IES Abroad Siena - Study in Tuscany

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About

This program’s core course, Presence of the Past, makes Siena and the Tuscan countryside your classroom through activities that explore important sites in and around the city, introducing you to the beauty of Siena’s cultural and artistic heritage.

While you’re in Siena, you’ll not only have time to see the sites, but also to interact with Italians and improve your Italian speaking skills. With an integrated curriculum of English- and Italian-taught courses led by Italian faculty, IES Abroad Siena offers you the opportunity to increase your Italian language skills no matter what your proficiency level.

If you have four or more semesters of Italian, we encourage you to enroll in courses alongside local students at the Università degli Studi di Siena.

Siena will be your classroom. Explore the many piazzas, cathedrals, and squares inside Siena’s city walls that harken back to the Middle Ages. This isn’t just an exhibit at a museum—this is where you live. Welcome to study abroad!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

92%
based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 7.6
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 9 of 9
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Mariah
10/10

Learning from Living

My time in Siena was nothing if not unexpected. You can prepare for days, weeks, or months on end before embarking on your adventure but once the time arrives, you have to be able adjust to the rhythm of wherever you are living. Siena was a beautiful and unique city to study abroad in, nothing like I have every experienced in the United States. The city is filled with passionate people who know their history like they know their own families. My experience in Siena barely scratching the surface with customs of day to day livings and traditions such as the Palio, but it was enough time for me to feel energized by the city and the people residing there.
If you choose to attend this IES program (which I highly recommend), then take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. One of my closest friends on the trip was a girl from the city and we saw a Rampage in their movie theater. Even though I could barely understand anything they were saying, it was one of my most favorite memories from my time abroad. Cliche movie plot lines are just funnier with Dwayne "the rock" lib dubs over them.

How can this program be improved?
It would be nice if IES helped students understand cell phone plans, credit card issues, or other common mistakes students run in to once they are abroad, before they leave the United States.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alexandra
9/10

Perfect Combination of Academics and Fun In Siena

I loved working with IES because the program itself was only 30 students, allowing us to feel close with one another, the staff and the professors. Academic wise, the professors really made use of their environment, taking us on walking trips around the town. I think American students should prepare for a different style of teaching when coming here because it is more "lectured based" rather than collaborative or conversational. Being in a small city like Siena really forced all of us to speak the language and understand the culture. The program coordinators invited us on different optional, (some) free trips around town and throughout Italy that helped us learn more about Siena and the world around it. I never felt scared or out of place in this program because Siena is such a safe town and IES hired such thoughtful, kind staff to guide us through this journey. I highly recommend this to anyone who genuinely wants to experience authentic Italian culture!

How can this program be improved?
I think the program should either shorten the length of class times or enforce professors to be more interactive with their students so it isn't just two hours worth of one person talking at their students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Georgia
8/10

Immersion at your leisure

This program is fantastic for those who like personable experiences and a strong sense of community and culture. Siena is a bit different from larger study abroad cities in that there is little to no English spoken. There were only six students in my program (study in Tuscany) and fourteen in the total IES abroad program. The size of the city itself adds to the feeling of community and closeness to those around you (especially if you're living in a homestay). The IES abroad staff offer resources outside of class for those who desire to be involved in the community, however these are completely optional and depend on the student to actually commit to these activities. I believe that this program can be fantastic for those willing to fully immerse themselves with Italians as well as those who just want a fun study abroad experience with American students. The cultural aspect is really up to the student.

How can this program be improved?
I believe this program can be improved by more communication between certain professors, students and the IES Staff. The critical feedback we gave for the professors we did not believe was taken seriously or would have a meaningful impact on the professors and their teaching styles (most of the professors were fantastic though).
Yes, I recommend this program
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Nataly
9/10

Loved Siena and the program!

I had a blast living in Siena for a year! I thoroughly enjoyed all the classes that were offered, got to do an internship, and loved exploring Siena. The program is well organized, I loved my host family, and I can't wait to go back again soon to see all my friends there. I recommend this program to those who are interested in medieval Italy, Tuscan art history, and those who love exploring small towns (with so many wine varieties!).

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kristina
9/10

Rewarding Abroad Experience

If your goal is to be immersed in your host city's culture, Siena is perfect. In larger cities, the tourist aspect can overshadow the true culture but Siena is not a big tourist town until the spring and summer so I was able to see what the city is really like. I think that I learned more Italian in Siena than I would have in a more major city because the locals were more willing to treat me as a student rather than a tourist. It is definitely a great program if you want to find an authentic Italian city.

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps more programs that would allow the students to interact with University of Siena students would be beneficial for everyone. The program is small so it would have been nice to meet more people outside of the program.
Yes, I recommend this program
Taylor
10/10

Small Town Charm

My experience in Siena was absolutely incredible. I did not know much about this small city before I arrived, and instead had the opportunity to discover what it means to be Sienese in the city itself. I had no sense of Il Palio, or the importance of the contrada (neighborhood) until I was living with a host family in La Civetta (the owl contrada), who had won Il Palio just three weeks before I arrived. The members of the neighborhood were eating huge dinners that lined the streets in celebration for the first month I was abroad, and I could hear them celebrating and singing long after I'd gone back to the apartment. Pro Tip: If you hear Christmas carols in August, it means you're in a Contrada that won, who are bragging by telling the other contradas through song that their year is over, and they'll have to wait to have another chance at glory until next summer.

How can this program be improved?
Because the program is very small, it can feel isolated from Siena at times. On the program you study in a separate building and on a separate schedule from the University of Siena, so if you're not an outspoken person, willing to introduce yourself to strangers (I was), then it can be a bit difficult to meet and connect with the local students. The program provides language tandems and community service opportunities to help bridge this gap, but I think if they advertised more local events where you could meet people naturally, it would facilitate meeting locals.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria
8/10

Semester in Siena

Walking to class on cobblestone in a town that is rich in history is something I'll always cherish. Siena was my home for over three months and even though it was an adjustment in the beginning, I met people and saw places that I wouldn't trade for anything. If you study in Siena, you have to go to the cafe in Piazza Del Campo for great espresso. The best part about eating in Siena (aside from the delicious cuisine itself) is that the workers will remember your face and who you are for the next time you go in.

How can this program be improved?
I think I would change the orientation process. Our orientation was two weeks long and one week would have been plenty.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jess
10/10

Experiencing Siena

Initially, I was a little worried about choosing a program in a smaller city but I couldn't have made a better decision. This city became a second home to me and transformed my life. I was really able to get to know the city and become familiar with its traditions and history. I was also able to dramatically improve my Italian and immerse myself in the culture. From my amazing host family, to the wonderful professors and the people in my program, everything was absolutely perfect!

How can this program be improved?
Nothing!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Nick
10/10

Siena in the Fall

Going to Siena was the best decision I've made since I started college. The people and the program were amazing. When dealing with the professors and the program I felt like I was talking with my friends and not my superiors. Siena is small as far as abroad destinations go but every day I felt like I stumbled on a new statue or restaurant that made my day. Of all the things I did in Europe, hanging out in the Piazza del Campo, Siena's center, at night was the thing I'll remember most. People think Siena is a city you can see in a day. I don't even think a semester was enough time.

How can this program be improved?
A little less class time. But I'm being greedy. I traveled whenever I wanted and saw all of Europe I wanted to.
Yes, I recommend this program

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...