CIEE High School Summer Abroad in Ferrara, Italy – Italian Language & Culture

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There’s no better place for an Italian immersion than in this small, easy-to-navigate, university city in northeast Italy. Talented teachers will guide you to knowledge of the language, while accomplished chefs share secrets of the region’s outstanding cuisine. Stroll through the bike-friendly streets, explore ancient palaces and architectural wonders, and find yourself immersed in a warm and wonderful culture.

With university students making up roughly 10 percent of the population, learning is a local specialty and as much a centerpiece of daily life as fine foods. The language skills and experiences you’ll gain here will equip you for many more explorations throughout Italy.

College credit option is available for this program; see our site for details.

Questions & Answers


10 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
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  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
  • Growth 8
  • Support 6
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Overall

The program was amazing. Nothing to say here. The family experience was where most of my learning and growth happened. Of course it depends on how you spent time with family, but I personally ensured that we stayed in the target language, Italian, for most of the time with rare exceptions. I learned a little more about Italian culture and their norms as well as a significant language boost which the classroom could never provide. I took 2 trips with my host family outside Ferrara, and a couple times we went out within Ferrara to the movies or something else. The classroom was great. My teacher was very kind, and not strict at all like the program staff. The projects we did and their presentations helped me learn as well. But to be completely honest, I expected the classroom to benefit me more than it did. The family experience turned out to be much more effective than the class. Then there were the weekend trips and after school activities with CIEE. We got to tour a theater, make pizza, make pasta, learn to sing, learn photography, etc. All those activities may not have necessarily helped with learning the language, but rather they helped learn the culture. They were all very fun and entertaining so I'm glad they were there. The 2 weekend trips to Venice and San Marino were also very good. We had a lot of free time there to roam with friends and enjoy sight seeing, as well as some shopping. I only have two criticisms for this program. 1. The missions in the street- They were these activities where we had to approach strangers in Ferrara and ask them questions and have a conversation. Most of them turned out very awkward and I ended up faking all the ones for the last week. It seems like a good idea but in practice it just puts students into uncomfortable scenarios. Perhaps it may work with a few tweaks. 2. Program leaders - They seemed nice at first but there were moments where they acted very unfair and unreasonable. They are biased towards certain students, and don't give chances for behavioral improvement. Basically, if they see something negative in you the first day, you are going to have a bad experience with them for the rest of the program. I personally was on their good side but I still noticed how unreasonable they can be at times, sometimes on a very small but irritating scale. For example, I didn't do an assignment along with 7 other people because there was a misunderstanding on the due date. They ended up pulling me out mid way through a movie we were watching to make it up. I feel like that was a little unfair. There was also a point where we were buying water and the program leaders told us to leave the store just as we were about to pay for it because apparently we had to go. We have to put the water back and upon exiting the store, we took a few steps away and stood there with the rest of the group doing nothing for 10 minutes while they figured stuff out. We could have bought water and it wouldn't hurt anyone. The program leaders also cancelled the third weekend trip because of rain and the rain never happened. Felt like they were simply lazy to go and jumped at the first excuse. There were many other much worse examples that happened with other students though like I said, I kept to their good side. My opinion on this program overall is that CIEE puts you through an amazing immersive experience, but the program leaders break some of that immersion.

What would you improve about this program?
The program leaders need to be a little less uptight about little things and should be more trusting and flexible. They seemed so paranoid every time we went on a weekend trip, or in Ferrara at time, as if they doubt our judgement or their own ability to keep us under control.
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Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My son had a great experience visiting Ferrara, Italy

I had my doubts when sending my teenage son to another country but I have to say that CIEE exceeded by far my expectations. The communication with the coordinators was wonderful and they guide me trough every step of the way. The chaperones made me feel immediately comfortable and I was able to live my son's experience by reading and seeing the pictures they were posting on the blog.

My son couldn't be happier with his host family, the food, excursions and the culture in general. Seriously, CIEE thought of everything to make his trip a great experience.

His Italian improved greatly, he made tons of friends, was introduced to new variety of foods and I, myself made friends with the hosting family and can't wait to meet them in person.

I would strongly recommend studying abroad with CIEE.

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