I had the best time abroad. Naturally, I had some reservations and fears about going on a program where I didn't know anyone prior to the program. That, on top of the fact that this would be my first time in Europe made me pretty nervous to see what the next five months would have in store for me. Shortly after arriving in Milan, I realized I had nothing at all to be worried about. IES abroad made transportation from the airport to my new apartment very smooth, with an IES representative waiting for me at the airport, ready to help. The IES assistance number was extremely helpful if I needed help or had any last minute questions. The orientation we went through helped us meet others in our program, kept us busy enough to not think about jet lag, and introduced us into the Italian lifestyle.
I lived with 5 people (4 Americans and one Italian student who served as our "Community Assistant" or CA). I realized all 5 of us were as different as could be and it made for the best experience possible. We were all diverse in our own ways which made us learn and grow from each other and allowed for an environment in which all of us felt completely comfortable and ourselves. IES abroad did a great job with choosing housing for us based on our living preferences that we described in the housing survey. Everyone on our program became pretty good friends, and I can truthfully say my study abroad friends are now my lifelong friends.
Classes through IES were fun and allowed for stimulating conversation and learning in the classroom. I was able to take fun and interesting classes, like communication and psychology, which I wouldn't have had room for in my schedule back at my school in America. I took very exciting field trips to news stations, saw a live news recording, and went to an Italian prison. I became extremely close with my three professors, who genuinely cared about their students. The course I took at Bocconi, an Italian University, proved to be extremely difficult, but my hard work paid off. Having no classes on Fridays made it super easy to travel on weekends.
If I had to do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing. I had the best time, saw places in Europe I've wanted to see my whole life, and met lifelong friends.