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Studio Arts College International (SACI)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    5

  • Social Life

    7

Life Changing Experience

I studied at SACI in 2006, so I know this is a little dated. But I have such fond memories of my time there. The professors and administrators were incredible. Everyone went above and beyond to make sure we were settled in and I learned so much in my classes. The professors are all so talented in their fields, and push students in a good way to work hard and challenge themselves. I wish I'd taken Italian while I was there. I focused on art and took fresco, creative writing, drawing, painting, and jewelry. So I really didn't end up learning much Italian, just enough to get through the grocery shopping and getting lost. I regret not knowing more, so I'd really advise anyone to take the offered Italian class! I loved my apartment, but I lucked out and got one very close to the school. And, I'm still best friends with the roomie they assigned me! It was an amazing experience, immersing myself in art in the city that taught the masters...it was really incredible. Don't hesitate, do this program!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

My home away from home

Florence is a historical city with so much to offer, especially to students looking to study art, art history, and Italian culture. SACI allows students to take full advantage of everything the city has to offer. Each course that I took my semester abroad led me to walks around the city, exploring the marvelous artwork, some of which is plainly visible and others hidden in museums and churches.

The courses offered vary from the usual painting and drawing classes to the more unique courses, like batik and fresco painting. For me, learning the tedious and particular technique of fresco painting was intriguing and incredibly unique, let alone the Italian born teacher loves to pass along his excellent knowledge of this artistry.

The art history courses offered are so valuable in this city and country. There's so many opportunities to study artworks in person, making them more appreciable and memorable than viewing pictures of them in a textbook. Yes, the teacher is very fast paced, but when you realize how much art there is to cover in only a semester, you understand why you spend three days in Rome! It was so incredible to see so many well-known and beautiful artworks first-hand, I am so happy I took one of the six-credit traveling art history courses.

One of my favorite academic experiences was in the ceramics class. When you learn about Raku firing, you take a train to a nearby villa in the Tuscan hills of Certaldo and partake in the hands-on process of Raku. It was a lovely experience to physically help with the process in creating our art pieces.

As for the city itself, there's something new around every corner. Grand buildings and statues fill every piazza along with both the locals and the tourists, filling the city with life. Culture shock is definitely real as you take in the exciting new surroundings, but the faculty at SACI are very approachable and open to hearing out each student.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Amazing!

Last fall I spent a semester in Florence, Italy studying art through SACI. I studied Photography, Drawing, Batik and Italian, all of which with enjoyable and challenging in different ways. I loved how the classroom was often taken outdoors -- field trips drawing landscapes, buildings, and city scrapers, photographing our surroundings in new ways, and of course speaking Italian at the cade across the street in the morning, at the grocery stores in the afternoon, as we traveled and really whenever we had a chance. SACI provided housing in the historic center, fully furnished and with other SACI students. That gave me the opportunity to get to know and learn from these other artists, while also being in the middle of this beautiful historic city. Outside our window was a view of the Duoma and outside our door was a street full of shops, sales, leather stores and gelatarias. My roommates and I enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know the people that worked along our street, as we'd walk back and forth to class each day. SACI has 3 locations around the city, so there was a lot of rushed walking in between classes. If I returned, I think I would invest in a bike (although even that takes skill on crowded streets!) SACI also provided travel opportunities nearly every other weekend it seemed. Most of them were for students in Art History, but it was open to others who wanted to join, so I often did! The administration were very helpful as well were settling in, and had questions along the way. Their offices were at the main SACI building, and I always felt free to stop in and ask about anything.

I'm very thankful for the time spent in Florence, and to receive instruction from such great teachers. There were some challenging assignments, but in a good way, because in the end, I went like I'd really grown as an artist and as as person. They encouraged us to explore, learn and grow -- through teaching as well as there passion.

Another thing that I found amazing (especially as an art student) was seeing in real life all of these paintings, sculptures and architecture that I'd learned so much about! (It's true that pictures in a book really don't compare to being there, seeing and experiencing them.) SACI students had free access to the Uffitzi gallery, Academia and many other. One of my favorite places was the Boboli Gardens, attached to the Pitti Palace. The park was beautiful -- paths, trees, open areas, fountains and a view down on Florence. It provided a nice, peaceful balance to the business and excitement of the main downtown area.

The food is also wonderful! I didn't eat out much (to save money) but my roommates and I often bought groceries at the market and grocery stores, and made meals together in our kitchen. Every now and then we'd go out to eat, try something new -- never ordered something that wasn't good. One thing that surprised me was the pizza -- it is very thin so you can eat a whole pizza!

I would definitely recommend this program to others considering studying abroad. After returning home, I was sad to leave such a great time and place behind, but then I realized I had taken so much back home with me -- in terms of growth, experiences and lifelong friendships. At the same time there was much left -- old ways of seeing and doing things -- and that was a good thing! It caused me to love and appreciate life back home, and to walk with the same adventurous spirit as in Florence… and at the same time inspired me to to travel and explore more, realizing there's always more.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Best 4 months of my life

SACI was an unbelievable experience. I cannot explain how amazing some of my professors were, and the classroom experience was so different than what I was used to. Everything was much more engaging and there was never a class I wanted to skip. I was thrilled to go to class each and every day which I think is a pretty big accomplishment on SACI's part. The housing spread throughout the city helps place you in the heart of the culture and I can't say I would have done anything differently. So worthwhile.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Great Year

I could spend hours talking about the amazing year that I had studying at SACI in Florence. I had just graduated from my undergraduate and wasn't ready to start formal graduate school, so I enrolled in the Post-Bac Certificate program in Art History at SACI and it was one of the best decisions that I have made. The courses were fun and instructive and the field trips absolutely make them--I saw more of Italy on those field trips than I could have if I had backpacked through the country. I even had a really nervous few weeks where I thought I was going to drop out and go home but the administration was really caring and helpful, talking me through my issues and convincing me to stay on. It was an amazing year filled with amazing people and fantastic memories. I highly recommend SACI to anyone interested in studying in Italy.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It will not only change your life, but it'll teach you how to enjoy it

To think I wasn't going to study abroad fall semester, rather spring semester. To think my initial choice was actually a school in Prague. And to think that my fear of taking chances would have probably gotten in the way of where I am right now. Everything happens for a reason.
SACI offers so many different classes from High Renaissance to Ceramics, and from Women in the Arts in Italy to The Body Archives. They only hard part was having to choose what courses I wanted to take! The courses aren't just sit and study, but they literally take you on a journey to true Italy through field trips and immense knowledge from the professors who are teaching us. Your feet will hate you and you will probably gain more leg muscle here than anywhere else, but trips with Helen Watterson are both mentally and physically straining but in the best, most amazing way possible. Not only do the professors have rich knowledge about what they're teaching, but the rest of the faculty was the true cherry on top. The librarian, Sam at the front desk at Palazzo dei Cartelloni, both Luccas, and the staff at front desk at Palazzo Jules Maidoff who make sure you don't fall asleep in the studios, they all made it worth while.
Those 4 months studying at SACI and living in the heart of Florence have been the most memorable months of my life for so so so many different reasons. It's true when they say you develop a lifelong bond with the people you study abroad with. It's true that getting lost alone in a foreign country will not only scare you, but teach you so much. And one more truth is that you'll probably get pickpocketed (it's basically a rite of passage). I struggled at first, but I also got back up and made the best of it and got so much more in return. I am definitely going back as soon as possible, my love for Italy has not stopped growing since.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

SACI study abroad experience

I loved my semester abroad at SACI. The professors were great and the classes very interesting. I learned way more than I thought I would, and the experiences I had and friends I made while there will be with me forever.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    5

Americana

I learned a lot by living in a city where I barely knew the language. SACI does a really good job of welcoming students— meeting them at the airport and making sure everyone gets to their housing assignments. The apartments are all around the city which is really cool, but makes it harder to make close friendships. The classes are taught by passionate professors who really don't do it for the money. They are also really helpful for transitioning and would be willing to help you with anything you need. Classes on Fridays can be restricting for travel, but I managed to travel all around Italy by train. SACI really endorses getting to know Florence and the culture there before venturing to different countries in Europe.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

It was a well organized program and well-focused...

It was a well organized program and well-focused around art and art history. Not for anyone uninterested in those subjects

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Art Restoration/Conservation program

The Art Restoration/Conservation Program is amazing. I can't say enough about how diverse, intense and productive it is. You are given such grand opportunities, stimulating field trips and access to top professionals. I can't say enough about how valuable the experience it was. The hands on experience is very rewarding.
I can say do your research and find out what your next move is beyond SACI if you take this program because they don't help you plan your career or college track.
I would do it all over again...

Academics:
I did the post bacc program in Art Restoration and it was fantastic and intense. You will be hard pressed to find another school anywhere that gives you this kind of technical immersion and diversity anywhere.

Living Situation:
I chose my own living arrangements before arriving in Italy and didn't go through the school. I highly recommend it, more than a few of my peers changed to private rentals for the second semester to improve the quality of their daily lives.

Program Administration:
It wasn't the direct program administration or the instructors in the Art Restoration department, it was the school administration that was a bit problematic. The resources of the school do not spread out evenly among the majors and it was apparent when you look at the allocation of the new building and the tiny working space the conservation students had to work with. It took all year just to get a working computer in our classroom to share information on that didn't come with a bag of viruses.
The teaching staff and head of the restoration department put together a fantastic program. I wish it were a full Masters program and I would come back if it ever became one.