IES -Study in Tuscany is a great program if you are looking for a smaller group program to get immersed in Tuscan culture while taking classes with less than 10 classmates. You will get the chance to live in the center of Siena, learn about authentic Italian culture and cuisine, while making friends not only of your program but with people from the local community. Siena is known for its great university, so it is considered a "college city" within Italy. Classes in IES are in English and language classes are available for all levels. I highly recommend taking one course at the local university as well. You can have the chance to make friends outside of your program too!
Siena is more of a medieval town rather than a big city, still during the end of the spring and at beginning of the fall there are a lot of tourists who visit the city, but still remains authentic comparing to the metropolitan cities in Italy. I would totally recommend this program if you want a break from our busy life style we have at our American universities, and want to experience a little bit of a more relaxing and fun time while still having the chance to learn a lot about Italian language, culture and history. People are super friendly with exchange students, in fact the Erasmus network organizes activities like wine tours, tournaments, parties and other extracurricular activities to have a lot of fun after class or during the weekends.
Although Siena is considered a predominant catholic place, there are several options for Christians, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim students. You just need to ask the program coordinator for information. If you practice a sport there is a center outside the city walls where you can find a swimming pool and a soccer field. The university offer the students a basketball court but again, you will need to ask for a specific information of time and rules of usage when you get there.
If you are a going out type of person, there are bars opened during the week and weekends. Night clubs like Vanilla and Sotto Sopra are available outside the city wall. The Erasmus network organizes some parties with buses that take you there and back - with special discounts for students. If you prefer to just hang out with friends Piazza del Campo is a great place to just sit, have a conversation and enjoy the night.
The experience of going abroad is definitely what you do with it and up to you to have a great time. IES Siena provides you all what you need to have the time of your life and it is indeed up to you how you get to live it!
I highly recommend this program, I had no regrets of all the things I have learned and lived there.