My friends and I in front of the Vatican City in Rome with our scooters.

One piece of advice I would give to someone going into this program is to make sure you spend your free time wisely. You will have class Monday-Friday from 8:30 am- 5:30 pm with a three-hour lunch break as lunch is a leisurely activity in Italy. I suggest focusing on your studying during the lunch break. You won’t need to spend your entire lunch break every day studying, but this is a better time for you to do it as you don’t want to have to worry about it in the evening before or after dinner. On the days that you do not study during your break, take a nap because you will definitely need it. The exam each week will be held at 8:30 am on Saturday morning then you have the rest of the day and all of Sunday to travel and sightsee. If you’re like me and this is probably the only time you’ll be able to go to Italy, then I recommend taking advantage of these free weekends to see as much as you can of Italy with the little time that you have. For the first weekend, we went to Venice to take in the views that we’ve only seen in pictures, and it was just as beautiful as we had thought it would be. We walked all around the city, while taking breaks for some water or a refreshing lemon soda. The second weekend we went to Florence and just explored different museums and markets spread throughout the city. We sat at a rooftop bar taking in the breathtaking views of the duomo and the little Italian villages. Traveling was pretty easy to do because we took trains everywhere we went and walked the rest of the trip (you’ll get your steps in while away). We would hop on the bus or get a driver to take us from Cortona to the train station right after our exam on Saturday and come back late Sunday night. On the last day of our program, we travelled from Cortona to Rome and only had half the day to explore Rome and all it had to offer. Therefore, we rented electric scooters to ride all around Rome to see everything we wanted in half the time as everyone else. I highly recommend doing this as this was the most efficient (and more fun) way to see everything leaving us with time to relax and enjoy our last few hours together. It is important to make the most of your time to ensure that you see everything you’d like.