SAI Programs: Study Abroad at FUA in Florence

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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 59 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 31 - 45 of 59
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Andrea
10/10

Trip of a lifetime!

I ended up living off of tomatoes, mozzarella and baguettes with balsamic vinegar because I would eat it twice a day! My roommates were addicted, as well! Make sure you're aware of how delicious mozzarella cheese is in Italy and plan accordingly (save money just for mozzarella balls)!

How can this program be improved?
Overall, I loved the program so much that I wouldn't want to change anything, but I would have loved to have more excursions! Maybe add more in the future.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Makenna
10/10

Study Abroad in Florence!

Florence is an amazing city and it is full of Italian culture and history. It was so cool to walk through the same streets as such influential people. I traveled a lot in my time and I think that was really important to my study abroad experience. With that said it was really important to me to find a balance between traveling, studying, and exploring Florence. Overall my experience was amazing and I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone!

How can this program be improved?
More sponsored trips
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tanyssa
10/10

Abroad in Firenze

The first few days were difficult, but once a student gets involved in school and social events the experience becomes so much better! Those who did not enjoy all of their experience in Florence did not seek friends and involvement on campus. I personally enjoyed simply participating in the ABS class in the gym with the soccer coach and other school related activities which helped me meet other students and friends. The program was great, academics were a breeze compared to my liberal arts school back home but I still learned so much from my professors! They will be mentors for life and great to keep in touch with. Housing was good and nice and close to school (right next to Santa Croce).

Yes, I recommend this program
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Anne
9/10

Florence, Italy

I traveled through SAI to Florence, Italy. I really enjoyed my time and my class schedule was not overwhelming at all. It turned out that I only had classes three days a week so I had a lot of time to explore around Florence, Italy, or other places. I thought I was going to have trouble with the length of the classes (2.5 hours once a week) but it worked out really well for me. The SAI staff was also very helpful to me. If I ever went to their office with questions I would always leave with more knowledge and satisfaction because they were so pleasing to work with. I think the best part of my experience was just walking passed all of the attractions and beauty of Florence, especially on a day like walking to class; it could really boost up your spirits. Florence being in the region of Tuscany is a major plus. The landscape is beautiful around Florence and is great to explore. The biggest struggle I found when I was in Florence is having the time to see everything! There was so much I wanted to see in Italy and also other countries. Time just flew by!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Julia
10/10

Wonderful Semester!

I had a wonderful semester, and absolutely loved studying in Florence.
My one regret was there were no Italian students and it was difficult to make Italian friends.
Otherwise, I highly recommend this program! The staff was friendly and helpful, and Florence is a wonderful city!

How can this program be improved?
Increased opportunity to interact with the Florentine community and get to know Italians.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tori
10/10

A Summer of Adventure!

I absolutely loved my time studying abroad with SAI Programs at Florence University of the Arts. Prior to my departure, the staff aided me with whatever questions or concerns I had, and made sure I felt prepared for the journey that awaited me. As soon as I Arrived, I met my three roommates, who thanks to the housing survey, were the perfect fit for me! We became fast friends, and I immediately felt at home in this big city. The Orientation was also helpful, allowing us to meet other SAI students, and to get to know the SAI staff. The staff is amazingly kind, understanding, and willing to help out in whatever way they can. At no point did I feel confused, unsupported, or scared; the SAI staff made me feel right at home! On top of that they provided great recommendations for restaurants, gelato, and things to do around the city.
My time at FUA was unlike any other. I took beginning Italian and Introduction to Art History, two classes that couldn't be taught anywhere better than in Florence! My teachers were very nice, wanted to get to know us as students, and understood our desire to experience all the city had to offer! The course load was definitely manageable, and we were constantly being immersed into the subject area we were practicing. Whether it was interviewing local shop owners or ordering our food in Italian, or even visiting museums filled with works by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the learning never ended in a city rich with culture.
The apartments were also really nice. Mine was in the neighborhood part of the city, which I loved. There was a little coffee and pastry shop right next to our apartment and every morning my roommates and I would order an espresso. The man at the register knew very little English, so we were forced to practice our Italian. Due to our daily routine of ordering coffee, we became fast friends with the man and his wife even though a language barrier existed. I enjoyed getting the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture in such an authentic way, free from tourists.
I also loved going on the FUA excursions and enjoyed times in Pisa, and Cinque Terre that were filled with activities led by our professors! There was also plenty of time to travel on the weekends which provided for a summer filled of adventuring!
I met so many amazing people through the SAI program, and loved every moment traveling together, taking in the view from Piazza Michelangelo, and enjoying huge dinners of pizza, pasta, and wine! I would recommend the SAI program to anyone; as they gave me an experience I will never forget and supported me unconditionally along the way!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kayla
10/10

My Summer Abroad

I chose this program because I knew I wanted to be in Florence, and they offered classes that sounded interesting to me. I went for 7 weeks during the summer of 2014. I took the cultural introduction week, which I highly recommend because it was a perfect transition into life abroad in a smaller-group setting, and it gives you a feel for the culture before settling down into one place. Once in Florence, I took the history of Italian renaissance and wine culture in Italy, both of which I really enjoyed. Both classes had engaging field trips, and in my wine class, we had a tasting in almost every class! As far as outside of school, I became really close with other people in my program and also my roommates. We traveled almost every weekend since I only had classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I went not only places within Italy like Rome and the Amalfi Coast, but also to Prague and Croatia (definitely check out Bus2Alps for easy and cheap weekend trips). Overall I had the summer of my life, and I would 100% recommend going abroad with SAI.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing is that my apartment wasn't that great compared to other people's, but I wasn't home that much anyways and also the general living conditions in Europe and America are just really different.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Devin
10/10

Best experience!

Studying abroad in Florence through SAI was the best decision I have made! The staff was incredibly helpful and the school building locations were in easy to find areas. SAI was there to make the study abroad experience even more incredible by taking us on excursions through other parts of Italy and aiding students in becoming immersed with the community. If I have the chance to study abroad again through SAI I would definitely do it all over again! Great city, great staff, and an overall amazing experience!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Katharine
9/10

Great Program

SAI does a really fantastic job of helping you plug into the local community. They love Florence and love helping students discover it. Whether you need travel tips, local hangouts, or your lightbulbs changed on your impossibly high ceilings, they're there for you.

How can this program be improved?
A few extra organized programs or events at the beginning while you're figuring out the city would be helpful. It's a good growing experience to figure it out yourself, but it can be a little overwhelming.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Stephanie
10/10

The Best Four Months

Studying abroad with SAI Florence was the most amazing and memorable experience of my life. I traveled to many countries and also had the opportunity to explore Italy. I loved exploring Florence the most because there were always new places to go and sites and museums to visit. I am from the suburbs and also go to a small college so I am not used to city life, but I absolutely loved exploring on my own and through this I became more comfortable traveling and doing things independently. I did travel with SAI on one weekend trip which was very organized and informative. Through studying abroad, I did meet many other American students who became travel buddies and lifelong friends (some of which were my roommates). I did appreciate that SAI did set up gatherings for students to get to know each other. I only went to one or two, but it was still nice to know that it was an option. I could literally write pages about how incredible my experience was in Florence (and I did keep a journal and blog which is useful). I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go and explore other cultures and I highly recommend SAI to anyone considering going abroad!

How can this program be improved?
I think that the communication could be improved with SAI and the students. A man would come to repair things in our apartment and we had no idea that he would be coming. We never got a warning so at first we were very nervous to let a man who did not speak english into our apartment. I also would have liked for more weekend trips to be offered, although the day trips were good too.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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
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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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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...