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!

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 12 reviews
  • Academics 7.8
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
Default avatar
Mariah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Palio, Pasta, and lots of Passion

If you are looking for a study abroad program so dedicated to its students and presenting the best that Italy has to offer, look no further than here! The staff with IES worked with me from the day I sent in my application until I returned home and confronted my reverse culture shock. Siena may not be the largest or most infamous Italian city, but it contains some of the richest history in the world and the most passionate citizens. With a smaller class sizes, professors get to know you on an individual level and do all they can to help you succeed. The staff is consistently presenting in and out of class options for immersing yourself in the Italian culture and my suggestion would be to capitalize on these opportunities. In Siena food, art, and history all come together in a beautiful communal lifestyle.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could enroll in this program for another semester, I would love to travel to Siena during the Fall season. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Spring of 2018, it was very cold for the first few months I was there and I found myself rushing between my apartment and the program center. When the weather warmed up, it was nice to casually walk through every contrada and take in all the beauty of the city.
Hello there! I'm Ara Gonzalez, I'm originally from Paraguay but right now I'm studying International Relations at the University of Rochester. I am also an IES ambassador and I am here to help with any questions you might have about going abroad!
Araceli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable fall semester!

ES -Study in Tuscany is a great program if you are looking for a smaller group program to get immersed in Tuscan culture while taking classes with less than 10 classmates. You will get the chance to live in the center of Siena, learn about authentic Italian culture and cuisine, while making friends not only of your program but with people from the local community. Siena is known for its great university, so it is considered a "college city" within Italy. Classes in IES are in English and language classes are available for all levels. I highly recommend taking one course at the local university as well. You can have the chance to make friends outside of your program too!
Siena is more of a medieval town rather than a big city, still during the end of the spring and at beginning of the fall there are a lot of tourists who visit the city, but still remains authentic comparing to the metropolitan cities in Italy. I would totally recommend this program if you want a break from our busy life style we have at our American universities, and want to experience a little bit of a more relaxing and fun time while still having the chance to learn a lot about Italian language, culture and history. People are super friendly with exchange students, in fact the Erasmus network organizes activities like wine tours, tournaments, parties and other extracurricular activities to have a lot of fun after class or during the weekends.
Although Siena is considered a predominant catholic place, there are several options for Christians, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim students. You just need to ask the program coordinator for information. If you practice a sport there is a center outside the city walls where you can find a swimming pool and a soccer field. The university offer the students a basketball court but again, you will need to ask for a specific information of time and rules of usage when you get there.
If you are a going out type of person, there are bars opened during the week and weekends. Night clubs like Vanilla and Sotto Sopra are available outside the city wall. The Erasmus network organizes some parties with buses that take you there and back - with special discounts for students. If you prefer to just hang out with friends Piazza del Campo is a great place to just sit, have a conversation and enjoy the night.
The experience of going abroad is definitely what you do with it and up to you to have a great time. IES Siena provides you all what you need to have the time of your life and it is indeed up to you how you get to live it!

I highly recommend this program, I had no regrets of all the things I have learned and lived there.

What would you improve about this program?
Housing arrangements should be done based on similar habits and life style rather than program length. It is hard to live with someone who does not have similar cleanliness level nor sleeping time. This can also influence the way in which a student lives their experience abroad.
Hello there! I'm Ara Gonzalez, I'm originally from Paraguay but right now I'm studying International Relations at the University of Rochester. I am also an IES ambassador and I am here to help with any questions you might have about going abroad!
Araceli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable semester!

IES -Study in Tuscany is a great program if you are looking for a smaller group program to get immersed in Tuscan culture while taking classes with less than 10 classmates. You will get the chance to live in the center of Siena, learn about authentic Italian culture and cuisine, while making friends not only of your program but with people from the local community. Siena is known for its great university, so it is considered a "college city" within Italy. Classes in IES are in English and language classes are available for all levels. I highly recommend taking one course at the local university as well. You can have the chance to make friends outside of your program too!
Siena is more of a medieval town rather than a big city, still during the end of the spring and at beginning of the fall there are a lot of tourists who visit the city, but still remains authentic comparing to the metropolitan cities in Italy. I would totally recommend this program if you want a break from our busy life style we have at our American universities, and want to experience a little bit of a more relaxing and fun time while still having the chance to learn a lot about Italian language, culture and history. People are super friendly with exchange students, in fact the Erasmus network organizes activities like wine tours, tournaments, parties and other extracurricular activities to have a lot of fun after class or during the weekends.
Although Siena is considered a predominant catholic place, there are several options for Christians, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim students. You just need to ask the program coordinator for information. If you practice a sport there is a center outside the city walls where you can find a swimming pool and a soccer field. The university offer the students a basketball court but again, you will need to ask for a specific information of time and rules of usage when you get there.
If you are a going out type of person, there are bars opened during the week and weekends. Night clubs like Vanilla and Sotto Sopra are available outside the city wall. The Erasmus network organizes some parties with buses that take you there and back - with special discounts for students. If you prefer to just hang out with friends Piazza del Campo is a great place to just sit, have a conversation and enjoy the night.
The experience of going abroad is definitely what you do with it and up to you to have a great time. IES Siena provides you all what you need to have the time of your life and it is indeed up to you how you get to live it!

I highly recommend this program, I had no regrets of all the things I have learned and lived there.

What would you improve about this program?
Rooming assignment should be more based on similar living lifestyles rather than program length. It will be hard for a student to have a great time if they have to share a room with someone who outside the house can be a good friend but inside does not have similar habits. I would also recommend having singles since in Siena it is totally doable to find apartments with several single rooms for students.
Default avatar
Mariah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Alexandra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Georgia
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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).
Default avatar
Nataly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!).

Default avatar
Kristina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Maria
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I think I would change the orientation process. Our orientation was two weeks long and one week would have been plenty.
Default avatar
Jess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing!
Default avatar
Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
A little less class time. But I'm being greedy. I traveled whenever I wanted and saw all of Europe I wanted to.

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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...