Syracuse University in Florence
Students studying through this program can choose from three avenues of study depending on their proficiency in Italian. Courses can be taken exclusively at the SUF campus, partly at the SUF campus with additional intensive language and cultural studies at the Centro di Cultura per Stranieri - Università di Firenze, or solely and directly through the University of Florence. Housing in this program differs in accordance to academic focus, placing students in either homestays or apartments. All arts and sciences students are automatically placed in homestays, with architecture and studio art majors as the exceptions. The SUF campus is a five-building compound ten minutes from the city center by foot. In addition to its teaching facilities, the campus provides students with a computer lab, a library, and a scenic garden. In the interest of student integration and cultural education, SUF organizes internships for students upon request, as well as volunteer opportunities. There are no language requirements for this program, but a 3.0 GPA or higher is necessary in order to qualify.
Further info can be found at:http://www.syr.fi.it/
While the Italian and Art History classes were very worthwhile, do not go expecting to be academically challenged. The students are from universities all over the country and the professor seem to have adapted their requirements to the less demanding ones. Art History was definitely a plus, with weekly sight visits, looking assignments and weekend field trips around the country. Avoid taking classes that require a great deal of paper writing if you are not bringing your own computer, as I often waited in line for over an hour to use the computers in the lab since there was an insufficient numbers of computers for academic work. I also did not find many of the professors very approachable and the classes were very grade-oriented. However, they also offered an internship program which I found very valuable. I received academic credit through an internship where I taught English to Italian high school students; this aspect I found to be the most academically rewarding. Housing and food were superb, though I learned that it varied from family to family. Of the two options, host family or apartment, the host family is definitely the way to go. My friends who lived in apartments learned very little Italian, where I lived with a family who spoke very little English. Intimidating at first, but well worth any discomfort. The school is in a beautiful "villa" just outside the city center, and the city is, of course, amazing. This experience made me realize what a special school Reed is academically, but it also allowed me to escape the redundancy of the bubble for a while and see what else is out there.