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.

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

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

92%
based on 21 reviews
  • Academics 7.1
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 21 of 21
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Connor
10/10

An Absolute Must

This past summer I spent two months in Siena, Italy and had an unforgettable time. I learned so much about not only the Italian language and culture, but also of actual Italian people themselves. I made it my goal to speak as much Italian as possible so I could interact with the locals and make new friends. Plenty of people speak English in Italy but I think that showing Italians that you can speak their language is a great way to start a friendship. I made many friends and even had the privilege of going and staying at two of their house's after the program was completed. It is not easy of course to get to a level where you feel completely immersed. True immersion and fluency take a long time and many people can get discouraged and revert back to English. I did this many times because it was the easy thing to do, but I found that when I really tried to speak Italian only, it became easier and going back to English became less common. I would encourage everyone studying abroad to speak the language as much as possible and try to meet local people. The friends I made in my program were fantastic, and I also made friends outside of it who were equally fantastic. Siena is a great place to live because, unlike Florence or Rome, it is a smaller, less tourist heavy town, and it feels like a more authentic Italian experience. The program was incredible and I already wish I could go back.

How can this program be improved?
I think that the apartments were a little to heavy with Americans. I lived with five Americans and one Italian and I found I was almost always speaking language while at home. There was also not the largest selection of classes during the summer, which is understandable. I was in an Italian language class with three people who had taken one year more of Italian than I had.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Mike
10/10

Incredible Experience

Living in Siena, Italy was a life changing experience. The people, the food, the culture it really is hard to describe the extent of the experience in words. the support staff for the program, namely Christina, was always helpful and got us out of quite a few problems that we ran into on our adventures. Hiking Cinque Terre, visiting Paris, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Venice, Rome,etc was nothing short of incredible. I would highly suggest this program for anyone looking to learn the language of Italian or anyone who likes the beauty of Tuscany. I can't emphasize how lucky I feel to have gone to Italy and been a part of the program.

How can this program be improved?
The class size could be much bigger and there could be more courses to take. There were only nine of us in the program which turned out OK, but I would have much preferred to have been in a slightly larger program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tim
7/10

Advertising

I didn't really have a good feel for what the program and the city were like before I went. The website and literature could be much better about giving possible applicants an Idea of what they should expect. things such as enrollment numbers and gender breakdown for past semester. explanations of how course enrollment works. lists of most popular courses and courses that are normally offered. sample schedule of a student. local nightlife descriptions. pictures of the city and pictures of some of the housing. All of these things would give students a better Idea of what the program was like before they show up.

How can this program be improved?
be more clear in advertising what the size of the program is and what typical classes are offered. Many of the classes on the published list were not offered and some hadn't been offered for many years so the site was misleading.
Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to offer us feedback on GoOverseas Tim. We value student feedback and strive to improve our programs based on the feedback you and other students give to us each semester. We're sorry that you did not feel that our website and pre-departure materials gave you a full understanding of Siena and the program. Knowing what information that would have been helpful to you can help inform the changes we make to our website and printed materials each year and the pre-departure orientations we offer each semester. We would welcome the chance to receive the types of photos and lists of popular destinations in Siena from you to include in our materials for future students. Please be in touch with CET (800.225.4262 or [email protected]) if you would be willing to work with us on this type of project and offer some of your photos and resources to us to help future participants on the program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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N/A
6/10

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 this program
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Megan
9/10

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 this program
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LaceyP
9/10

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 this program

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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...