Italy

Forum Nexus

Forum-Nexus was so fun and the best way to go abroad!! Because of covid spiking early in the year, FN decided to stay in 1 country for the summer, but we traveled to multiple cities and it was amazing! I love that the program is (usually) multi-country and multi-city, because you can see so much of the world and experience different cultures. This summer we went to Rome, Florence, Milan, Lake Garda, and Venice. It was so fun and each city was so different. We also were able to go on weekend trips if we wanted and I went to Croatia which was so cool. The professors are so nice and accommodating. Yes, you have school work but it is manageable and they understand that traveling the world and new experiences outside of the classroom are important too. You have the freedom to do what you want in your free-time. The professional visits were also really cool! They are to interesting places like the Gucci Museum in Florence and a gelato factory in Bergamo. The hotels were also super nice and the breakfast was so good too. I traveled with some high school friends and FN accommodated us so we were in a room for 3 every time and we all had a bed, not a cot or anything. Thank you Forum-Nexus for the best summer ever!

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Aug 4, 2022
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

University Studies Abroad Consortium

First off, I 110% recommend attending a study abroad program in Italy, especially in Turin. It is the ideal immersive mix between academics and travel, has many renowned universities, a strong culture and is practically located in the center of Europe. HOWEVER, I STRONGLY caution against attending any USAC study abroad program, and I will outline why below.

Firstly, the program is rather costly, and costs more than a typical semester at any regular university, with very little opportunity for study or financial aid, especially if you go on a program outside your main university.

Secondly, you never know which staff members you will receive based on a certain location, but typically, the highest-ranking of the staff and of the entire consortium tend to be dry, unhelpful, and needlessly and excessively punitive. Your entire academic performance and transcripts for the semesters attended are essentially in the hands of a very strict, indignant, and ultimately unreasonable group of people. For example, if you happen to get sick (as I did, after coming down with a terrible illness) and miss more than one day in any given class, you can expect to get -2% OFF YOUR ENTIRE GRADE! That's right - 2% off the ENTIRE grade, not simply for "attendance" or any other percentage of the grade - this is even including a doctor's note. That's right, you could practically get hit by a bus, not be able to walk, and if you were in the hospital abroad and didn't happen to waddle your way over to class on crutches for an elective course, you can kiss any chance of getting a good grade in that class goodbye.

This example might seem excessive, however, they firmly ensure that there are no exceptions. Beyond that, I personally was denied any recommendation of a grade appeal, actually, the staff told me that there is nothing I can do, and the decision was final. This was ultimately a lie - there was a grade appeal process, and the window for it can close rather quickly, depending on what semester you are attending. USAC wants to put your academic career at risk and are the opposite of advocates for students, simply so they won't have to deal with your complaints. These transcripts go through American universities, so if you were hypothetically a diligent student otherwise, you can expect USAC to absolutely ruin/tarnish your transcript with their draconian policies. Do you really want to pay over $8000 to be treated like this by a place that isn't even a real university?

My main contention is that this type of punishment is practically unheard of in real, reputed universities. I have attended a few universities by way of transfer, and some community colleges. Typically, if ever there is a punishment for attendance, typically it only factors into a portion of the grade (let's say a weight of 10-20% at most). Beyond that, real, reputable universities accept medical forms and other official documents for excused absences. USAC is a consortium, meaning they are their own separate subgroup with their own strange academic system, however, they override any administrative decision made in the universities they contract, so they are the ones who determine the outcome of your grades.

As a caveat, the vast majority of professors I had in this program were amazing and knowledgable. Most of them were highly cultured and educated locals, and I am excluding them from this review. Some staff members are also local, and many are increasingly kind and helpful. This is primarily to warn you about how you will be treated institutionally by USAC.

I went on this program primarily because it was the only one available in this location that was relevant to my line of study. Hopefully, more competition will be created to allow foreigners to travel and study in main hubs in Italy like Turin and Milan, but for now, I would really recommend a program that at least has accountability with a university. That way, if you run into any issues abroad, you are not at the mercy of a consortium with increasingly uncommon academic procedures and a lack of common sense.

I encourage you to deeply research the policies of any study abroad program before attending, and if you really want to be taken care of and represented in a foreign country, choose another program.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Dec 20, 2019
Overall:
4
Support:
2
Value:
4

Academic Studies Abroad

If I hadn't stumbled upon the acronym ASA, I would not be the person typing this review. I would not be as curious, hungry and driven as I now am. I aspire to see as much of this beautiful world as I can, and with ASA I was able to travel to 11 countries, including my host country, Italy. After experiencing the semester of a lifetime and making the most amazing friends who have similar aspirations in life and the same eagerness to travel to new places and meet new people, I look forward to all of the adventures to come. ASA is an organization that provides each student with so much support from the time you fill out the application to as soon as you step off the plane in your host country and all throughout your semester abroad. The individuals who work for ASA are passionate about their job and care so much about students, their well-being and their experience. I don't know who I would be or where I would be if I had selected another provider to study abroad with, but I sure am grateful I chose ASA :)

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Nov 16, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Aug 20, 2018
Overall:
8
Support:
5
Value:
8

Academic Studies Abroad

Program:
Location: Italy
Posted: Apr 5, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Academic Studies Abroad

Program:
Location: Italy
Posted: Apr 5, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteers Network (IVN)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Nov 17, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I volunteered at the refugee project in Italy for my school's practicum for 4 weeks and it was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I went into the program not really having much of an idea of what would be expected of me or what my jobs would entail. I quickly found myself doing things I had no idea I could do, such as teach english and fitness classes (thank god for Google!) My first week in Italy I got my bearings around town and my duties. The second week I began to make connections with the refugees and the locals alike. My third week I really deepened those connections, and my fourth week I began to see all my hard work come together as I saw some of the changes I had made in Camini and the people in it. Overall, the experience was an emotional rollercoaster with many highs and lows. But I'm so glad for the lows because the highs wouldn't have been as high. I made connections with people I never would have had an opportunity to make otherwise, not only with the refugees but with the locals and the other volunteers as well. Camini truly stole a place in my heart and I hope to go back one day.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Aug 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

My experience had its ups and down. The positive parts of this experience involve getting to know volunteers as good friends, meeting people from around the world, and learning new things about yourself through being in a complex environment. The downsides include possible bad roommates, bugs, and heatstroke.
Basically what happens is that the volunteers become good friends with you, almost to the point where you can bond with some of them as if you were family if you luck out and you both are there for similar amount of time. That doesn’t mean that everyone will get along with you, and like any other place out there in the world, there is the possibility of bad roommates. For me, it was just the age difference that showed maturity gaps because I was on average at least 6 years older than the other women in the house I was staying in. If I had been there longer with them in the room, I would’ve requested a room switch, but the universe made it so that I was in a room by myself for most of my trip. I had forgotten that I’m not 18 anymore when I applied for the project, and I think being aware of this stuff is something that is crucial for someone if they are to stay there for a month, for instance.
Depending on where you get placed (work wise), you can get to know the refugees quite well. I enjoyed this part the most because I got to dance with them, eat with them, meet women who spoke 7 languages fluently, and experience many other things. As a woman, I was encouraged heavily right off the bat to work with mostly children in daycare, and I knew right away that it would not be a good fit for me. The people who work in the project are very accommodating and are eager to help you make the most of your experience. Realizing I couldn’t work with the children too much for a number of reasons (attachment being the main reason), I found myself much happier with the adult refugees and when I worked within the library. You become very attached to people in this tiny town because you are around them all the time, and when I got heatstroke, I felt very cared for by everyone despite going through the very un-fun experience of getting sick in a foreign country. There’s also the bugs, which can be beaten with bug spray on at all times. The times I forgot, I regretted it deeply. I came home with around 20 bug bites due to forgetting to put on bug spray for 2 hours on my last day there.
Nevertheless, you really get to experience a community like no other when you go on this trip, and while it isn’t perfect, and by no means a vacation, you leave with memories that make you wonder when you’ll visit again to see how much the town has changed in a couple of years.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Aug 23, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
7

Academic Studies Abroad

As a professor, I loved working with Academic Studies Abroad. On three different study abroad trips, they provided me and my students with excellent preparation for the experience of life and study in another country, as well as the benefit of their extensive experience with all arrangements. Their attention to detail and support made for a memorable and hassle-free time in Italy for all of us. Highly recommended!

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Italy
Posted: Jun 8, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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