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 31 - 37 of 37
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EmilyClarke
10/10

Emily Clarke's Review of AIFS- AMAZING

AIFS has left me with hands down the best experience of my entire life that I will never forget. Studying Abroad is always a great experience but going through AIFS has changed my life in the most positive way possible. The classes that were offered were all interesting and fairly simple to complete as long as some effort was put in. The teachers all spoke English (some broken English but not difficult to understand) The hours for the classes were great and all teachers were helpful and understanding. The staff at AIFS were always willing to assist me with an issues I was facing from homesickness, to health issues, to a reccommendation to a good restaurant. These people gave me a family away from home and were available 24 hours a day. A major positive that AIFS has compared to other programs (A friend of mine went through a different program and was jealous of this aspect) was that we had a 2 week orientation in a different part of the country where we took the language for 2 weeks prior to starting our semester. While there, I was able to meet and become friends with all of the students in my program. Other programs throw you into school right away and those people have seemed to find a difficult time adjusting and making friends. AIFS also includes a few weekend trips to see the country in which you are staying in and include great tour guides. These trips include transportation and stay. If I have one thing to say to anyone reading this, it is to GO ABROAD WITH AIFS. They have single handedly impacted my life forever.

Yes, I recommend this program
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JeniB
10/10

When can I go back?

The AIFS Study Abroad Program Richmond in Florence was one of the best experiences of my life! The students were from all over the US and were interested in similar subjects and open to new experiences like me. Though for the first few days of my trip my luggage had been lost by the airline, the staff were as helpful as possible by providing translation with local airport staff. The classes were everything I hoped for. My favorite part was that I not only learned about the art history and culture of Italy, but I was immursed in it. As one of the teachers in the program would say "you can touch it, you can look at it, you can smell it, you can bite it". I learned a lot of information in a shorter amount of time than I might in a whole semester class at my university, and feel like I have a very in-depth understanding of the material. I loved learning about paintings and sculptures and then going to see the actual pieces either locally in Florence, or in other places like Milan or Vinci. My favorite part of the experience was actually a seemingly mundane activity: my walk to school every morning. Every morning my roomates and I would make the fifteen minute walk past the Duomo and across the Arno to get to class. Florence is beautiful and calm in the morning. After I found my way around the city, Florence felt like my hometown during these morning walks. Of course the social aspect and the nightlife was very exciting as well. With all the friends I made in the program, I got to explore the restaurants, bars, and attractions of Florence and enjoy all the diverse people. Our apartment was in a great location and was very comfortable for me and my three roomates. We especially loved our landlady who would take us out every week to get gelato and talk to us about our experiences and help us with our italian (while we helped her with her english!). While the program sponsored trips and activites were a blast, I also liked that we had plenty of independence and free time to plan trips of our own to explore a foreign country using our own resources while learning some important lessons in traveling and social interaction. There were a million more things that I loved, but I can't list here. However just a few more; the gelato, the shopping, the friends, the views, the art, the music, the food, and the Italians. My only complaint is that I had to leave!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Amanda
10/10

Amazing!

Absolutely one of the most memorable and amazing experiences! From the beautiful scenery to the delicious food, everything was perfect! AIFS is a wonderful, safe, educational and extremely entertaining program. I wouldn't have changed a thing. You are NEVER bored and are constantly experiencing different things everyday.

Yes, I recommend this program
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danauri
10/10

Best experience of my life

There are countless memories I made while abroad and I recommend to every student to do it. Choosing a program was hard but it was clear AIFS was the right one when I got to Florence. They give you every opportunity to experience the city, museum passes, meal vouchers for ALL over, volunteer opportunities...and the list goes on. The trips with the program were always really fun as well and you get to bond with every other member on them. The hotels we stayed in easily held all 150 of us and were never dirty. Pick one of your teachers to be your guide and you can't go wrong (Angela is the BEST for whoever is in Florence.

Yes, I recommend this program
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aerkoc
10/10

Best Life Experience

Prior to college I knew I wanted to study abroad. When it finally came the time I was bombarded with a list of different programs and unsure I which to go with. My main concerns included getting the most for my money, inclusive experiences, and meals. AIFS provided me with the best opportunity. During orientation, we were able to go on weekly trips throughout the area of Lido di Camaiore. Whether it was open markets, see the leaning tower of Pisa, I feel like I saw so much in just two short weeks. Once in Florence, AIFS ensured that we were educated on safety rules. They would even email us to remind us about important information. The school provided us with ample internet access and the program directed us to getting our own internet access at home if we wanted it. The meal plan was by far the greatest bonus of the program. I was worried about spending so much extra money on food, it was Italy after all. The meal plan AIFS provided us with was amazing. We were giving meal tickets each month that allowed us to not only explore traditional Italian cuisine but also provided us with an array of different restaurants and cafes. We had trips to Venice and Rome within the program and aside from the organization of the trip being so easy for me as a student. I was able to learn about these areas through the help of guiding staff but we were also given plenty of free time to explore and experience the cities. It has been almost 3 years since I visited Florence and to this day I feel like I was there just yesterday. I miss all the teachers and staff and hope to one day visit them again. Between holiday dinners and our good bye dinner, everyone in the program became this diverse family. I was able to make life long friends that I am able to visit and stay in close contact with. In the beginning the great difficulty I had was not knowing how to get around and missing my family. By the end of the semester, I felt like I knew Florence better than my hometown and I wished I could stay for one more semester.

Yes, I recommend this program
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RedSoxFlorence
10/10

Best Program in Europe

I have spoken to many of my friends who went abroad and no one has been able to top this program. The BEST part about this program are the meals. NO OTHER program utilizes the meal ticket system better. The restaurants are top notch and not touristy... they're authentic Italian cuisine. The staff was also very helpful. They offered numerous activities on a daily basis. I can not say enough about this program, simply the best. But don't take my word for it... GO! Overall I would say if you're looking to travel abroad, go to Italy. If you chose Italy go to Florence. If you chose Florence pick Richmond in Florence.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ashley
10/10

Fantastic Experience!

Spending a year in Florence through AIFS is easily one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I chose AIFS over my own university's program because they offered more choice in enrichment activities, living situations, and classes. You can choose to live in an apartment with other students, or with a family. I chose an apartment with other students, and was placed in a great area of town within walking distance to both school, restaurants, bars, and other activities. Our apartment was a good size, clean, and had everything we needed to feel at home.

The academics are obviously a part of the program, but they are not overwhelming, and I left the year feeling like I had learned more than I had in most of my regular courses at home, but without as much stress! You can choose among a good variety of classes that include language, literature, art history, fine arts, and many others. The classes are interesting and the instructors were very personable and easy to understand. My art history courses were focused on both local and international art, and we took frequent field trips to see in person what we were learning about, which made the course seem so much more relevant to my actual life.

The program also offers a lot of extra-curricular activities that you can choose to participate in - wine tasting, cooking, museum trips, weekend trips to Rome and Venice, soccer games and concerts to name a few.

I found it very easy to make friends in this program, which was great because I came into it alone. In the first few weeks the program hosts multiple gatherings at restaurants and bars to help you meet other students. I have kept in touch with many people from the program, and some have become my closest friends. We had ample time to travel (most weekends are 3 day weekends) and I felt like I had the perfect balance of education and adventure.

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....