I loved working with IES because the program itself was only 30 students, allowing us to feel close with one another, the staff and the professors. Academic wise, the professors really made use of their environment, taking us on walking trips around the town. I think American students should prepare for a different style of teaching when coming here because it is more "lectured based" rather than collaborative or conversational. Being in a small city like Siena really forced all of us to speak the language and understand the culture. The program coordinators invited us on different optional, (some) free trips around town and throughout Italy that helped us learn more about Siena and the world around it. I never felt scared or out of place in this program because Siena is such a safe town and IES hired such thoughtful, kind staff to guide us through this journey. I highly recommend this to anyone who genuinely wants to experience authentic Italian culture!