Student Testimonials

Pisa"My name is Bianca and I am an Italian major. I had the greatest opportunity of studying abroad in the most beautiful city I have ever seen. I had the ability to immerse myself in this incredibly vibrant culture in many ways. Our different classes allowed us to practice our temporary mother tongue which helped us become comfortable with speaking to new people each and every day. We were given the opportunity to receive the most interactive courses offered at UofT. They were supplemented by class trips to different cities. This took Italian civilization as a topic and turned it into an interactive experience. What better way to learn about famous historical landmarks such as the Pergola theatre than to have a tour of it and watch a performance? Each individual experience shaped my ability to comprehend the lessons taught in class. Also, I was blessed to go to Italy with the most incredible group of individuals. We left UTM as strangers and came home as a family. We were able to help each other ease into the Italian lifestyle and we were a stable support system for one another. Given the opportunity, I would not change a single moment and I would return to the beautiful Florence in an instant." Bianca, Second Year (2014).

 

Ian"There is no getting around the fact that to properly learn a foreign language you have to immerse yourself in a foreign environment. Yet as you improve, the less foreign that language becomes. What makes this program so great is precisely that in all aspects of your experience you become a local yourself. You learn about and participate in italian culture from within rather than from without. What's more, you share this experience of transformation with a select group of other students all equally motivated and equally intimidated, and this shared experience has a way of forming great relationships. In making this commendable commitment to the language, the support and encouragement you receive from the staff and interns means that you have nothing to lose, nothing to fear, and all to gain; which of course is precisely what happens, almost without you realizing it."- Ian, 3rd year (2014).

 

Maria"Il semestre a Firenze è stata un’esperienza che non potrò mai dimenticare! Ho imparato tanto della lingua, della cultura e della storia italiana. Provo sensazioni meravigliose quando parlo questa lingua che, secondo me, è la più bella del mondo. Prima di partire per Firenze, parlavo poco o niente l'italiano. Adesso posso conversare tranquillamente per ore e ore in italiano! Ho scoperto delle cose nuove dentro di me che prima non riuscivo né a capire né a vedere. Non pensavo che mi sarei mai così appassionata alla lingua e alla cultura italiana. Il tempo passato in Italia mi ha fatto capire quanto siano importanti per me le mie origini. Il programma mi ha dato la possibilità di approfondirle e scoprire quante cose belle ci sono in un mondo così vasto. Quando sono tornata in Canada, un pezzo del mio cuore si è spezzato, perché non volevo lasciare un paese che amo e che mi ha insegnato tanto. Non vedo l’ora di tornare di nuovo a Firenze!" - Maria, 4th year (2014).

 

Vanessa"My experience in Florence was one I will never forget. The richness of culture and food was so amazing to experience, and I felt I was able to soak it all in given such a long period of time. Living in a residence and being a student in Florence made me feel like I was a true Italian. My weekly, or sometimes daily visits to the supermarkets and cafes resulted in familiar faces and people who started recognizing me as well. It was a great experience being treated as more than just a tourist by the amazing Italian people. The opportunity to learn such a beautiful language in a beautiful city is such an overwhelming and extraordinary experience. We would learn new words and grammar rules in class, and follow it by a conversation with native speaker, where we could use those same skills. One thing I enjoyed the most was experiencing such a different way of life. I adored being able to walk everywhere instead of relying on some sort of transportation, and the daily breaks between 2-4 throughout the entire city gave the place a very relaxed and laid back feel. This experience is one that I would not have traded for the world and I hope to one day return to beautiful Italy." - Vanessa, 2nd year (2013).

 

Olivia"My semester abroad in Florence is like no other experience I've had in my life because it was a truly all-encompassing academic, cultural, and social adventure. The most important benefit I derived from the program was a clear improvement in my oral abilities in Italian. Despite being exempted from the grammar course, I was required to speak exclusively in Italian both inside and outside of the classroom, which provided for true immersion and allowed me to explore vocabulary, colloquial and idiomatic expressions, and complex verb tenses which I do not otherwise have an opportunity to practice at home. I was also lucky enough to make the most of what Florence has to offer in completing my studies by using the resources of the Biblioteca Nazionale and libraries at Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, our host institution. The academic component of the Study in Florence program is crucially complemented by trips outside of the classroom, in which we see other nearby cities (like Livorno and Lucca) with great cultural significance, as well as hidden gems of Florence (like the mercato at Le Cascine). My friends and I also took the Study in Florence program as an opportunity to travel around Europe and Italy. Florence and other European cities are so vibrant and geared towards accommodating international students. On top of all this, our program coordinators, Prof. Lettieri and Rosa, did everything they could to ensure our comfort and help us with our studies! I count myself very lucky to have received U of T credits from this specially-tailored program while having the time of my life in one of the world's most beautiful cities!"- Olivia, 3rd year (2012).

 

Neena"My name is Neena and I'm a 3rd year Language Studies major. Last year I went to Florence for 2 months to study Italian. I saw this program as an opportunity to gain credits while being able to travel. Different situations will always be part of new experiences but there is a lot more to take away from those situations than you think. This study abroad did wonders for my proficiency in Italian and gave me an opportunity to experience an entirely new culture. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain." - Neena, 3rd year (2012)