CET Siena

Video and Photos


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.

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...


based on 18 reviews
  • Academics 7.1
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 18 of 18
Default avatar

Worth It

Italy is the most beautiful place. Traveling was pretty easy and cheap, as was staying in hostels. A plane ride to Paris only cost me 14 euro with Ryanair.com, and most hostels were less than 20 euros per night. The academic side wasn't great though. It was much more work than I expected, without learning a lot from it. I did learn a lot of Italian but my class was extremely stressful. I got better at Italian by hanging out with the locals, but there isn't really a great social scene that suited my interests. In Siena there are a few bars, but not really dance clubs or party opportunities. I was very surprised to learn that Italians don't really drink. They may have a glass of wine, but rarely do they get any sort of drunk. The contrada parties are so fun though! Lots of dancing. CET has a great set-up with a group of Italians from the University of Siena - we got drinks (aperitivo) with them every week. It was my favorite part of Siena; I made some great Italian friends. Most of my dislikes stemmed from not getting along very well with the students in my program, but by the end, we were great friends, and everything was smoothed over. The food is INCREDIBLE. I ate everything in sight and still lost five pounds because the food is so organic and well-made (compared to American preservatives). Going to soccer games was very fun too. Italians are SO into it! Siena is very small: within the walls it's about a 30 minute walk from one side to the other. It's also very safe. No one had any trouble with pickpocketing or any theft. The housing was great - I had my own room and an Italian flatmate. Overall, though I wasn't very happy for most of it (it's really hard feeling lonely or depressed in a foreign country), it ended up being a really great, life-changing experience. If I'm being SUPER honest though, while I think studying abroad in general is very important, I may have chosen a different program (maybe even a different country) that was bigger and better suited to my personal needs.

How can this program be improved?
The program isn't well-organized. Some of the teachers are really not very good, which meant a lot of time in class was wasted and pointless. Also, I wish there were more people in the program (not CET's fault), because nine was just WAY too few.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to offer us feedback on GoOverseas. We value student feedback and strive to improve our programs based on the feedback you and other students give to us each semester. To us, the academic piece of the study abroad experience is the most important part of what we do. We strive to offer academically rigorous courses in all of our programs and would love to have additional feedback from you on the courses you feel did not provide this level of rigor. Please be in touch with CET if you would like to have a conversation with one of our staff members about your courses and how you feel they could have been improved. You may reach us at 800.225.4262 or [email protected].

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Amazingly Immersed

I had the most amazing time in Siena and traveling the rest of Europe. My experience would not have been the same without my homestay mother. After leaving Siena, I felt like I had become Italian. My language skills improved miraculously.

How can this program be improved?
I wish the program size was larger.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

A summer in Siena

I had a wonderful experience in Siena. I lived with a home stay family and my host was Stella. Stella was amazing and like a mother to me. I had a roommate from my college also and we became best friends. My roommate and me would travel together on the weekends. We would attend class Monday through Thursday in the afternoons and had Friday off to allow a long weekend for travel! We made it to Florence, Rome, and Naples/amalfi coast areas. My classes were fun and I love my teachers. The director of my program was so helpful and I loved getting to talk with we about her Italian experiences. I was surprised by how much free time I had during the week. I spent many afternoons in the medieval fortress park studying and enjoying the beautiful views is Siena. It truly was the best summer of my life and I would do anything I go back.

How can this program be improved?
The travel getting in to Siena from Florence was more difficult than I expected. Everything else was actually perfect.
Yes, I recommend


Meet the Alumni

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...