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SAI Progams: Study Abroad in Florence
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SAI Progams: Study Abroad in Florence

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Transformative Tuscany

My experience with SAI Florence and Florence University of the Arts was a truly phenomenal and life-changing time in my life. Going abroad truly opened my eyes to so many new things I could do in the world and made me more confident in doing so. SAI was an amazing program to go with and I feel lucky to have been able to have them coach me through living abroad. My program directors were extremely helpful and informative and always available to talk. They provided us with amazing apartments, in the cutest neighbourhoods in Florence, that were only a ten-minute walk from the school's main campus! I also really enjoyed Florence as a city and felt it was a great place to learn to truly live on my own devices, and it allowed me to learn so much about myself that I don't think I would have learned otherwise. Overall, I would definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to study abroad, and especially if you are looking to study abroad in Italy!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Studying in Florence was spellbinding.

Last summer, I studied abroad at Florence University of the Arts through SAI Programs. I also took Cultural Introduction to Italy—a week of educational exploration from Rome up through Tuscany—which I cannot recommend enough.

My experience was captivating. I'd never been overseas before, so everything, from check-in at the airport and on, was new to me. I studied in Italy for a month, and it was a month of being completely enveloped in newness -- that feeling alone was enough to keep my eyes wide and lungs aghast. When I got my bearings, I was able to pause, take a breath, and LIVE in Florence. And through that living I gained confidence by, among other things, practicing a new language; I eliminated preconceived notions and gained true, intimate knowledge about Italian cultures; I gained a better understanding of myself, of what I truly enjoy and the feelings I strive for; I gained a curiosity and drive that I kept after my flight home.

I owe a lot to SAI and FUA for making these personal and academic gains possible—for giving me the structure and resources to get my bearings, the freedom to live. SAI prepared me incredibly well—before I left for Florence, they encouraged me through the pre-departure process, made sure no boxes were left unchecked. When I arrived, they were there to greet me and tell me where I could find them. FUA provided unique education, melding immersion and academics and encouraging us to learn about Florence in our free time. We could live and explore Florence with a sense of security, know SAI and FUA were there to help.

I obviously recommend this program. Something you should know going in, however: things, even with the English-speaking FUA, will be done the Italian way. Eager to experience a new culture as you might be, this will still be jarring, and sometimes downright frustrating, at first. The punctuality of service, for example, might not be what you’re used to in America. But, remember they’ve been doing things their way for a while, and they will make sure you're fully helped. If things seem to be moving slow, be intrigued by the cultural difference and know you will be taken care of, and well.

Be smart, be safe, and live.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Semester abroad at Florence University of the Arts

The program that SAI provided while abroad in Florence Italy, could not have been more amazing. They were with you through everything. From the beginning SAI made sure that you were gathering all the materials that you needed to begin your adventure abroad. They provided more than enough information on how to obtain it all as well as they were there to answer any questions. SAI was more than welcoming when I landed in Florence. They had shuttles there to pick us up from the airport and drop us off at our apartments throughout the city.
SAI planned all these excursions and different activities that we could participate in. We took trips to Tuscany and Maremma as well as participated in a book making class. We went on a bike hike through Tuscany too. SAI was there for everything that you would need and I would not have had the experience I did without SAI.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Be adventurous, it will be worth it in the end

My time abroad was everything that I dreamed of and more. I was able to experience the real Italian culture for four months. In the beginning stages of planning my time abroad it was very overwhelming but once I found that SAI was the program that was right for me, the planning was simple. They gave pre-departure information and information for myself and my family while I was abroad. They made the planning process a lot less stressful.
While I was abroad SAI was helpful and made the experience that much more fun. They had activities planned for the students to attend if they chose to. I took advantage of all of the events. One of the events included an Italian soccer game. They made my experience that much more interesting and exciting. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would change nothing!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Study abroad in Florence, Italy

My study abroad experience with SAI was more than exceptional! Previous to this experience, I had never been abroad before, but SAI made me feel completely comfortable with taking this leap. The staff was so friendly and welcoming and they made themselves completely available to anything I needed. They provided fun activities for us like cooking classes and food and wine pairings! The housing circumstances exceeded my expectations, it was so nice! We had a full Kitchen, a living area, and the location was on point. Overall, SAI provided me with the absolute best study abroad experience I could have asked for. If I were to go back I would do it all over again through SAI!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

SAI has the details

Unlike my mother's concern, I never really worried too much about details about being abroad. I just knew when my plane was landing in Florence and the address of my new home. Luckily when I stepped off the plane SAI was there to greet me with a folder of information and even snacks! They arranged my transport to my apartment and made me feel comfortable before I even got out of the airport! That's when I knew I was in for the most amazing semester of my life. The apartment that myself and five other women lived at was GORGEOUS. It was a beautiful older building with art work on the ceilings!! Of course there were some problems since it was older, but the location could not be beat. I have so many memories in those rooms that I will never forget. The friendships I made are everlasting and the trips I participated in were priceless. While I loved being able to travel around Europe, some of my favorite trips are the ones that SAI planned within Italy. Italy has an incredible amount of adventures to offer, and I probably would have not known about many of them without help from SAI. Thanks to the concern of my mom and the details from SAI, I will never forget the culture, the relationships, the adjustments, and the everyday adventures.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Home sweet Flo

Studying abroad in Florence was the highlight of my college career and one of the best decisions I have ever made. Our apartment was in a great location and sharing it with 7 roommates meant always having someone to get pizza or daily gelato with. SAI went out of their way several times to make sure that we were comfortable, whether it was providing whatever we needed for our apartment or just being a friendly face around town. If you want to eat the best food of your life, live minutes within some of the most famous art in the world, and have access to other countries only a train ride away I would definitely recommend studying in this beautiful city.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

SAI in Florence was the best!

Choosing to go abroad with SAI at Florence University of the Arts was absolutely amazing. SAI was everything I could have asked for in a program and more. Florence was hands down the most amazing city to live in for four months, and It will always have a place in my heart. SAI gave you all the support you need in foreign country and was there for you anytime. They provided awesome program excursions as a chance to not only meet new people, but also to learn more about Italian culture. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about going abroad. Florence is an amazing city that has a high rate of study abroad students, so the opportunities to meet people and feel comfortable are always there. Florence combined with SAI make the best combination!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Semester to Remember!

My semester abroad was my first time traveling outside the U.S. I went by myself and it was the most fulfilling decision I could have made. The classes were unique and always interesting; very different from my home University. From the whole experience, I have gained confidence, exposure to one of my favorite cultures, and life long friendships. Thanks to SAI, they were very helpful throughout the whole process and the opportunities they offered us were endless.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Firenze--an adventure of a lifetime!

Before traveling abroad to Florence, Italy, I had not done a lot of research about the city. I googled Florence a few times and looked at the beautiful images that popped up and the Wikipedia description. I thought it would be a fit for me, and boy was I right! A lot of credit goes to SAI for making my stay there so welcoming, comforting, and overall amazing!
The day of my arrival was a bit hectic. Sitting on a plane for about ten or so hours plus lack of sleep affects the body in strange ways. Once arriving at the Florence airport, SAI was there ready to greet all of the arrivals and provide us with our living information. My ride to my apartment building was the first time I was introduced to the craziness of Florence traffic. It seems as though traffic rules are nonexistent, yet somehow, miraculously, during my whole time in Florence I never witnessed an accident!
SAI did an amazing job with living situations. My apartment was on the side of the River Arno opposite of the Duomo. We shared an apartment building with Florence locals, and interactions with them were always positive and cheerful. My roommates also studied abroad through SAI and attended the same university. It is really comforting traveling to Florence knowing that you will be living with other Americans who are in the exact same situation you're in.
Throughout the semester, SAI offered a lot of trips and activities (such as an overnight trip to Milan and Como). They provide students with lots of different ways to experience and explore the Italian culture, and I would definitely recommend to do as many of these as you can!
The courses I took at FUA were wonderful ways to explore different aspects of Italian culture. For my Food, Culture, and Society class, we learned about the history of food and the role it plays in the Italian lifestyle. During some classes we were able to walk to different markets and try different foods. We were also able to make our own in food labs! In my Exploration of Wine class, we learned about the delicate process of making wine and how unique it is to Italy specifically. In both of these classes, we took field trips, such as to wineries and Parmesan cheese factories.
Overall, my trip to Florence was one of the best experiences I've had in my life so far. It allowed me to explore my Italian roots and to meet family members who live in Italy whom I've never met before. Studying abroad definitely has it's ups and downs, and sometimes it's difficult. But in the end, through the difficulties and hard times, I've grown from my experience abroad, and have learned things about myself that I don't think I would have if I didn't go to Florence. I made so many amazing memories that I know will last a lifetime.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Pasta, Dancing, and Culture, Oh My!

It sounds silly to say that I only have four months in Florence, Italy as that may seem like a long amount of time, but really, it was hardly enough time to be able to completely experience all the city has to offer. It's not only one of the most beautiful cities in Italy but as a history and culture that reaches across centuries. It was the home of some of the most amazing artists, architects, and dare I say geniuses of all time and continues to support all kinds of art.
It wasn't just the city that made my experience abroad so amazing though, I had amazing classes, great roommates, found courage to explore the city on my own and felt safe while doing it and had the SAI staff by my side through it all.
The classes I took included Florence Sketchbook, Everything Chocolate (the history and how to cook with chocolate), a beginners Italian Language class, and The History of the Italian Renaissance. I am not a history person normally but found that the history class became my favorite simply because we were learning about the city, buildings, and paintings that were in the city around me and the people who used to live there.
I lived with two friends from my home university and two girls from two other American universities. We all became fast friends and ended up traveling most weekends together, cooking fantastic homemade family dinners, going out clubbing as a team, and generally doing just about everything together. They have become some of my closest friends.
The nightlife in the city is hopping to say the least. There really is something for everyone. There are clubs where you can go dancing in large crowds to techno music, small bars where you can have quiet drinks with friends, and small private music performances where you can hang with locals. There were many nights my friends and I went "out on the town" and had a blast but there were also equally as many nights we stayed in and watched a movie with wine or went out for late night gelato and just walked the streets of the city, appreciating where we were.
SAI Programs has so much to offer students and the best advice I can give is to take advantage of all they offer. They have tons of excursions and activities set up throughout your semester abroad including cooking classes (full meal- appetizer, main course, and dessert, that you get to make from scratch with help from profession chefs), biking tours in the Tuscan hills, weekend trips to Milan and Como and Rome, gallery openings, and so much more. SAI staff members also offer so much advise and support to students. You can go to their office whenever you want and chat with them when your homesick, have any sort of problem, or just want to chat. They're all so nice and genuinely want each student to have the very best time they possibly can.
I recommend SAI Programs and Florence wholeheartedly as the best study abroad experience you could ever ask for!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Trip of a lifetime!

SAI was my first choice from the start because of how helpful they were when I was thinking about studying abroad. They have lots of options for scholarships and internships, which I recommend that you all take advantage of!! I could write on and on about the experiences I gained and learned from studying abroad with SAI. It was worth every bit of hard work I put into it, and I highly recommend every student study abroad for at least one semester because you will learn more about yourself, what you want to do with your life, how to live in a completely different environment, getting out of your comfort zone, and I could go on and on! Studying abroad will help you professionally and I will definitely go with SAI again!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

The best four months of my life!

Studying abroad in Florence with SAI was one of the best things I have ever done! The process before leaving was made significantly easier with the help of the SAI advisors and counselors, and they really assisted in preparing me for my adventure abroad! Arriving in Florence, the staff was very helpful in recommending fun activities to do, helping us with any issues in our lovely Italian apartment, and creating activities to do as a group! With SAI, I travelled to Milan and Lake Como, Siena, and San Gimignano, some of my favorite trips of the semester! I wouldn't trade my abroad experience for anything and I highly recommend taking advantage of all that SAI has to offer!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    9

Study Abroad in Florence!

Florence is an amazing city and it is full of Italian culture and history. It was so cool to walk through the same streets as such influential people. I traveled a lot in my time and I think that was really important to my study abroad experience. With that said it was really important to me to find a balance between traveling, studying, and exploring Florence. Overall my experience was amazing and I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

A Summer of Adventure!

I absolutely loved my time studying abroad with SAI Programs at Florence University of the Arts. Prior to my departure, the staff aided me with whatever questions or concerns I had, and made sure I felt prepared for the journey that awaited me. As soon as I arrived, I met my three roommates, who thanks to the housing survey, were the perfect fit for me! We became fast friends, and I immediately felt at home in this big city. The Orientation was also helpful, allowing us to meet other SAI students, and to get to know the SAI staff. The staff is amazingly kind, understanding, and willing to help out in whatever way they can. At no point did I feel confused, unsupported, or scared; the SAI staff made me feel right at home! On top of that they provided great recommendations for restaurants, gelato, and things to do around the city. My time at FUA was unlike any other. I took beginning Italian and Introduction to Art History, two classes that couldn't be taught anywhere better than in Florence! My teachers were very nice, wanted to get to know us as students, and understood our desire to experience all the city had to offer! The course load was definitely manageable, and we were constantly being immersed into the subject area we were practicing. Whether it was interviewing local shop owners or ordering our food in Italian, or even visiting museums filled with works by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the learning never ended in a city rich with culture.
The apartments were also really nice. Mine was in the neighborhood part of the city, which I loved. There was a little coffee and pastry shop right next to our apartment and every morning my roommates and I would order an espresso. The man at the register knew very little English, so we were forced to practice our Italian. Due to our daily routine of ordering coffee, we became fast friends with the man and his wife even though a language barrier existed. I enjoyed getting the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture in such an authentic way. I also loved going on the FUA excursions and enjoyed times in Pisa, and Cinque Terre that were filled with activities led by our professors! There was also plenty of time to travel on the weekends which provided for a summer filled of adventuring! I met so many amazing people through the SAI program, and loved every moment traveling with them, taking in the view from Piazza Michelangelo, and enjoying huge dinners of pizza, pasta and wine! I would recommend the SAI program to anyone; as they gave me an experience I will never forget and supported me unconditionally along the way!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    10

Best 4 months of my life

My study abroad experience, last fall, was incredible. Going through SAI, I felt very organized and prepared to spend four months in Florence. After an initial housing survey and questionnaire, (5 months prior to September 2013) I was granted my request to live in an apartment with all of my friend's whom I was traveling with; it worked out perfectly. Although SAI provided the option to travel to other countries, my friend's and I decided to book our own trips. Overall, I would definitely recommend SAI Programs to others.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Abroad: the true definition of a once in a lifetime experience

I studied abroad in the fall of 2015 through SAI in Florence, Italy. It was absolutely a once in a lifetime experience. SAI helped me every step of the way from settling in, to taking us on trips across Italy. If I had any problems abroad the SAI Florence staff of Regan, Pietro, and Alessandra were there for anything I needed. Also, in Florence I participated in the SAI Global Leadership Program. In that program I was able to volunteer all over florence with organizations such as the Tuscan Cancer Society and UNICEF. SAI gave me the opportunity to gain a different and better experience than the average abroad student in Florence. I am extremely grateful I was able to study abroad with SAI, I would recommend them 10 times out of 10.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    9

Great Experience

It was an amazing experience. The program I went through provided some free excursions that were great. It was the best way to see Florence, even the rest of Italy. The staff were helpful in the beginning, but toward the end it was harder to get hold of them. Overall, it was an unforgettable time!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Fashion student goes abroad for the first time!

I studied abroad this past Spring Semester in Florence, Italy through SAI. I ultimately chose this program because they got their start in Italy--specifically Florence--so I knew they had experience and great connections with the city. Prior to my study abroad experience, I had never traveled outside the United States so I was very nervous and unsure of myself, but after a few weeks I began to grow more independent and confident in myself. This was especially true, living and studying in a country where English was not the primary language. You have to learn to do your research (especially when traveling in or outside your home country) in advance because you can't rely on the Internet and smart phones the same way you can here! This experience not only made me appreciate a new culture, but also my own and helped shed light on global issues and the different global perspectives regarding those issues. Lastly, it allowed me to travel to many different places in and outside of Italy giving me so many memories to last a life time!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

La Dolce Vita

With my study abroad experience, I was able to interact with local Italian people, and feel fully immersed in Italian culture. My apartment was situated in a beautiful part of Florence, where I was away from the busy hustle and bustle of Florence and where tourists spent their time. My favorite part of Italy was getting fresh produce everyday and making a meal. The Italians know how to live.