My daughter has an opportunity to spend 12 weeks in Europe for a study abroad program with her university. She has narrowed her choices down to 3 cities. Which city do you think would be the best to live and study in and why? Athens Greece, Sienna Italy or Macerata Italy (approx. 143 miles east of Sienna). Switzerland is the only European country she has been to.
My son is trying to see if he can go next summer for 5 weeks to Rome to study.
I think it is a wonderful way to experience a new culture.
Where she would like to go would depend on her tastes.
May be if she reads about the places, she might find one culture more interesting than the other.
Athens is a big city with some big city problems but there is so much to learn there. Siena is a great place too. There is a lot of history there. My son's program will have field trips to Florence and some other places and her University might offer that too.
I have not been to Macerata but it sounds like a small town in Tuscany and those can be very quaint.
In the end it would depend on the program offered, cost of living and interset in the culture. Hope this helps.
I think Athens is the least desireable of those three places. I was in Athens in 2005. Athens is a very big and very noisy and very stressful city. The experience of riding in the underground trains in Athens is stressful. I could not imaging any person wanting to be in Athens for 12 months. Being there for two days, as a tourist, can be a rich cultural experience. But 12 weeks, No. Being in a suburb of Athens might not be unpleasant. And, the spoken Italian language sounds more pleasant than the spoken Greek language. And, in Athens many citizens of Greece hate the United States of America, and they hate Americans. A Greek young man in Athens told me that 15 % of Greek people hate Americans. Many Greeks are agressive.
In Italy, I think the percentage is lower than that.
And, Italy has better art. A person at Sienna could visit Florence to see the paintings and white marble sculpture there, and the architecture ! Living on an island of Greece could be pleasant, but not Athens.
Speaking as someone who works with a college study abroad office . . .
It's also important to consider the quality of the programs at each site. What support services are available? What are the accommodations? And, most importantly, as noted above, what are her interests? These are questions that should be directed to the study abroad office at her university. The staff or faculty in charge of the programs should be able to answer these questions. If it's an outside provider (that is, if the university contracts with someone else to provide the serveces), find out what the provider's reputation is. Call and talk to the program representative at the provider's office.
Some students choose to study abroad because of the program offered, and others choose to study abroad because of location. If she is only interested in location I would suggest Siena because it is well serviced by both train and bus line making weekend trips very easy. In Athens, her weekend-getaway choices would be more limited, and more expensive due to ferry/flight costs.
I haven't been to Macerata so I can't weigh in on the pros/cons of studying there. I would just advise that she checks out what type of transportation Macerata has for getting away on the weekends.
Regardless of where she ends up, she should make sure the program she will attend suits her--will it provide free time on evenings/weekends? does it cover room/board? does it include any sightseeing trips, or offer trips for additional costs? will she actually like what she will be studying while abroad? Encourage her to find the right balance of great location and enjoyable studies & she will have a great time!