Studying abroad is a rewarding experience for so many reasons and there are a million and one things to be excited about. However, the days leading up to the flight and the first few days in a new country can be scary and are quite the adjustment. I just made it through my first week in Siena, Italy and I want to share with you some tips and tricks for adjusting!
What was your favorite class abroad and why? My favorite class abroad in Siena was called Flavors and Tastes. We learned about the chemistry of different foods and beverages around Tuscany. We studied wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, olive oil, and the Sienese specialty of Panforte. In every class, we got to taste test many varieties of the food we were covering that day and while it was certainly delicious, it was also really memorable.
Siena, a lesser-known Italian city among Americans, is the hidden gem of Italy. Siena does get a lot of foot traffic, but tourists are often stopping by on their way to a more popular city or only taking a day trip here. But, contrary to popular belief, Siena cannot truly be seen in a day. Heck, the Palio itself takes at least 24 solid hours to explain!
Studying abroad in Siena has been an amazing experience so far. Everyone is now preparing to go home and they all have mixed emotions. Some cannot wait to be home again, some want to go home, but only for a week then come back, and some do not want to leave yet at all.
We handed over our Instagram account to Coco for the day. This is her day in Siena. Hello and good morning Instagram! My name is Coco. I’m currently studying abroad in Siena, Italy at @sienasis. I can’t wait to show you all what #adayinthelife of me looks like. Today is going to be quite a busy day, we’ve got places to go and people to see– are you ready?
Aside from being a student in Siena, I am also an English teacher. I work at an elementary school inside the city walls and teach English to a class of 4th graders as a part of my weekly service work for Siena Italian Studies. I began my teaching experience with a little apprehension.
I have been living in Siena for one month and I am already calculating how many months, weeks, days, hours and seconds I have left so that I can savor every single moment. I’ve always been one to feel homesick. I vividly remember crying myself to sleep every night at sleep-away camp in middle school.
I feared the “language barrier” as I prepared to embark on my study abroad journey in Siena, Italy. I practically screamed from the rooftops, “I am going to be studying abroad in Italy for four months!! All my classes are taught in Italian and I am living with a host family!! I am so excited!” And, without fail, whoever happened to be listening would ask, “How long have you been speaking Italian?
Do you have a passion for Italian language and culture and are considering studying abroad this Fall semester? Are you seeking to engage in the local Italian community through meaningful volunteering while you study abroad? Thanks to a newly available grant spending a semester abroad in Siena, Italy just got more affordable. SAI, in partnership with Siena Italian Studies (SIS)
I can’t believe that the semester here in Siena has gone by so fast! Through my almost four months living here in this beautiful city, I feel like I have simultaneously experienced a lifetime of adventure and yet have only scratched the surface of what this city has to offer.
Fitting in can take a long time to achieve in an exchange. By “fitting in”, I mean feeling less like a tourist and more like a part of the society. I have now been in Italy for 2 ½ months and I am just now beginning to feel like this is my home. I am dressing more like an Italian, I can navigate my way through Italian cities, and I know how transportation works.
I’m beginning my third month here in beautiful Siena, and I’m finally seeing a possible dip in the large amount of tourists that cover this city every day. Coming here, I didn’t realize that Siena was such a popular destination for tourists, and the realization was both entertaining and frustrating.
I am so glad that I have chosen to study abroad in Siena. I am having an amazing time here and I would like to share with you a few tips or things that I have noticed, that could be helpful if you are planning to study abroad. If I could go back in time to when I was packing for Italy, I would pack very differently.
We handed over our Instagram to a few students this month and asked them to take us through their day in their host city. This is Clara’s day in Siena (October 19, 2015). Good morning! My name is Clara Kobler, and I’m spending my entire junior year in the lovely little city of Siena, Italy. Today, I’ll be taking you through a typical Tuscan day!
I have now been in Siena for almost 2 weeks; it still seems unreal. I have a wonderful host family and I live right in the city center. I am 2 minutes walking distance from the Piazza del Campo. That is the most famous Piazza in Siena and it is beautiful. There are also tons of tourists that pass through Siena, and you are sure to find many of them in the Piazza del Campo.
Adjusting to a new city is hard, especially in a new country. However, it can be done! Part of studying abroad is learning how to adapt culturally in different areas of the world, and that is what my first week here in Siena has been about.
Tiffany was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at University of Missouri studying at Siena Italian Studies (SIS) in Siena, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. GET TO KNOW TIFFANY Tell us why you chose to study abroad. There are plenty of reasons why I am choosing to study abroad. While I was in high school, I won a scholarship to study abroad for a year in Germany.
Clara was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2015 term. She is a current student at College of William and Mary studying at Siena Italian Studies (SIS) in Siena, Italy during the Fall 2015 term. GET TO KNOW CLARA Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I chose to study abroad to become immersed in another culture.
A day in the life here in Siena is absolutely wonderful! On weekdays I usually wake up around 8am, to get to Italian class by 9am. Of course it’s Italy, so class actually starts at around 9:10, so I’m usually not too worried about being late. Italian class is for two hours four days a week and depending on the day I’ll have one or two more classes later in the day.
In Siena, the program starts off with a 3 week immersion program of the Italian language. When the three weeks are up, we all go on a 4 day “Gita” (trip), each semester to someplace different. This semester, we went to Northern Italy and stayed in a town called Cavalese in the Alps. It was absolutely amazing!
Siena is a wonderful town full of places both on and off the main center. The longer I’m here the more I discover, especially as more stores open after their winter holiday. Here’s a list of some of the place I have found! Bar Il Pintoricchio: Located two feet from the SIS building, this bar has become a home before class, after class and everything in between.
Getting on the plane to Italy I wasn’t struck with the weight of the situation. For weeks before I had been worried and excited. Worried that I would hate my host family and that being in a different country would make me super homesick, though I was never worried about the language.
I remember when I was first applying for Siena Italian Studies, I was asked what I was most afraid of concerning living in Italy. Without hesitation, I responded that I was most afraid of never wanting to return to the states. In a sense, when I used to think of travel, I thought of it with the naivety that other countries were better than wherever I was from.
Sabina was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Spring 2015 term. She is a current student at Muhlenberg College studying at Siena Italian Studies (SIS) in Siena, Italy during the Spring 2015 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad.
One of the first reactions from my friends and family when I told them that I was going to Italy was to be careful. They warned me that the culture is vastly different, some questioned my decision to live with an Italian family, and most advised me to be wary of the food because if not I would definitely double in size.
I had been extremely excited to leave for my study abroad trip since the day I received my acceptance. So excited, in fact, that I had forgotten to be nervous. The nervousness hit full throttle during my last week in America when all of my friends began class, work, and all sorts of other young adult responsibilities.
While I was abroad, I learned many things about myself and the Italian culture. Before this trip, I had been to Italy 3 times, mostly to see my family that lives in Lucca and Padova. This was the first time that I stayed for a long period of time and stayed with people that I did not know. I also was forced into speaking the language, instead of talking to my relatives in English.
The differences between Siena and North Aurora that I have noticed is that in Siena, you get the feeling that this city has been here for a very long time. Just walking the streets you can sense the presence of the medieval history that occurred here. Starting with the presence of the Roman Empire with the Lupa statue everywhere and moving on to when Siena had its many battles with Florence.
Karisa was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Fall 2014 term. She is a current student at Baylor University studying at Siena Italian Studies in Italy during the Fall 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. My passion for travel and culture developed at a very young age with my mom’s countless stories of her life in Germany during her time in the army.
My trip started off differently than my peers’, because I have family that lives in Italy. I decided to visit them before meeting the SIS students on June 11th. I arrived in Rome, Italy on June 5th expecting everything to go well.
It is amazing to me that more than 3 months have passed since I first arrived in Italy. The semester has FLOWN by! But that isn’t to say it hasn’t been filled with some of the best experiences of my life. As I am beginning to pack all of my things and leave Siena tomorrow for another few weeks of traveling, all I keep wishing for is a little bit more time.
Theresa was selected as an SAI scholarship recipient and blogger for the Summer. She is a current student at Norther Illinois University studying at Siena Italian Studies in Italy during the Summer 2014 term. Tell us why you chose to study abroad. I’ve always wanted to study abroad because I really enjoy learning.
Top 10 Places in Siena, Italy I am loving my time in Siena and it is crazy to think that more than half of my time here is already gone! Although I love exploring Italy and Europe on the weekends, Siena has enough within it’s city walls that I think I see something new every day.
One of the main reasons that I wanted to study abroad was to get away from my busy life at school in the States and experience a new way of life that didn’t involve constantly running around. While here, I have found that Italy is the perfect place to do that! The Italian culture is much more laid back and has a greater focus on enjoying life. The laid back atmosphere is noticeable almost everywhere.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier than when I finally hopped on the bus to Siena from the Rome airport, it was so relieving to know I made it and nothing went wrong. The bus ride from Siena was eye-opening. The fields, trees and hills were breathtaking. Plus, there were palm trees! You don’t see that in Minnesota, especially after the frigid cold snap we had the week before.
I am now comfortably resettled back in the United States and can fully examine and review my experience abroad. I can confidently say that there are very few things that I would do differently, maybe try to spend a little less money, but overall, I am incredibly pleased with the way that I spent my semester. I say that knowing full well that a return trip to Europe is anything but guaranteed.
One week before I leave Siena. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about counting down to my departure. There are certainly a lot of things that I am excited to return to, but there are things here that I don’t want to leave. The city of Siena is definitely one of those things.
Siena has officially become what I consider home, as far as this semester is concerned. I have traveled inside and outside of Italy and had great experiences. After these weekend trips, especially the more recent ones, there has been a sigh of relief once I wake up in my own bed in Siena and have breakfast ready from my host mom.
I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of travel. I have spent the past four weeks in different parts of Italy (Cinque Terre, Tivoli and Ischia) as well as Munich and Berlin in Germany. Being away from Siena has certainly added perspective, and helped me understand the city a little better. I was in Berlin this last weekend and it is about as opposite to Siena as I could find.
I haven’t been in Siena for two weeks yet but it feels like I’ve been in Italy for about a month. I think it’s a result of how long our days are. I usually get up a little after 730 to eat breakfast and catch a bus into the city for class at 9.
I was sitting on the Metro train yesterday pontificating, as most Metro riders do, and I realized something about myself and about all the people around me: we have all defined ourselves-whether we like it or not- by the perspectives we have experienced through the opportunities we have taken advantage of.
I can’t believe I am just a month away now from hopping on my flight back to the U.S. I have anjoyed and appreciated every moment this month from the beginning of warmer days to the accomplishment of taking midterms only in Italian.
My experience so far has been amazing. Just the ability to walk around and learn in a city with traditions older than my country is beyond belief. I cannot think of a more fearful yet rewarding experience than to be immersed in such a rich culture with such dynamic locals. While there have been some ups and downs it has been a great start to what will surely be a fantastic semester!
The experience of arriving in Siena was nothing less than I had expected. Then again, I didn’t really know what to expect, other than what I’d seen in pictures and people telling me how much I would love it. Over the last four days, I’ve come to feel at home in Siena. One of the first things I noticed was the comforting, relatively slow pace of the Sienese- and Italian- lifestyle.
Study Abroad Italy is pleased to announce a new program in Italian Studies, offered in partnership with the International Center for Intercultural Exchange in Siena. This collaboration offers motivated students at all levels of Italian Language proficiency the opportunity to experience a “gentle full-immersion” program. Classroom work helps students to develop a greater confidence with the Italian language, while projects outside the classroom foster a deeper familiarity with Italian culture.
SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.