CET Siena

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About

CET Siena is for those who want to dive in to the Italian lifestyle. Take one or two semester's worth of Italian language. Electives in economics, international relations, history of art, studio art, film, literature, politics, and more provide the chance to immerse in Italian culture or to fulfill major requirements. You'll practice your Italian outside the classroom, where it counts. Visit a contrada to learn about the Palio horserace one day. Head to Florence to see Michelangelo’s David and the Medici chapels the next. Local roommates or homestays and a faculty-led Traveling Seminar open additional windows to the local landscape. University of Virginia oversees academics, making this program a good fit for serious students of all majors and Italian language levels. Students from all colleges and universities are welcome. Ideal for study abroad and Gap Year students.

Highlights
  • Traveling Seminar to Sicily
  • Out-of-classroom learning & assignments
  • Option for 1 or 2 semester's of Italian language
  • Live in homestay with a local family or an apartment with an Italian roommate
  • Elective offerings in both English and Italian

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

The program had no classes that were specifically geared toward education, but the year I went (2014) we were all given the opportunity to teach English to Italian elementary school students. This would be great experience for a teaching major. Otherwise, the program was focused on Italian language, history, politics, art, and architecture. So humanities-based in general, which of course is great...

Reviews

9.26 Rating
based on 23 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 82.61%
  • 7-8 rating 8.7%
  • 5-6 rating 8.7%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.2
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 23
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Andrew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Experience

Going to Siena in Spring 2019 was an irreplaceable time of growth and learning for me. I highly recommend this program because of the individual care for students, and the opportunities offered to have genuine and meaningful cultural experiences. The teachers challenge students an optimal level to where they learn a lot but are not stressed. Additionally, there is bountiful cultural diversity within Italy, with Swiss, German, Austrian, Greek, and French amongst other influences being present (region dependent). From Siena, students can bus or train to just about any of these areas, which is much more cost-effective than flying, but offers a similar experience to traveling to each of these places. The stereotype about food is completely correct, and it is worth coming to Siena for this reason alone. I would like to add that if you do select this program, I highly recommend doing a homestay because the families are very kind, they make amazing food, and its consistent and direct cultural interaction.

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Heather
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer in Siena

I chose to do this program to catch up on my Italian courses. I just declared an Italian major and needed to learn the language more quickly, since I didn't start taking it until my second year. This course was perfect for me. I got to spend time in a lovely medieval city in Tuscany while practicing my Italian every day and learning so much about what life was like in Italy and in Siena. The program staff was very friendly and helpful, and they made an effort to get to know us and host fun programs for us. I lived in an apartment with an Italian roommate, who was extremely kind and helpful in showing us how to get around in the city, the best places to eat, etc. I know that my friends who lived in homestays loved their host families as well. The weekend began Thursday afternoon, so we had plenty of time to take weekend trips all over Italy, and even abroad. And of course, as a Classics major, I loved the opportunity to connect all the things I have been learning with the actual landscapes where they took place.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the program could have done a better job of integrating the homestay kids with the apartment kids through events early on in the program, as well as with students from other programs who were studying in Siena. I think they could also be more descriptive about the course syllabi before arriving at the program, since we did not know what grammar or topics we would be learning about ahead of time. This is important since there are students there from several schools that may not have all learned the same material before coming to Italy.
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Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best semester of my college career

CET Siena has all the basics you might be looking for: a supportive and incredibly kind teaching and administrative staff, immersive language learning, amazing homestay opportunities, etc. What really made my semester incredible was how everyone in the program went above and beyond what was required to make me feel comfortable and also to help me explore Siena and Europe! The environment was incredibly supportive, and I made amazing friends and learned so much about Italian culture and the language!

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Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Siena Summer Study Abroad 2018

The CET Siena study abroad program is organized very well. The staff is extremely supportive and caters to your every need as well as offering helpful tips. The teachers were very attentive and due to the small class sizes they were able to personalize each course towards the level of their students. In fact, every student improved drastically in Italian. I also really enjoyed my Sienese Art and Architecture course since it offered historical background on the local Sienese culture.
Siena is a great town to study abroad in since its small size allowed us to actually explore the whole city on foot and by the end of the two months we all knew our way around. The location in Tuscany makes it a perfect place to do day trips from and explore the surrounding beautiful rolling hills. Also, the tuscan food is superb, we even learned how to make pasta from scratch in our cooking class. Another fun activity that CET planned was a wine tasting course. However, the most important thing in Siena is the Palio. We waited in the piazza for 5 hours to watch the horse race, and it was worth it.
I stayed in an apartment with 3 other college students and one local Italian student. I really enjoyed this set up since we had our own kitchen and a large living room to hang out in. Living with an Italian student allowed me to practice my Italian and it offered an authentic view on Sienese culture.
The program was organized perfectly since classes were only Monday through Thursday, allowing for many weekend trips. For instance, I traveled to the Amalfi coast, Cinque Terre, Elba, Capri, London, the Alps, Milan, Bologna, and Lake Como. From Siena it was easy to hop on a bus or train and explore the nearby tourist attractions. The traveling was tiresome but it was so enjoyable traveling in groups with new friends and exploring foreign cities.
Overall, I highly recommend this program. Not only are the teachers great but the CET staff is super supportive and Siena is the perfect study abroad town.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved by adding more group get togethers especially at the beginning of the trip in order for everyone to meet since I feel like some of the homestay students were often left out. Also, it would be helpful to show the students the main modes of transportation, the train station and piazza Gramsci for the buses.
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Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Siena Summer

I studied in Siena through CET Academic Programs for the summer of 2018, and it was by far the best summer of my life. Siena is an incredibly unique city, unlike anywhere else I've ever been. Big enough to feel like a city but small enough to feel like home, the sense of community in Siena abounds. Although I wasn't a local, by the end of my two months there I came to feel like I belonged as I saw the same familiar faces in the park each morning and at my favorite cafe's and shops. The most amazing part was to see my Italian improve as I became more and more comfortable conversing with the friendly locals.
The academics in Siena were also amazing. My teachers there were honestly the best that I've ever had. Class sizes were small so I formed close relationships with my teachers. My Italian professor was incredibly passionate about teaching and making sure we were happy and successful. My elective was Sienese Art History, taught by another dedicated and passionate professor, and our field trips to see the artwork we studied allowed a connection between the classroom and my life in Siena that was absolutely priceless. The head staff at CET were always cheerful and attentive to each of us, always striving to make sure we were having a wonderful time.
Siena is honestly such a wonderful place. Between the Piazza del Campo, the beautiful city square where one can relax and study by day and come to socialize by night, the experience of the Palio horse race and the sense of community held by each contrada, my cherished morning runs at the fortress (a park with amazing views of the city and countryside), the stunning Duomo in the heart of the city, the endless gelato, and the overall safety and comfort that I felt in this city, coming back to Siena after a weekend exploring the rest of Italy felt like coming home.

What would you improve about this program?
Absolutely no room for improvement!
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Stephanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best four months of my life

Deciding between the CET- Florence or the CET- Siena program was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. I was very tempted by the comfortable atmosphere that Florence would provide me with because of the immense American presence in the city. Siena is a small city where waiters, waitresses, and shop owners actually speak to you in Italian, even though they may be able to tell you are not Italian. The streets are not crowded with another 700 study abroad students, but rather with many Italian university students and Sienese families. Siena still has an extremely lively and fun young population, but you don't hear English at every corner you turn as one does in Florence.
Saying I made the right decision is an understatement. I truly cannot express how grateful I am for the CET-Siena program. I made lifelong relationships with my host mom, teachers, and friends, and I look forward to my return to Siena. There was something incredibly special about the small program size, which allowed all of us students to get to know each other extremely well. We joked that we were a family, but after four months of seeing each other all day, every day, that is truly what we became. I woke up every morning excited to get to school and see everyone, and I hated saying goodbye in the evenings or nights, even though I knew I would wake up the next morning and see them all again.
It was very clear that the teachers and the program director, Vicky, loved their jobs and were passionate about what they were teaching us. Although I found Siena to be a much less stressful environment than the University life in the States, I still learned just as much, if not more. I found a unique excitement to learn here in Siena and in the CET program in particular. Although we were allowed a certain number of hours to miss class (that were appealing mostly because of having extra days to travel) students didn't use them. In fact, I know many students that did not miss a single class because they didn't want to. Just like everything else in the program, classes were FUN.
If you want a completely immersive experience in terms of communicating with locals, practicing and learning/improving your Italian, and experiencing more authentic taste of Italian food culture, Siena is the place for you.

What would you improve about this program?
It can't, it was perfect!
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An immersive and enriching experience

First, if you're deciding between CET's Florence and Siena programs, I highly recommend Siena for a more "Italian" and less chaotic experience. I had done study abroad three times prior to CET Siena program and can honestly say that this was the most immersive, authentic semester for me. I stayed with a host family (Luigina & Giorgio) and my Italian improved remarkably thanks to them. We had our routine - every evening we had dinner around 7:30 and watched our usual TV programs, and when the weather was nice we would eat on the terrasse. There is less temptation to spend money and fly to another country every weekend on the Siena program than on the Florence program because there is no airport in Siena. On the weekends instead I did a lot of train travel to other towns in Italy and I could not recommend that enough. I am terribly sad the semester is over and already planning when to return. I don't feel that I did an American study abroad program in Siena for a semester, I feel that I actually lived in Siena for four months. I have friends and family and a life there, and that to me is the whole point. Go to Siena and learn about their charming and unique and profound culture. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, I promise.

About CET specifically -

The school is right in the center of the city, a short and beautiful walk from no matter where you live. The professors and director, Vicky, as well as the Italian student staff, are all wonderful. They become your friends. The classes are serious and interesting (with a lot of trips to see things in person), and you actually learn more information in a more wholesome way than you would on campus for a semester. It doesn't feel like school though, it feels like "how did I get so lucky!" everyday. The Italian language, art history, and inter-cultural communications classes are splendid. Teachers teach with passion and students are engaged. There is also a trip to Palermo and Catania, Sicily. We did walking tours of the cities and their markets, a mafia tour, a food tour, went to the beach, had dinner with Sicilian students, and stayed in lovely hotels. I truly cannot think of one thing I would change about the CET Siena program... I already wish I could go back.

What would you improve about this program?
It can't!
Owen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CET Siena: Spring 2018

CET Siena has been my favorite experience of college so far. If you are looking to have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a smaller Italian city, this is the program for you. All of the teachers and staff of CET are some of the most helpful people I have met. It is clear that they care about the students and want them to succeed. CET Siena is an extremely positive atmosphere, that caters to the individual students on a personal level, and at the end of the three and a half months, you won't want to leave! I highly recommend a homestay if you would like to practice a lot of Italian, all of the host families are wonderful and you cannot go wrong. I highly recommend this program!

What would you improve about this program?
I don't think it can be