CET Florence

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Want to study in one of Italy's most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities? Looking to travel to a different European destination every weekend? The CET Florence program provides individual attention from professors and staff, first-rate academics, and the chance to embrace Italian culture—you can visit the Gucci factory or learn from a Tuscan chef. Check off major requirements with classes like Cross-Cultural Psychology or International Marketing. Try something new with Renaissance Art and Architecture...the class meets at least half the time in a museum, church, or piazza. You'll take Italian, too. Choose to live in an apartment with CET peers, or in a homestay with an Italian family. CET Florence is open to students of all majors, from all universities. There is no language prerequisite.

  • Academically engaging courses that suit a variety of majors
  • 4-day group excursion to Rome & Tivoli
  • Out-of-classroom learning & assignments
  • Italian language classes
  • Live in the downtown area of beautiful Florence: apartment or homestay options available

Questions & Answers

Hi Kimberly, After you're accepted to CET Florence, we provide a packing guide resource on what to bring and what not to bring. Generally, you just need a laptop for coursework, clothes, and personal items. Your apartments are fully equipped with linens, blankets, pillows, towels, and kitchen equipment, so there's no need to bring any of these supplies from the US. Get in touch with us if you have...


based on 20 reviews
  • Academics 7.1
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 8.1
  • Safety 9.2
  • Growth 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 16 - 20 of 20

Spontaneous Trip to Elba Island

Halfway through the semester, there was a clear planner of our group of friends and that person was not me. At the same time as the "planner" of our group went to Oktoberfest with another group of friends, my favorite professor abroad mentioned an island her and her family enjoyed visiting. Thus, I became the interim planner and a fairly spontaneous and unorganized one at that - having decided to go only a couple days before leaving. Waking up for a 5:30 am train ride and then a 15 minute transport on a boat, the four of us made it to Elba Island. As unplanned as this trip was, it was equally as perfect. We stayed in an Air BnB overlooking the ocean, met locals who were willing to lend us their bikes, experienced rocky instead of sandy beaches and even went scuba diving (for me) and snorkeling (my friends). We may have been the only ones on this island who's first language was not Italian and it was a truly beautiful glimpse into an undisturbed region of Italy.

How can this program be improved?
I would make the program more diverse. Specifically, I think this program would benefit with representation from a more diverse range of universities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Florence in 4 months

This program will most likely not greatly improve your Italian language skills as a beginner. The Italian lanuage class is only twice a week for an hour and a half. Because I already knew Italian I made a commitment to talk to people on the street only in Italian which helped. However for a beginner this can be difficult. Also the language class was not heavily focused in grammar, instead we mainly talked during class. I was the only one in my program who had prior experience with Italian so it was a one on one language course. All of the other people in the program said that they could not speak Italian after 4 months.

No, I don't recommend this program
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My Italy Journey

During the summer of my sophomore year in college, I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy for two months. Being that I had a struggled with an eating disorder for eight years, I hoped that, being around a culture that embraces spontaneity, creativity, flexibility, art, freedom, and food would change me.
I remember Italy clearly, there were many ups and downs; it was a journey to say the least, one that I needed to take, and I do not regret it. For a few days, I was living the dream as I climbed the Duomo, visited the Baptistery, went to authentic restaurants with incredible food, went to famous museums where I saw breathtaking works of art, and just explored this fantastic city of Florence while taking college courses at The University of Florence and learning about this incredible place.
I had some incredible and enlightening moments in Italy that I will never forget, and these moments were the ones that truly motivated me to change. Turns out that I met another young woman in my study abroad group who had also suffered from an eating disorder; what are the odds, right? She confided in me one day, and this time, instead of running away and shutting her out, I listened, hoping to gain some insight into how to beat this disorder by listening to someone who was fully recovered. She told me about intuitive eating, a new concept that I had never heard of before, but something that I always dreamed of, being able to listen to your body and know what it needs in terms of nourishment, whether it be through food, spirituality, movement, etc. It is that crucial mind and body connection that the eating disorder severs, and therefore, in order to break free from my disordered mindset, I had to start listening to my body again, which is what this beautiful culture emphasized.
Overall, what I had learned from my journey to Italy was that life is a journey, and therefore, we must choose to make the most of it by living in the moment. I truly believe that Italy was a step in my recovery that I needed to take in order to get to the place that I am at now, and that is, living a balanced life.

How can this program be improved?
I would have had more social events going on during the semester. It was great that we got a lot of time to study, but I was there to experience Italy.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Great-- but not perfect

Overall, I was pretty satisfied with my study abroad experience through CET Florence. Many of the classes offered (such as Renaissance Art and Food & Culture) allowed us to study aspects of the local culture in situ, through museum and market visits.
However, there were some classes and activities listed in the program description that were not actually offered as a part of the program. One main example would be the opportunity for language partners. I would have really appreciated a native Italian to meet and converse with on a regular basis to help practice my Italian even more. It also would have been great to have been able to meet more locals through CET-organized activities.
I would also not recommend this program to non-Vanderbilt University students. As someone who does not attend Vanderbilt, I was of a very obvious minority on the program. And as the program continues to grow, this factor will become even more overwhelming. CET needs to do a better job of advertising the fact that their Florence program is co-hosted by Vanderbilt, so applicants are aware that almost all participants will come from the same school and already know each other. This is not the study abroad experience that most students expect.
However despite all this, CET did a great job of making the program enjoyable and enriching. The program included group visits to both Rome and Venice (although the <2 day trips were extremely quick), where we were able to have guided tours of almost all of the important sites. They also tried their hardest to come up with group activities that related to the local culture, such as aperitivos or a mafia-themed movie night. The staff and teachers were extremely friendly and helpful, so they definitely made the experience much more positive overall. It was clear that they wanted us to have the best study abroad experience possible.

How can this program be improved?
The academics were much weaker than I was anticipating, but it provided for a lot of free time to be able to explore the city and relax.
See above review for more information.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thank you for taking the time to submit this review of CET Florence! We appreciate all feedback and take it to heart.
Since reading your comment about language partners not being offered as advertised, I’ve followed up with our Italy staff. The “Language Exchange aperitivos” that you mentioned attending were our staff’s method of giving students the opportunity to find language partners. Your perspective on this has made us rethink our own terminology. We realize the term “language partner” would cause you to expect something more formalized. We are working to change our promotional materials so future students have a realistic expectation of that immersion tool.
I’m sorry that the student make-up of many Vanderbilt students was overwhelming to you and something that you preserved to be a negative aspect of the program. While CET always advertises that we partner with Vanderbilt to run the program, I can imagine how you felt coming from a different institution. That said, we hope that this will become less of an issue as the program grows. Nearly 20% of the students came from other institutions last fall, and that percentage is even larger this spring – at 30%. It isn’t unrealistic to imagine that it could be even more balanced a year from now.
Again, we appreciate your feedback. It helps us to continually improve the CET Florence program. – Sarah Dixon, CET Academic Programs; [email protected]

Yes, I recommend this program
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CET Florence: "La Dolce Vita"

"La Dolce Vita" means "the sweet life" in Italian, and very accurately describes my time in Florence. In Florence, there are unlimited fun activities in which to partake and the best food you've ever tasted. Classes are stimulating, but not so challenging that you don't have time to travel every weekend. International travel out of Florence is a bit more challenging than other cities, but totally doable. Florence feels very safe, and there are MANY American students there. I would go back in a second if I could!

How can this program be improved?
I don't have any complaints - seriously!
Yes, I recommend this program

About CET Academic Programs

CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio...