SAI Programs: Study Abroad at Florence University of the Arts

Video and Photos

Santa Croce is in view! My apartment, school, and the SAI office in is that area.
Santa Croce is in view! My apartment, school, and the SAI office in is that area.
SIA took us on a boat ride down the Arno, and I was captured in my element. Taking photos!
SIA took us on a boat ride down the Arno, and I was captured in my element. Taking photos!
Fall 2016 program class
Fall 2016 program class
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Wine tour!
Wine tour!
Really enjoyed the welcome dinner at this beautiful location! Such a great introduction to other students abroad!
Really enjoyed the welcome dinner at this beautiful location! Such a great introduction to other students abroad!
Loved seeing all the beauty around Italy including these flowers hanging by the Florence University of the Arts!
Loved seeing all the beauty around Italy including these flowers hanging by the Florence University of the Arts!
Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre

About

SAI invites students to surround themselves with the refined beauty of Renaissance Italy by studying abroad at the Florence University of the Arts (FUA). FUA offers a wide range of courses in English which have been carefully planned and designed keeping with current interests and contemporary subjects including: Literature, Sciences, Business, Economics, History, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, and more.

SAI oversees and coordinates all aspects of student enrollment, including application processing, course selection and credit, visa advising, housing, student health insurance, and transcripts. SAI also provides comprehensive student services, from the moment of application, through the on-site experience, until students return home. In addition to supporting students throughout their stay in Florence, SAI also coordinates a range of activities and excursions throughout the term, including a walking tour of historic Florence, a “survival Italian” language class, and much more!

Highlights
  • Enroll in unique experiential learning courses for hands-on learning
  • Live among Italians in a bustling but manageable city
  • Enjoy SAI's 360° Services

Questions & Answers

I'm not sure about their winter/ summer shorter programs, but their full semester fall classes had around 100-120 when I went and the spring semester is closer to 150+.

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 69 reviews
  • Academics 7.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 16 - 30 of 69
Default avatar
Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Decision

SAI provided me with an incredible experience to encounter culture in a unique way. My accommodations were better than I could have dreamed of: a location on a popular street near the city center with beautiful views and a great amount of space. The classes I took at Florence University of the Arts were captivating and challenging. I was learning about things that fueled my passions and counted towards my degree. My landscape photography course was taught by an accomplished Italian photographer who was eager to share his vast knowledge. The SAI staff gave us optimal opportunities to travel locally and experience underrepresented beauties of Tuscany. This decision to study abroad with SAI in Florence helped me better understand what it means to live fully and simply. I now want to slow down and experience life around me and the cultures surrounding. I can say that I truly appreciate long dinners with good company and have increased my patience and flexibility from my travels.

What would you improve about this program?
The program offered so many opportunities; however, I think it would be beneficial to offer some pre-program budgeting tips including an overestimation for travel strikes, etc.
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Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You'll regret it if you dont

Studying abroad has helped me realize that I want to be able to send myself back to Italy. To be able to go back and revisit my favorite places from when I lived there and explore all the places I haven't yet been. I was blessed to be able to go once, but I cannot wait until I go back. I completely fell in love with the city of Florence. One of my all-time favorite memories from studying abroad was one of the smaller moments there. As it was getting closer to Christmas, Piazza Santa Croce set up the best Christmas markets I have ever seen. Even though I was getting homesick for California, walking through the little market and buying gifts for my family back home will stick with me forever. SAI really helped me in achieving this dream that I have had to go to Italy since I was so young, the experience was truly everything I could have imagined and more.

What would you improve about this program?
The only complaint I or any of my friends had was the apartment heating and plumbing, both of which are difficult fixes due to the old buildings we were living in. They were solved fairly quickly through the program but continuously happened throughout the semester.
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Time of My Life

Studying abroad in Florence was the best host city I could have ever picked. I loved every moment living in such a lively and beautiful place. It was incredible to take classes in the heart of the city and learn about the culture by exploring and interacting with Italian people. SAI Programs was a wonderful program to study with. They were beyond helpful and kind in the class selection process and answering any questions I had while in Florence. They provided cooking classes, bookmaking workshops, day trips, weekend trips, soccer games, and more. They always had something fun to do and genuinely enjoyed working with the students. They were the perfect program for me and I could not have asked for a better study abroad experience.

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cecelia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Favorite thing to do in Florence

My favorite thing to do in Florence was definitely visiting the markets. The San Lorenzo Market is very well known for the outdoor leather market as well as the indoor butchers, fishmongers, and fruit and vegetable vendors where you barter to get the best price on their goods. Upstairs, there is an amazing food court which has anything from pizza, to local Florentine foods like tripe and lampredotto, to fresh pasta. My apartment was very close to the Sant'Ambrogio Market and I would visit there frequently as well. This market was much smaller and many more locals visit this market over the more touristy San Lorenzo. This meant less of the vendors spoke English. I have found here that they’re much more apt to give you a better price if you make any effort to speak Italian. After bartering at either of these markets, the price of your groceries ends up to be much less expensive, as well as much more fresh than what you would pickup from your local Conad or Coop!

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Courtney
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Decision!!

SAI made going abroad really wonderful. So much was included in the program cost such as health insurance, housing, tuition, and airport transportation. This alleviated a lot of stress and additional costs. My favorite thing about SAI programs, which sets them aside from other programs, was all of the included activities such as a weekend trip, cooking classes, futbal games, and so much more. SAI was wonderful answering any questions I had during the study abroad process and I would highly recommend!

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Holly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a Lifetime

There are not enough words to sum up my study abroad experience but I will try! It was the most life-changing, eye- opening, amazing experience of my life. To have the opportunity to live within a different culture for three and a half months was truly magnificent. I learned so much from all the people I met and the places I visited. Studying abroad has made me realize what exactly I want from life. Since returning from Florence, I have continued to travel and explore new places and upon graduating I plan to move back to Europe!

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

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.

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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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)

Read my full story
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Anne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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!

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Abbey
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!
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Carly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
They should equip apartments a little better. I showed up and didn't even have any soap to wash my hands.
Default avatar
Allie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I can think of is more scholarship opportunities!
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!
Default avatar
Evan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.