AIFS Study Abroad in Florence, Italy: Semester or Academic Year

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About

Spend a semester or academic year in Florence, Italy with AIFS! Earn up to 16 credits per semester at Richmond University in Florence. Courses taught in English or Italian. No previous Italian required.
A 3-credit Service Learning and Active Citizenship course is available for students wishing to volunteer in Florence. This course is combined with 9-12 weeks of fieldwork. Other volunteer placements are also available outside of this course.
Live in a homestay or in a fully furnished Italian apartment. A meal plan is included - and has been deemed a highlight of the program, with almost 100% of students rating it as "excellent" or "good."
Cultural and social activities such as guided city walks, museum visits, Italian cooking classes, and a gelato tour are included. Day trips to Pisa, Lucca, and the Vespa Factory, a 3 to 5-day trip to Rome, and a 2-day field trip to Venice are all included as well.
2 nights in London included for students on the AIFS Flight Package.

Highlights
  • 3 to 5-day trip to Rome
  • 2-day visit to Venice
  • Transcripts issued by Richmond, The American International University in London

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Questions & Answers

Yes, this program is open to seniors.
You don't have to know any Italian! I hadn't taken any Italian classes prior to studying abroad and I knew maybe three words total before I went over. You will have to enroll in Italian classes through AIFS while you are studying there, but you need no prior experience with the language.
Do it! I spent a summer in studying Art History in Perugia (about 2 hrs south of Florence) and didn't know a lick of Italian. Particularly in a place like Florence you don't need to know much Italian to get by, other than learning how to order gelato. While you're there though you should definitely take a language class. It helps make the experience more authenticate and memorable.

Reviews

98%
based on 37 reviews
  • Academics 7.7
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 16 - 30 of 37
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Megan
10/10

Explore & Experience Florence with AIFS!

Writing about my experience going abroad brings back so many wonderful memories. If I could tell you anything, it would be to just go, study abroad and see the world, go not knowing anyone and with high expectations! Just a forewarning though, those expectations will be blown out of the water! The experience of studying abroad was life changing and by far the best thing I have done in my 22 years of life. The AIFS staff was absolutely incredible from beginning to end. I applied after the deadlines and with the help of all of their amazing staff was able to get everything together and two months later I found myself on a plane to Europe! The program leaders were extremely knowledgeable and helpful with everything from how to get to certain places, to recommending local places to enjoy apertivo, to setting up cultural activities like attending the florentina soccer games/the opera/cooking classes/ museum tours, etc, they were very concerned about our safety, AIFS's 2 week orientation course that focused on mastering the Italian language was great because I had no previous Italian language skills, the professors were extremely knowledgeable about the courses they taught, the meal plan was out of this world (I ended up gaining a couple pounds and having to buy all new pants, but every bite was worth it), the housing accommodations were perfect and I had a wonderful time getting to know and living with four girls in our own apartment. I could go on and on forever about my experiences abroad, the four months I spent in Florence, Italy will always hold a special place in my heart, and I thank AIFS for making every second possible and truly blowing my expectations out of the water!

How can this program be improved?
I know Florence is a huge study abroad destination for students but I have heard that students in certain destinations knew everyone in their study abroad program. With our program being 200+ I did not get to meet everyone but I would have loved to form closer ties and met more people!
Yes, I recommend this program
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mce
8/10

A Worthwhile Experience

My time in Florence was one of the best times of my life. While it was there, at times it was hard to see how amazing it was because I was preoccupied with worrying about things happening back home. But in the end, I realized how incredible the experience really was. Living in the city and experiencing the Italian way of life was something that most people never get to do, and something I will probably never get to do again. I discovered some of my favorite foods and restaurants during my time abroad, and made some lifelong friends who I shared unrepeatable experiences with.

How can this program be improved?
Some of the classes felt a little like a waste of time. They were incredibly easy, which is maybe expected for a study abroad program, but I felt like the teachers could have put more stock in what they were teaching. The Italian language class was the only class I really felt like I learned something valuable from.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Stacy
10/10

The best 4 months of my 23 years of life

Studying abroad in Florence, Italy with AIFS remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. My only regret is that I didn't stay there for a year! Right from the start, AIFS made everything so easy. They took care of all my travel arrangements and were readily available to answer any questions that I had. This type of care continued throughout my stay in Italy. The staff at AIFS was a wonderful resource for learning about the Italian culture. There were always fun activities planned for students, from wine tasting and cooking classes to trips to Rome and Venice for Carnivale. In addition to the cultural activities, the required Italian language classes were a HUGE help when it came to communicating with locals and forming international friendships. Aside from the comprehensive nature of AIFS, I chose Florence because I wanted a location that had all the beauty, excitement and culture of a big city, but the charm and warmth of a small Italian village. In my experience, Italians were a very generous, welcoming people who were always willing to help you--even when you were stumbling through their language! There was always something exciting to do in Florence: hiking up to Piazza Michaelangelo to watch the Sunset, dancing to a Beatles tribute band at Bee Bop, savoring gelato on the Ponte Vecchio, exploring the beautiful Boboli Gardens, admiring Michaelangelo's David, enjoying 3 hour long dinners with friends, cheering on the local soccer team Fiorentina, or simply wandering around the city. While abroad, I made lasting friendships with both students and locals. I still consider my host mother Bruna to be my adopted grandma! It was these relationships, combined with the enchanting Italian culture and the organization of AIFS that made my sophomore year of college an exrtaordinary one. I left Florence a much stronger, wiser, courageous, open minded, ambitious and adventurous young woman. I think about my experience abroad almost daily, and it brings a smile to my face everytime.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Bailey
8/10

Study in Florence

The AIF Florence program was absolutely amazing. Not only did I learn a lot, but we were given far more opportunities then other study abroad programs in Florence. Many other programs didn't have room or board, but we had amazing apartments, and our meal plan was through authentic italian restaurants in Florence. We also got to go on day-trips with the school for little or no cost -- we went to Cinque Terre for 15 euro and Pisa for free! The staff at the school was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. If I had the choice to do it all over again, I'd still pick AIF Florence.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Liz
9/10

Incredible study abroad experience!

Studying abroad in Florence with AIFS was the best decision I made during my undergraduate career! The housing, meal plan, cultural excursions and activities were top notch. The classes were taught by Italian faculty members with first-hand knowledge of their subjects. The staff was excellent and available 24/7 for the students. I have recommended this program to many friends and will continue to do so!

Yes, I recommend this program
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boss
10/10

FIRENZE

I believe AIFS has the best program in Florence. While other students had to cook pasta every night, we were able to eat out at tons of different restaurants because of our meal plan, spending no money. AIFS also included fantastic trips to London, Siena, Rome and Venice - all included! The staff was fantastic; they would always make sure everything went smoothly, from travel arrangements to the legal stuff (visas, registering with the city) and took the extra step to help you out. The extra activities were great as well, from cooking classes to wine tastings, you name it. I wish I would have had the courage to do two semesters, because now I can't wail until I go back.

Yes, I recommend this program
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DanielleF
10/10

If you're going to study abroad, go with AIFS!

My semester in Florence was one of the best experiences of my college career! The classes I got to take through the AIFS were extremely interesting. Learning about art history and then being able to actually visit the sites was incredible. One of the best perks compared to other programs is the meal plan. They set you up with fantastic restaurants that you normally would not go to on a regular basis - friends on other programs were cooking rice in their apartments! The apartments are all in central locations in the city. I lucked out and mine was right near the Ponte Vecchio and 1 minute from school - how much better can it get! I would recommend this program hands down to anyone looking to study abroad. AIFS is fantastic!

Yes, I recommend this program
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MaxM
10/10

Best semester of college

My semester abroad in Florence was by far my favorite semester of college. The program was fun, flexible and filled with great people from the other students to the staff. I would absolutely recommend the AIFS Study Abroad Programs at Richmond in Florence to anyone considering studying abroad in Italy!

Yes, I recommend this program
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alyssa
10/10

my life experience

When I first arrived in Italy I was extremely excited, nervous and worried thinking the worst because I had never left the United States before. But after a while I got to meet the other students and the staff and I can honestly say that this experience has changed my life forever. I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to come to a country that I have wanted to visit since I was a little girl. I love being able to walk outside of my apartment and immediately be surrounded by art and history. Everyday you discover something new while exploring the streets of Florence. While here one of my favorite experience’s has been getting to know the family I live with. Being able to see an Italian family and how they interact with each other over the past few months has been a wonderful addition to this semester. I have a new opinion of family meals and have been given the chance to try many new foods while living with them. It was a great comfort to be able to talk with a family and get to know them each individually over the months. Their daughter Simona published her very first book “Secretum vitae” in October. It has been a great experience to witness the excitement of the family and to have the chance to be one of the first to read the book. The book is in Italian so I am slowly reading it and it is helping me learn Italian. I believe that every student should experience living in a home stay while studying abroad. When applying to the Richmond program we are warned not to create high expectations. I agree with this because when you get to Italy and experience Italian life you realize any expectations you could of came with were wrong. This is because Italy is different in a way you could never imagine.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Busia
10/10

AIFS lovin'

It may seem excessive that I rated this program 10/10 in every category, but it was seriously the greatest experience of my life and I can't imagine how any aspect of it could have been better. The location was fantastic, the professors and staff were amazing every step of the way, and I could not possibly recommend this program more highly. I miss Florence and the people at Richmond every day!

Yes, I recommend this program
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nutmeg12
9/10

Life-Changing Experience!

My time abroad in Italy through the AIFS Richmond in Florence program was an incredible, life-changing experience! The AIFS and Richmond staff were great- they were extremely supportive both before and during my stay. Our apartment was perfect and located only 3 minutes down the road from the school building. I especially loved the meal card system that Richmond in Florence offered. We got to eat some incredible authentic Italian meals using meal cards that were already paid for. No other program in Florence that I know of did that. The classes and professors were extremely interesting and the cultural activities that the program provided were very diverse and fun! It was amazing getting to learn about a foreign city and culture as you were living and studying there. By the end of the semester, I felt like I was truly a citizen of Florence. I don't regret going abroad with AIFS Richmond for one second!

Yes, I recommend this program
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AlyssaCarch
8/10

A life changing experience

I was extremely nervous before leaving for my trip abroad. Although, soon after our arival I realized I had nothing to be worried about. My trip was full of adventure, laughs, and even tears(the good kind). The days were always very relaxed with 2-3 classes a day Monday through Thursday. A few nights a week i would go out on the town with my other program members, who I became every close with. There was always something to do and always something to see. It was an unforgettable journey.

Yes, I recommend this program
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florence
10/10

AIFS Richmond in Florence

My experience abroad was amazing! If I could do it all again I would without a doubt do it through AIFS again. The program was great, welcoming and very helpful. The meal tickets and restaurants were amazing and definitely saved me a lot of money which came in use for traveling.

Yes, I recommend this program
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phoebeah18
9/10

AIFS RICHMOND IN FLORENCE: GO FOR IT!

an incredible program, with some of the greatest and most unique characteristics of an abroad program, including:
- meal plans: use provided meal cards to dine at some of the greatest restaurants throughout italy. a great way to save money and get exposed to places and people you would not otherwise. restaurant staff look forward to having american students, give you GREAT deals on food because of AIFS' established connections with each restaurant. this opportunity cannot be missed!
- pre-organized trips: Venice, Milan, Rome, Cinque Terre and more!
-extra curriculars: cooking class, wine tastings, vineyard tours, pizza making class, arts and crafts, trips to various cities throughout italy, soccer games- pay with MEAL PLANS- SAVE SO MUCH MONEY THROUGH AIFS!
- housing is incredible!

Yes, I recommend this program
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kd1409
10/10

AIFS-Best Program in Florence

MEAL PLAN MEAL PLAN MEAL PLAN! Restaurant vouchers for 20+ various and different restaurants all over the city where you eat off their special menu for Richmond students (2 or 3 courses, wine & dessert)or add up your food and pay the difference.

Apartments were nice, clean, safe located in unbelievable locations around the city.

Staff was extremely nice & helpful and always there if you had any issues/questions

Orientation was a huge success and really got you prepared for life in another country

Weekend/day trips around the country included in price (Rome, Pisa, Venice, Cinque Terre, day trips to vineyards, cooking lessons, pizza making, wine tastings)

Academics were very interesting, some challenging but well worth it! (Take renaissance art & History of the Mafia)

Yes, I recommend this program

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About AIFS Study Abroad

AIFS is a leading provider of study abroad programs. Since 1964, more than 1.5 million students have traveled abroad with AIFS. Comprehensive program fees make it convenient for students to study abroad and experience all that the world has to offer....