This program was the perfect fit for me in every way. First, SAI. I loved SAI so much, I ended up becoming a student ambassador for their program after I came home! SAI provides students with every resource they need to be successful abroad. I had access to real people right in Florence who were always ready to help me at any moment. More than that, the classes, trips, and experiences offered by SAI were perfect opportunities to explore our city. This program was with me from start to finish and I'll never forget all that SAI did for me!
Secondly, Florence. This city is one of the most popular study abroad locations for a reason! Florence has history, art, food, culture, night life, and really everything you could want in a study abroad. The City is small enough to be walkable, but large enough to feel excited by. The train station provides easy access to anywhere in Italy (or Europe for that matter) and the Florence airport makes it easy to fly out of country too! Florentines are friendly and willing to lend a hand if you get lost, don't speak Italian, or just need some advice about where to eat dinner. When I talk about my study abroad with students who studied in other cities, Florence always reign supreme. This city is vibrant, rich in history, teeming with energy, and waiting for you to discover it. I truly believe that every person should experience Florence at least once in their lifetime!
What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Branch outside of the tourist areas!! I cannot stress this enough! Florence is a beautiful City with so much history, and there are many incredible sites to see. Unfortunately, many travelers get caught up in the tourist highlights. If you're just passing through, of course it makes sense to spend your entire trip in the Piazza del Duomo. But for those of you staying a few weeks or a few months, please please please branch out. There's plenty more beyond the Ponte Vecchio. Visit the Sunday market at Santo Spirito. Take the tram to Parco delle Cascine or visit the studio of Florentine street artist, Clet. There's so much more to see in this incredible City than just the tourist traps. I know too many people in my program who ended the semester not really knowing the truth of Florence. They spent every weekend traveling. They worried so much about "hitting the highlights," that they missed all of the incredible discoveries right on the streets of their own city. So, please, put down your guide book, forget about the tourist map, and just go get lost in Florence. I swear to you, it will be the best thing you've ever done!