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 49 reviews
  • Academics 7.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 31 - 45 of 49
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Giovanna
10/10

Amazing Experience

I knew I was going to love every second of study abroad going into it, but I never anticipated how attached I would become with Florence by the time I left. SAI had a lot to do with me feeling so comfortable in a foreign city. My apartment was in one of the best locations, a few streets over from Santa Croce, and happened to be an old Palace. The walls and arched ceilings were covered with orginal fresco paintings which made it seem like I really took a step back in time. When i look back on it, I can't believe I got to live in such a beautfiul historic building. In general, SAI was extremely accommodating and gave a great introduction to Florence with recommendations on travel information, where to buy groceries, shops and places to eat out.

Something that I strongly recommend if you study with SAI is take advantage of their free excursions offered. These include weekend trips but also day trips-for example, a spa day or a visit to the chocolate festival. There are limited spots so make sure you sign up early! I still reminisce about the Giglio Island trip that was absolutely stunning, truly one of Italy's hidden gems. I also loved the wine tasting trip that was located in the hills of Tuscany.

I really wish I could experience it all over again for the first time. It's insane how fast your time over there goes by. A year later and I still think about it every single day. Luckily, I documented my four months in Florence so I wouldn't forget a single moment. From pictures to videos but also by saving little everyday things for my scrapbook (From the San Lorenzo market, of course!). Everything from the culture, food, shopping and people made me fall in love with my new home. So much, I tried to extend my stay!

How can this program be improved?
To offer more spots for excursions so more people can experience these trips and travel to places they would normally not see own their own.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caleb
10/10

FUA with SAI is the best!

From the moment I chose to study abroad with SAI, they offered nothing but the most excellent help and guidance. They helped me through every step of the study abroad preparation process. At Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy, I experience a type of education that had just enough familiarity to the way the subjects were taught in America, while also having a different international feel. SAI also put on many non-academic trips that offered a chance to see more of Europe and to build bonds with the other SAI students. Even if you don't choose to study at FUA, I would definitely choose to study abroad with SAI!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Caroline
10/10

There is no place I'd rather be

Florence is the greatest, smallest largest city. Coming from a New Yorker who likes her cities I can assure you Florence is where I felt right at home. It's not too big and overwhelming but not too small so you feel trapped. There is always something to do whether it is doing the touristy sight seeing attractions or coming upon your new favorite restaurant or even just walking/biking off the beaten path. I will never forget biking across the Pointe Vechio, through the gorgeous Bobli gardens and eating my way through Florence. My favorite pass time was grabbing a small espresso in a Piazza or a Gusta Pizza and sitting in the square listening to the Italians speak to one another and watching all of Florence walk by. I felt safe and I felt comfortable but most of all I felt myself becoming excited about becoming an adult in the world.
Somethings to remember:
The Duomo will forever mesmerize you; don't question it just let it happen. It's stunning and can be seen from most streets so when in doubt look for the big DOME.
Don't be afraid to look up. The art and architecture throughout Florence is some of the most oldest pieces of work that are some of the influences to great work today.
School is fun. I had some of the best and favorite classes while I was studying abroad in Florence at FUA Florence University of the Arts because we were learning not just in a class room but going on field trips and seeing what we are learning first hand.
Studying abroad was an experience of a lifetime where I was getting an education and expanding my knowledge while also learning more about myself and gaining a greater sense of independence. I can only hope more students will take this leap and see how studying abroad can change your life.

How can this program be improved?
While it is true no program is perfect, I'd argue SAI comes pretty close. However the one thing I would change or add to this program would be a way to find out more from prior SAI students about classes and professors. Students at your own institution will have words of advice that may or may not pertain to the classes you want to take. If SAI could form some sort of data base or listing of all alums or even share ambassadors from a variety of home institutions who would be willing to talk about their class experiences and professors could really help future SAI students plan out their schedule.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kelly
8/10

Semester in Florence

I honestly had a great semester! SAI plans a lot of excursions and really want you to get involved in the community and enjoy your time there. The variety of classes is great and they really try to take advantage of the location with lots of trips/tastings/sight seeing/museum visits/etc. I enjoyed going with a provider program and meeting friends from all over the country/world. I had never really considered Italy for study abroad before, but I'm so glad I picked it. It's the perfect blend of history, art, culture, language, and food! Florence in particular feels like it's straight out of a story book. The city itself isn't very "nature-y" but there's lots of green to be found if you look in the right places. The SAI office in the US is very helpful in the planning and preparation part of study abroad - I'd give them a 9/10, whereas I would give the staff actually in Florence and 6 or 7/10.

How can this program be improved?
Communication and organization could definitely be improved. I contacted SAI about seeing a counselor while abroad (they have a few they regularly work with) and it took several emails and showing up to the office multiple times to get a response.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Laura
10/10

Very Pleased :)

SAI, has been very helpful from the beginning to end. I'm currently studying abroad an am enjoying every minute of it! They are a home away from home, they know how to help and are always available! Study abroad in Florence and do it through SAI!

How can this program be improved?
Classes could be more challenging!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maggie
10/10

Awesome Experience

The summer program in Florence was fantastic. Not only did I have a great chance to study Italian, but I also became immersed in the Italian culture. I highly recommend the one week "Cultural Introduction to Italy". It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about Italy. The teachers were very good making my classses easy.

How can this program be improved?
The website was cumbersome to navigate at times.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Catherine
10/10

Best way to see Florence

This program was so great! It took all the stress out of studying abroad, as they take care of everything. The apartments were pretty nice, especially for college kids and especially for Europe! They had some issues, but that has to be expected in old buildings. The staff worked hard to fix everything quickly! The staff was readily available from the application process until checkout and were always lovely and helpful. I would recommend this program to any of my friends!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kathryn
10/10

wow

This was the best decision. I loved every bit of Florence. Our apartment didn't have hot water for over half of the trip and our toilet would break every other day but it was the experience that we were there for and I wouldn't have changed a single thing. I can't wait to come back to Italy and see all the things and places that I didn't get to before.

How can this program be improved?
For a class we had to have a certain wardrobe for an event that we were required to take part in and it would've been nice to know beforehand so that I wouldn't have to spend money on clothes that I would only wear one day.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alyssa
10/10

Semester Abroad

I greatly enjoyed my time at FUA with the SAI program. It was a semester I will never forget! Great time, great people, great city!! The staff is helpful and very nice. They plan excursions that are really fun . . .I wish I could have gone on all of them.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Brandon
10/10

Great experience

I am a 38 year old redirecting my life and found a new start at FUA. Thanks to FUA, I am on my way to starting a new career with a bright future. I would recommend any student looking to travel and study abroad or anyone looking for a fresh start to try FUA program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Claire
9/10

SAI- GREAT at what they do

Study abroad is really what you make it, however, with the resources, activities, advice and various other services SAI provides, you are much more likely to make it the experience of a lifetime. There is no doubt that SAI made my time in Florence more comfortable. The staff will become your family and they really do go above and beyond to help ( they pretty much planned a week trip to Greece for me and a friend). They will help you with all your questions, problems, or concerns about being abroad that make you feel better about going off into the world. You will have bad experiences ( we lost heat/ hot water in the cold for 5 days and lost internet several times ) but really you cant avoid them, Study Abroad Italy in Florence was still the best experience of my life hands down.

How can this program be improved?
Our room situation was not the best. We where in a very loud area and I had to sleep with headphones in.
Also I feel like I got ripped off with Student Cells, there are better plans out there.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Brittany
10/10

1 Year Wine Student

Everything was great. Being a wine student in a extraordinary wine area was fantastic. If you are going to be bold and study abroad, you should study for at least 2 semesters. This will give you a chance to travel, explore, and actually learn something. Overall, my experience was great.

How can this program be improved?
Instead of the wine career students having to complete internship hours at Ganzo for the second semester, they should be able to complete internship hours at a winery. This would create real world exclusives and practice for us students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sanjana
10/10

Best Four Months of My Life

I had the most wonderful four months of my life in the heart of Renaissance. The art, history, food, wine, people and culture have opened my eyes to a whole new world. I can't wait to be back in Firenze! A big thank you to all the members of SAI for making our stay so comfortable and fun!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Emily
10/10

Best Decision Ever

I was the first person from my college to attend an SAI program. I did not have much background on the program going in, but all SAI staff members were very helpful and made me feel very safe and informed throughout the whole process. I chose SAI: Florence for the location (a dream city), course options (I was looking for fun cultural classes, like Italian cooking!), and the fact that FUA's academic calendar still allowed my to make it home in time to walk at my graduation.

During my time in Florence, I discovered many reasons why I would (and do) recommend this program to everyone. 1) The SAI Staff has thought of everything. Part of moving to a different country is the inherent fear of the unknown, but rest assured that the SAI staff is experienced, qualified, and have already addressed the concerns you don't even know you have yet. 2) The friends I made, especially my 3 roommates, are my friends for life. Together we shared our most life-changing experiences to date. I don't know how SAI chooses housing assignments, but they sure did a great job. 3) Our apartment was better than I could have dreamed. The 4 of us girls lived on the other side of the Arno river (arguably further from the city center than most students), but I absolutely loved the residential feel of the neighborhood. We got to experience both the big-city and small-town feels Florence has to offer. Also, being further away from the Duomo meant our apartment was huge! It was un-Americanized, for which I am very thankful; the true Italian nuances to our old apartment added to the entire experience. 4) Everything is within walking distance. One of the greatest disappointments I had when coming back home was realizing I had to drive to the grocery store. I miss the little Il Centro market around the corner. 5) The extra trips and activities offered by the program allowed me to make the most of my time there. I also utilized Florence4Fun and Eruo Adventures for weekend trips and spring break. There may never be another time in your life to travel as freely as you can while studying abroad, so take advantage of every opportunity to make lasting memories.

A few difficulties I encountered: 1) For the first month I was unintentionally using fabric softener instead of laundry detergent and coffee creme instead of regular milk for my cereal. Thank goodness for Google Translate, but learning experiences like these make for great stories. 2) You can spot an American from a mile away. While I wouldn't normally advise this, try your best to blend in. 3) Like many students, I got sick a lot while abroad. But SAI connected me with a great English-speaking doctor in the city who prescribed me the same medication I could get at home. 4) If you live in Italy for more than 2 months, you will gain weight and that's okay. Please don't be like some girls in my program and try to diet while in the food capital of the world. This is your free pass - eat all the pasta and gelato you possibly can.

Choosing to study in Florence through SAI was the best decision I could have made. I absolutely recommend this program to everyone - there is no way you could regret it.

How can this program be improved?
I would make the extra-curricular activities, such as the sports nights and workout classes, available to more people. I know space is limited but I made the closest friendships with people I was able to hang out with outside of class. Its easy to feel isolated when you are in a strange place, so creating as many opportunities to get involved is important.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lindsey
10/10

SAI Florence

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy Spring Semester 2014. I could not have asked for a better experience or program. SAI is truly amazing, there staff is the sweetest and extremely helpful, and they take you on some awesome trips as well. If you're looking to study abroad, definitely look at programs through SAI!! :)

Yes, I recommend this program

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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...