SAI Programs: Study Abroad at Florence University of the Arts

Video and Photos

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
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.
Wine tour!
Wine tour!
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
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!
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!
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

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 68 reviews
  • Academics 7.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 46 - 60 of 68
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Kayla
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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!

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Katharine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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!

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

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!

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

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!

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Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Kelly
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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!

What would you improve about this program?
Classes could be more challenging!
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Maggie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
The website was cumbersome to navigate at times.
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Catherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Kathryn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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.

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Brandon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Claire
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.