks to offer the best in this type of experience. They carefully choose study programs at universities which can offer well-trained homestay experiences and excellent language studies. Students are encouraged to learn to live like a "local" and to truly enjoy all parts of living abroad. As a veteran educator, I have highly recommended SPI's program to my students, for their focus on maintaining a personal relationship with the family (both at home and the home-stay family experience).

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Social Life

    10

This is the program for you

Again, the Palio was by far my son's most memorable experience. That's not to say that all aspects of the program weren't fantastic (they were!), but getting to be involved in such an amazing cultural event (the biggest in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe), that is a memory that my son will treasure for a lifetime.

My son had been wanting to study abroad in Italy for most of his young adult life and we wanted somewhere that wasn't a big city, somewhere other than Rome or Florence. We began researching online and found that SPI had better reviews than any other similar program we could find.

Accommodations were simple yet cozy. Very Italian, just what you would expect from a "typical" host family - right down to the fabulously cooked food! Really, the family couldn't have been better.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

I couldn't recommend SPI Siena more!

If what you want out of a study abroad program is a caring host family, excellent language classes, fun and memorable activities, and great leaders - this is the program for you.

Academics:
The teachers at Dante were amazing. Classes were rigorous enough that my son successfully mastered a variety of new tenses and vocab in just two weeks. There seemed to be a significant amount of time spent on talking about the region and its history and other integral aspects of Italian culture. Students were encouraged to speak up and improve their oral skills.

Living Situation:
Family was amazing. Can you say 'homemade pasta'? :)

Cultural Immersion:
Students got to see a fair amount of Italy in just two weeks while also being immersed in Siena life. My son especially enjoyed the Palio festivities, the kids got to be involved in the race and all of the events leading up to it. This was my son's favorite part of the trip.

Program Administration:
The two head directors of the program took excellent care of the students. They were there for the kids when they needed them and treated them as the young adults that they are.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing experience of my life

My most memorable experience was definitely living with my homestay family. They immediately made me and my roommate feel right at home. We were basically their kids for the four weeks that we were there!!

I chose SPI because I wanted a full immersion program. I wanted to really speak the language and learn all about Italian culture. I didn't want to be on a tour, I wanted to feel like I was part of everything. And I really did - SPI was so awesome.

My homestay family lived in an awesome apartment right in the middle of the town. When I looked out my window, I could see Piazza del Campo!! Their apartment was really nice, and very clean. They always did our laundry and, like I said, fed us the best food ever.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Most amazing experience of my life in Siena

I had such a great experience with SPI in Siena. I don't even know where to begin!! My homestay family was so great -- they were so warm and wonderful, and they made me the most delicious Italian food of my life. I feel like I learned SO much when I was there -- my Italian class was awesome, and we were constantly speaking and hearing Italian outside of class, too. The SPI on-site directors were so helpful, and always there for us. I just had the best time!! I wish I could go back and do it all over again!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Alla Prossima Italia!

This trip has been a real life changer. I've started taking italian lessons at home and this trip gave me the confidence to do so! My home-stay, teachers and administrators were nothing but fun, understanding and helpful. My roommates were perfect. We became such close friends and were so helpful in the immersion experience. I miss Siena dearly and I hope one day to return with my fluent italian!

Academics:
My academic experience in Siena was amazing. The learning environment was so helpful and fun. I loved my teacher, Francesca.

Living Situation:
The family was perfect. Stefania was nothing but helpful, understanding and fun. I loved the fact that her family was always around. I miss them dearly. Anyone will be lucky to have them next year.

Cultural Immersion:
I liked the fact that we were able to walk around and explore the city with our friends and see what the locals did. I wish we would have been able to do it more.

Program Administration:
Although I loved the instructors, neither one of them spoke Italian so they were always getting kind of flustered with directions or relying on students to help them translate. They were fun, understanding and very helpful since they had been to Siena/Florence before they new how things worked.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

A Dive Into Italian: SPI in Siena

The SPI program in Siena is excellent. The group is not very large and you attend a class at the Dante Allegheri school for 4 hours each weekday. You attend classes during the time of the Palio, a huge horse race that is very important (culturally) to the people of Siena. I am so glad that I got to attend this program because I made great friends, learned how to undestand and vocalize in Italian, as well as stay in a place where I felt very safe. The homestays become very close people to you and you will not want to leave when you have to return home. I highly reccomend this program to anyone who wants to experience the Italian lifestyle and learn the language at the same time.

Academics:
Though I thouroughly enjoyed my classes at the Dante Allegheri school, I was just working on reinforcing what I had previously learned in my course at school. However, I really connected well with my educator and liked her methods of teaching parts of Italian I had a hard time understanding. The speaking portion was what I enjoyed most, and it was nice to talk to my peers and play cultural games while using Italian.

Living Situation:
If I could, I would give my homestay greater than an A+! I absolutely loved my homestay- the food was great, I connected well with my homestay family, felt welcome and that Italian was reinforced very well. The environment of my homestay was great and I hope to go back if I choose to study Italian in Siena again.

Cultural Immersion:
The cultural immersion in Siena was wonderful. Being in the program and learning Italian while the Palio was occuring really gave my peers and I a chance to feel connected to the people of the city and one of the most important pieces of their culture. I was lucky enough to live close to a contrada so I got an in-depth experience and really saw how this was a part of the Sienese lifestyle.

Program Administration:
My advisors were very plesant and seemed to be very well educated on Italian culture. They had a lot of information to explain when we visited cultural sites, and did a good job of getting the group to where it needed to be after classes.