Sabina Muccigrosso - 2015 Program Participant

Lunch in Siena, Italy

Lunch on the Piazza

Why did you decide to go abroad?

I really wanted to go abroad and spend time really living in another country. I am also trying to become fluent in Italian and knew that the only way to do so was to live in the country.

Why did you choose SAI programs?

I choose SAI in Siena for several reasons. The first was because of Siena itself, I had been before and loved the feel and the city, plus they have a big university. The second was because of the immersion aspect of the program. I really wanted a program that was going to push me to learn more, and would make sure I was fully immersed in the Italian culture, which I was. Finally, SAI provided many trips and opportunities within the program that I may have not been able to experience on my own.

What was your favorite part about Siena?

Siena was the perfect size for me, a city that was big enough for plenty to do but small enough that I could easily traverse it in 20 to 30 minutes. It was also perfect for tourism, though there were tourists during the day, at night they all left and I was able to experience the true Siena.

What aspects of your program made it unique?

Not only we were complete immersion, with both the classes all in Italian and living in a host family, but we also had many genuine Italian experiences. I went to a local farm, went to the Siena soccer game, and even went underground to see the old passages.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The staff were wonderful, the best part being that the administrators had gone through the program and liked it enough to move to Siena to work with the program! They were from a variety of places and really got to know us, going on the trips with us and talking with us about anything. The professors were great too, all Italians from Siena who loved sharing their language and ideas with us.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

Nothing. I picked the perfect program, went to many different places, and made wonderful friends.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

Skiing accident in Siena, Italy

Learning how to ski...

Describe a day in your life in Siena.

I would wake up around 8:30 a.m. and say goodbye to my host brother and Mom as they went off to work and school. I would eat breakfast and get dressed, leaving the house around 8:50 a.m. to make it to school. On the way I would stop at the bar around the corner from school, where I would get a cafe latte and chat with the barista and all my classmates who were also stopping in for coffee or breakfast.

Italian class would then go from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and afterwards I would go back to the bar to hang with my friends and eat lunch. At about 2 p.m. I would go back in for class till around 4 p.m., and then we would usually go to the piazza or walk around Siena, getting coffee, gelato, or a snack.

By around 7 p.m. I would head home to hang out with my host brother. Sometimes we would watch movies in Italian so I could practice. At 8 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. we would all eat dinner together, and then my host brother would get ready for bed while I did my homework. Then, depending on the night, my friends and I would meet in the piazza around 9:30 p.m. and hang out there till around 12 a.m., when we all went home.

What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program? 

My favorite activity was probably the trip we took to the Alps where I went skiing. As it turned out I was horrible at it, but had a great time learning from my Italian professor who happened to love to ski.

Tell us more about your accommodation. What did you like best about it?

I lived in a homestay with two parents and an eight year old boy. We lived next to the Duomo, so in the center of the city. My favorite part of the homestay was the family; we got along really well and I loved spending time with them.

Now that you're home, how has your time in Italy impacted your life?

It taught me more about myself and how I act in certain situations. It also taught me more about Italy itself and how much I enjoy the culture.