Kate Rivard - 2012 Program Participant

View of the Duomo in Florence, Italy

Yes, it was love at first sight! Here’s the view of the Duomo in Florence from Kate’s first night in the city. 

Why did you choose to study abroad in Florence, Italy?

I choose Florence, Italy because it is a mecca for vibrant history, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. Florence is a perfectly sized city that satisfied my yearning for both a bustling hub and a calm, more rustic vibe all perfectly wrapped in the beauty of Tuscany.  

Why did you select Academic Programs International (API)?

Through my intensive study abroad research I found that API offered the “most bang for your buck.” Not only are API programs one of the more affordable options, but they also offered everything I desired: optimal housing, included excursions, a vibrant course selection, and professional support (both domestically and internationally) for any inquiry, small or large.  The API staff made me feel comfortable in my pursuit of education abroad and genuinely wanted me to have a successful and enriching experience. 

Biking on Luccas defensive walls in Italy

Biking on Lucca’s defensive walls.

What was your housing like while studying in Florence?

I shared an apartment with six other females (there were three double bedrooms and one single) right next to the San Lorenzo markets. We all had spacious bedrooms, a gorgeous view of the market, and an average size living room and kitchen. In addition, we had two full bathrooms! My apartment was about a ten-minute walk to class and even closer walk to the Duomo, delicious restaurants, pharmacies, the markets, and nightlife. 

What are the top reasons you'd want to travel to Florence again?

Too many to name! I want to go back to Florence for the rich culture, fascinating history, inspiring museums, and the breathtaking views. I want to visit my old professors and feast on rich gelato, mouth-watering pastries, delectable heart shaped pizza, and hearty ribollita. I want to recreate moonlight strolls to the Piazza Michelangelo and boats rides on the Arno. Mainly, I want to fall in love with the city again and explore every inch that I did not have the chance to see.

How has your experience studying abroad impacted your life? 

Throughout college I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I grew up, and studying abroad provided me the platform to not only find my self, but also to find my future career. My international education experience through API encouraged me to pursue graduate studies in Higher Education and dedicate my life to helping future generations on their quest to study abroad. It is my goal to assist students in any capacity on a journey that will surely enrich their character, intelligence, and soul.

Would you recommend your API Florence program to others?

YES! To start, Florence is a culturally rich city, full of art, history, delicious food, and amazing vibes. And, Lorenzo de’Medici (LdM) is an academically stimulating environment. I thoroughly enjoyed learning in a small classroom with an Italian professor. The courses offered were nothing like the options available to me at my home university; my favorite course at LdM was Sociology of the Mafia.

Study abroad students drinking wine in Piazza di Spiritu in Italy

Kate drinking wine with a few of her gorgeous suitemates in the Piazza di Spiritu.

Prior to departing to Florence, API ensured that I was prepared for the road ahead and their support did not stop when I arrived in Italy. My phenomenal residence directors met me at the airport and assured me they would do anything and everything they could to make my trip unforgettable. They surely did not disappoint; I received advice on eateries and local monuments, help with planning independent excursions, and assistance with simple (yet unfamiliar) tasks such as mailing letters at the post office.

In addition, API’s planned excursions and cultural activities were not only exciting and entertaining, but educational as well. These varying opportunities allowed me to become more knowledgeable and well-versed in Italian culture and see the most incredible sights. Finally, API’s ability to provide for students (pre-departure advising, on-site care, re-entry support) is second to none; I felt supported throughout my entire journey. I highly endorse this organization and I would recommend Florence as a destination that offers it all! 

Italian Gusta Pizza

The most delectable food one can eat: Gusta Pizza

If you could change one thing about your program, what would it be?

My study abroad experience was absolutely perfect; so perfect in fact that the only thing I wish I could change would have been the duration. I opted to do one summer session between my junior and senior year, and I wish I had done either two summer sessions or a full semester.

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

I would choose to study abroad in Krakow, Poland with API at Jagiellonian University. Krakow is a mecca for historical landmarks, museums, and delicious eateries. It is also in close proximity to the Tatra Mountains for both hiking and skiing adventures. Krakow is the perfect combination of beauty, charm, and culture with exciting adventures waiting for all!