SAI Programs: Study Abroad at FUA in Florence, Italy

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About

Florence University of the Arts (FUA) offers an extensive catalog of courses, including classes in the liberal and fine arts. Students are encouraged to engage with the local community and to immerse themselves in Italian culture through a variety of activities and excursions.

The city of Florence has amazed visitors since Roman times, providing students of arts, literature, and culture with a rich and varied environment to explore. It remains one of Europe's most accessible cities, showcasing cultural treasures from the Renaissance period and beyond. Florence is also home to the flagship stores of Italy's greatest fashion houses.

Where else can you find works by Dante, Michaelangelo, and Gucci all standing side by side!

Questions & Answers

It will depend where your apartment is! The different class buildings are kind of scattered throughout Florence. So, I had one class that was only about a 10 minute walk, but another that was a solid 30 -45 minute walk. In general though, they're never too far, and you really love to learn the walk and get to know the city. I recommend walking around and finding the buildings with some of your...

Reviews

98%
based on 48 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 48
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jackie
10/10

Best 4 months of my life

Studying abroad through SAI was a wonderful experience from pre departure procedures to returning to the U.S and everything in between. There were always activities throughout the week in Florence that were free with SAI such as cooking classes, pizza making, and walking tours. I traveled to 12 countries during the semester and made great friends from all over the country. I gained so many life skills from my experience abroad.

Yes, I recommend
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Jessica
10/10

Interested in studying art? Choose this program in Florence!

The classes were really awesome! They were entry level so most art classes took you back to the basics. The homework load was managable, and if a teacher realized it was becoming too much they would cut back. The school was open for great hours and were responsive to emails. My two favorite classes were Chemistry in the Arts and Intro to Art History. I love the chem class because it was so fascinating. It was all about the science behind art, mostly painting. The AH class was great because we went on a lot of field trips to the museums so I got to see all the art museums in florence with my teacher as a tour guide and didn't have to pay insane prices.

SAI was very helpful. They really wanted you to have a healthy, positive, and enriching experience. They were always on top of apartment issues and available to help with mental support. My favorite part about their offerings was their included trips and excursions. I got to take cooking classes, go on a bike tour in tuscany, and go on a weekend trip to islands off the coast of Italy.

I really loved my location and apartment. I was close to Santa Croce which was just a 3 minute walk to class and 2 minute walk to the SAI office. We have some issues with water while we were there. The water heater rarely worked, but you're lucky to get hot water at all in Italy.

My roommate and I were always on a search for new and great food places around town! We found some amazing places. There are a TON of tourist traps and bad places around, but SAI will give you some tips and tricks to determine the difference.

I did not have any health issues while in Italy, but one of my roommates did. She had to go to the hospital several times and SAI was always there to help.

I probably spent about $80 or less every week. GO TO THE GROCERY STORE. I would spend about 20 -30 euro on groceries a week. Coffee was a must every morning for 2.50 euro. I would go out a few nights to eat with my roommate, and of course, I would splurge on some souvenirs every so often. I also kept all of my receipts and documented my spending every month. Know your credit card charges and ATM fees before you go.

Get duo lingo. Talk to italians in italian. They are willing to be patient for you. Its my biggest regret, not learning the language.

The experience was worthwhile. I learned how to live on my own for the first time. I studied abroad as a sophomore and my freshman year I lived at home. I loved the culture of living. Hang drying clothes, hand washing dishes, walking everywhere!

I am an Art major, and Italy was the perfect place to study abroad for the arts. They are one of the only programs that offer these classes and they even offer scholarships. (one of which I received)

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Anne
10/10

Can I go back yet?

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't say, at least once, Can I go back to Italy? Every day I was in Florence, I fell in love a little bit more. Between the culture I became very familiar with, and the amazing cuisine, I miss Italy so much. With all of my classes being food and wine based, I learned so much and enjoyed my time abroad.

SAI was also great in the aspect of availability, whether it was by email or stopping by the office, they were there to help.

How can this program be improved?
More community excursions to get to know more locals. Also the offered excursions at different times. I missed a few things because of class conflicts.
Yes, I recommend
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Jamie
10/10

Study Abroad with SAI!

I spent Spring 2017 studying abroad in Florence, Italy- the land of pasta, gelato, rich with culture and my favorite city in the world! My decision to study abroad was one of the boldest and life changing experiences of my life. Florence gave me more than the experience of travel for a semester; it gave me perspective that I will carry forever. My study abroad experience in Florence and SAI gave me the opportunity to take the reins on my own journey and experience a once and a lifetime opportunity of travel and learning- something that I could never learn from a textbook or lecture!

Yes, I recommend
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Abbey
9/10

SAI Review

I was overall very impressed with the SAI program when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy! I would definitely recommend SAI to anyone studying abroad due to their professional and prompt manner of handling every aspect of my studying abroad experience. Whenever I had a question or concern they were available to help in any way they could! The weekend trip that was offered free of charge was planned and executed immaculately even though the group was not small! The SAI team is both knowledgeable and experienced in guiding students through the studying abroad experience!

How can this program be improved?
If possible, I would have loved to do another weekend trip with SAI while abroad to get to know the staff even better and others in the program!
Yes, I recommend
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Carly
10/10

Amazing Experience!

I absolutely loved studying abroad in Italy with SAI Programs. They were so helpful when I was preparing to leave and also while I was in Florence. I couldn't be happier with my experience abroad and there's nothing that I would change. I got to travel every weekend around Italy because the train system is so amazing. Italy is the best place to go if you're studying fashion because you can learn so much about the industry in Italy.

How can this program be improved?
They should equip apartments a little better. I showed up and didn't even have any soap to wash my hands.
Yes, I recommend
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Allie
10/10

The Best 4 Months of my Life!!

SAI Florence was a perfect fit! Florence is a relatively small city and I was able to get my bearings rather quickly. The onsite support is incredible and the university was perfect. I took classes from wine tasting to sustainable tourism and more. The University fits almost any major needing a few classes and fun electives as well. They took us wine tasting in Tuscany, and a trip to Milan and Lake Como for the Weekend. I loved every minute!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I can think of is more scholarship opportunities!
Yes, I recommend
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Lauren
10/10

Lovely in Tuscany

I absolutely loved my experience with SAI! Living abroad was a life-changing experience and one I would do over a million times. Part of what made SAI so great, was there support and responsiveness throughout the entire experience. The staff really cared about the program attendees and I really felt like I could talk to them. I also really enjoyed the apartment provided by the program, which was extremely chic and had a great location! SAI also provided great excursions, which included, for me, trips to both Bologna and Maremma Islands (which was beautiful!) In terms of classes, I really loved FUA (Florence University of the Arts) and it was amazing to have the ability to go to world famous museums for free with my classes. Overall, I would 100% recommend this program and this city for a fantastic study abroad experience!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I could recommend would be to have some more events with Italian families. Although the school has an Italian family club, it would have been cool to have been automatically paired up with a family before going, since we were not in a homestay. Otherwise, everything about the program was fantastic!
Yes, I recommend
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Evan
10/10

You make it your own. SAI and FUA make that easy.

Picking my study abroad program was a stressful experience for me. Having never left the country, even entertaining the idea was cause for enough anxiety—seeing all of my options, then, made me dizzy. The moment I contacted SAI Programs, however, I was immediately put at ease by their staff, who somehow never got sick of my constant questions. Along with the staff at Mizzou's international office, the people at SAI assured me that the stress was normal, that the experience was exceedingly worth it. They encouraged me through the pre departure process. In mid-2016, I enrolled at Florence University of the Arts through SAI as excited and prepared as I could be. Shakily nervous, too, and I knew that was okay.

When I got to Italy, representatives from both SAI and FUA were there to greet me. SAI told me where to find them, gave me emergency contact info, a list of activities. FUA did much the same, giving me my class information, too. When I arrived at my apartment on Via Fiesolana, it was up to me to explore Firenze -- SAI would be there to support me, FUA there to educate me.

My experience abroad was consistently captivating. The sights I saw, the things I learned, and the atmosphere I lived in will forever coat my mind. The academic experience was like nothing I'd done before ("An Italian Journal" and the one-week "Cultural Introduction to Italy" course, you should take them.) When not in class, I encourage you to immerse yourself in your city -- SAI and FUA both have city walks, cooking classes, and other activities that give context to your Italian home.

Some tips:
- Even for the most eager, learned traveler, the language barrier and cultural differences can be jarring initially. I encourage you to be intrigued by these differences. Listen to the language, observe the habits, practice both. Nothing is quite as gratifying as conducting yourself like a local.
- Go to class and be a sponge. Many of the teachers are Italian, and they'll teach more about the culture than an article ever could.
- Find a trustworthy ATM (called a "bancomat") and take out lumps at a time to avoid constant fees. See the touristy places, definitely, but venture further for your wallet and experience's sake.
- As always, be safe in your explorations. Florence is a safe city, that much is sure, but you should still exercise the caution you would in America -- more, in fact, because you're farther from your home country.

Yes, I recommend
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Miranda
10/10

Summer with SAI

I studied abroad with SAI at Florence University of the Arts this past summer and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am a pharmacy student who was looking for a way to delve into my more artistic side and fulfill my lifelong dream of traveling to Italy. While abroad, I earned 6 credits in the classes of Beginner Italian and Street Photography. The professors at the University were always very friendly and helpful with challenging the students to step outside of our comfort zones and learn the culture of the area. One of my favorite aspects of the classes were the included field trips to smaller towns in Italy that I may not have ventured to on my own. In addition to the amazing professors, the SAI staff was also very welcoming and helpful with any problem I may have encountered. If you choose to study abroad with SAI, you will be making a decision that will positively impact the way you look at travel and life.

Yes, I recommend
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Danielle
10/10

Semester Abroad at FUA

The program that SAI provided while abroad in Florence Italy, could not have been more amazing. They were with you through everything. From the beginning SAI made sure that you were gathering all the materials that you needed to begin your adventure abroad. They provided more than enough information on how to obtain it all as well as they were there to answer any questions. SAI was more than welcoming when I landed in Florence. They had shuttles there to pick us up from the airport and drop us off at our apartments throughout the city.

SAI planned all these excursions and different activities that we could participate in. We took trips to Tuscany and Maremma as well as participated in a book making class. We went on a bike hike through Tuscany too. SAI was there for everything that you would need and I would not have had the experience I did without SAI.

Yes, I recommend
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Lauren
8/10

A Semester of Beauty

My favorite moment abroad in Florence, Italy with SAI Programs was when I had my first day of cooking class at FUA with Vittoria. She was the first part of my experience that made me realize i was truly at an international institution and was about to learn things that I would never be able to learn at home. She made me feel like I was actually in Italy.
The SAI staff was so amazing and helpful and made me feel so comfortable while being so far away from my home back in the US.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Adam
10/10

SAI: A Unique & Once in a Lifetime Experience

I studied abroad in the fall of 2015 through SAI in Florence, Italy. It was absolutely a once in a lifetime experience. SAI helped me every step of the way from settling in, to taking us on trips across Italy. If I had any problems abroad the SAI Florence staff of Regan, Pietro, and Alessandra were there for anything I needed. Also, in Florence I participated in the SAI Global Leadership Program. In that program I was able to volunteer all over florence with organizations such as the Tuscan Cancer Society and UNICEF. SAI gave me the opportunity to gain a different and better experience than the average abroad student in Florence. I am extremely grateful I was able to study abroad with SAI, I would recommend them 10 times out of 10.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to have heard a few recommended places across Europe to go to from the SAI staff. They were extremely helpful on where to go when in Florence and even in places in Italy. However, They did not talk much about where to travel across Europe in other country. They were a great program to have in Florence.
Yes, I recommend
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Halie
8/10

Fashion student goes abroad for the first time!

I studied abroad this past Spring Semester in Florence, Italy through SAI. I ultimately chose this program because they got their start in Italy--specifically Florence--so I knew they had experience and great connections with the city. I also chose this program because they offered a lot of Fashion-specific courses which fit in with my academic major. I loved how most of the FUA professors were not merely academics by trade, but rather experienced professionals in their respective fields. For example, my Fashion Marketing professor was the marketing director of her family's leather goods company and was able to provide a lot of insight, feedback, and suggestions with real world application and relevance. I also liked that our courses were supplemented with out of the classroom field trips, which helped to reinforce what we had learned about in class earlier in the semester. Prior to my study abroad experience, I had never traveled outside the United States so I was very nervous and unsure of myself, but after a few weeks I began to grow more independent and confident in myself. This was especially true, living and studying in a country where English was not the primary language. You have to learn to do your research (especially when traveling in or outside your home country) in advance because you can't rely on the Internet and smart phones the same way you can here! This experience made me appreciate a new culture as well as my own, and helped shed light on global issues and the different global perspectives regarding those issues. Lastly, it allowed me to travel to many different places in and outside of Italy giving me so many memories to last a life time!

How can this program be improved?
I wish they had offered classes multiple times during the week rather than once a week--not only would this have made classes much shorter and easier to sit through, but it would have also made the attendance policy less strict and more conducive to student travel plans. In my situation I had both Monday and Friday classes, but because the attendance policy was so strict (since we met not very often) I was unable to take lengthier trips out of the country.
Yes, I recommend
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Heather
10/10

Living in Art

I cannot emphasize enough how much my semester abroad meant to me. Of course the Italian food and travel options were once in a lifetime, but so were the academics. Being taught by Italian professors in Italian buildings is something that I still cannot grasp that I did. Taking an art class in Florence, with such deep art history, is something that really stuck with me. I did not know much about art, but my professor showed us techniques in the Italian language that I could not have learned in the states. Not only did I learn how to do basic art, but I lived in it. Art was everywhere in this old city. While this art class only transferred back as a core class for me, I am amazed at how such a simple class really changed my perception on certain ideas. Not only did all my classes transfer back as credit to my home university, but the wonderful knowledge transferred back with me as well. SAI did a great job at helping me create a life within the artisan city by always being available and by showing me all the art around me. They were a great resource to use when I felt lost in the city or when I felt like I had seen all Florence had to offer. Their activities not only were created for fun, but indirectly also taught me about appreciation for the art around me.

Yes, I recommend

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About SAI Programs

With headquarters located just north of San Francisco, SAI Programs was founded in 1995 to serve as the US admissions office for an Italian art institute in Florence. Since that time, SAI has expanded into a full-service international education...