Here's what you get when you study abroad with CEA in Florence:
Living with a local family allows you to learn so much about the Florentine lifestyle —and Italian family life in general —that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. A homestay will likely mean built-in friends, and will definitely mean that you won’t have to worry about what to make for dinner, how much you’re spending on food, or how you’re going to make your next meal both balanced and delicious! A homestay experience enhances your study abroad experience. Homestays are located in apartments either inside or outside Florence’s historical city center. While public transportation may offer a quicker way to school, you will still be within walking distance of the CEA Florence Center and the partner university.
Don’t worry about needing to speak perfect Italian before moving in with an Italian family: our host families are chosen for their interest in learning about you and your culture, and many have a working knowledge of English, too. While some families are empty-nesters, we do privilege younger families: both offer you an important connection with the Florentine community.
The homestay option will not hinder your freedom with a curfew, and you can even choose to live with a friend of your choice!
The additional fee covers the cost of your meals with your host family, and is nearly the equivalent of what students in standard CEA housing will pay separately for groceries and eating out (minus the fuss!).
While CEA highly recommends that you choose one of our Florence housing options provided, you also have the option to arrange independent housing. If your ideal housing scenario includes living in a particular neighborhood, having specific amenities or living with a specific person as your roommate, then independent housing could be just the ticket for you.
Use the online housing application form to request permission for this option no later than the application closure date. If your request is approved, you will receive a rebate for your housing payment, however CEA will not provide you with any assistance setting up independent housing. Keep in mind, rebates are not granted to students who move out of their CEA housing or choose to pursue independent living arrangements after the application closure date.
Get out and explore! Excursions are offered for most semester, year, and summer programs*. Semester students are typically offered between two to three excursions and summer study students are typically offered between one to two excursions. You’ll receive a calendar of excursions during orientation. Here are examples of excursions we have offered most recently.
*In an effort to offer lower-cost internship options and support you in maximizing your professional development in a condensed timeframe, summer internship programs do not include excursions.
A fusion of ancient, baroque, and modern architecture, tradition and the cutting-edge, Rome has been a center of power, culture, and religion for millennia. CEA guides bring you to must-see sites, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. Rome truly has something to offer everyone and more-than lives up to its nickname: “The Eternal City.” (Overnight trip)
On this overnight excursion to Turin, explore royal palaces and the Cinema Museum, wander through Europe’s second-largest collection of Egyptian artifacts, and indulge in decadent gianduia chocolate. Located in the Piedmont region, Turin was the first capital of Italy in the 1860s. Today, the city is a center of industry and engineering; FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino), Italy’s proud every-man car manufacturer, was founded here. (Overnight trip)
Sorrento, Pompeii and Amalfi
We pack in a lot on this three-day tour, helping you discover a bit of Italy’s southern heritage and culture. Spend a morning exploring the ruins of Pompeii, a Roman city preserved under lava since 79CE, and the afternoon hiking along the coast of Sorrento in lemon groves. The Campania region of Italy is known for its cuisine, and CEA will take you off the beaten path to a farm to taste the best cheese in the world: fresh buffalo mozzarella. We complete our weekend with a few hours on the beach in Amalfi before heading back to Florence. (Overnight trip)
The Cinque Terre National Park spans 4,300 acres across five picturesque villages (the cinque terre), connected by hiking paths and a train line. The area boasts delicious basil, lemons, and grapes. Spend a day hiking or at the beach, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the breathtaking stretches of beautiful coastline. Your Instagram followers will be green with envy! (Day trip)
One of Italy’s most picturesque and international medieval cities, Siena is home to well-preserved Gothic architecture and is the birthplace of one of Italy’s patron saints. Siena may be best known for its annual summer horse races, whose origins go back to the 1300s (Remember the horseracing scene in James Bond’s “Quantum of Solace”?). (Day trip)
Bologna is best known for its medieval towers, porticoed streets, and hearty cuisine. It’s also home to Europe’s oldest university, founded in 1088. We will tour the university’s main historical building and its Anatomical Theater, where the first autopsies were performed to train doctors in a university setting. We will treat you to a group lunch before you have time to explore Bologna on your own. (Day trip)
In magical Venice, sun reflects off the canals that serve as city streets. A visit to the ethereal Church of San Marco will present Venice as a crossroads, where East meets West and beauty flourishes. Here it's impossible not to get lost… but simply embrace it, as Venice offers something surprising and unique at every turn. (Overnight trip)
Italian Cooking Class
Prepare a multi-course meal with your friends with instruction from a professional chef. Your hard work will pay off as you enjoy your culinary creations for dinner! This lesson keeps on giving: you will be able to recreate this meal for years to come, savoring the flavors of Italy no matter where you are in the world. Tutti a tavola!
Spend a summer afternoon in the rural outskirts of Florence. Surrounded by farm animals and the green hills of Chianti, a master basket weaver and his family will teach you how to craft your own traditional basket, a.k.a. the perfect souvenir of your Italian adventure.
Artisanal Paper Workshop
Florence is world-renowned for its luxury paper products; lucky for you, local artisans are happy to share their techniques and know-how. A master craftswoman will help you create a handmade paper box or journal to remind you of your time in Florence.
Insider’s Florence – Tours and Conversation Opportunities
It can be easy to skim the surface of Florence… but we want you to dig deeper to discover more of our city’s spaces, stories, history and reality. Authorized guides take you to places off the beaten path to see and experience the real Florence and organized meetings with locals will help you learn about its citizens.
Your academic performance in Florence is of great importance to us. To ensure that you have as many resources available as possible, this tour is designed to familiarize you with Florence’s libraries. Pull out your books and join your local peers at the library!
Volunteering Program: CEA C’È
In Italian, CEA C’È is pronounced “chay-ah chay” and means “CEA is there.” Our name for this award-winning volunteer program expresses the goals of this initiative: to be there, to support, and become a part of the local Florentine community that hosts you.
By participating in an individual or group volunteer opportunity, you will enjoy a deeper connection to the local culture and people, profoundly enhancing your experience abroad. Speak to CEA Florence staff while on-site to find the right volunteering “fit” for you.
Past examples include:
Speaking Italian with locals is a great way to better your language skills and make new friends. We’ll team you up with Italian peers in a structured setting so you can practice your Italian and help them practice their English.
Living Like a Local
My host family allowed me to experience culture on a new level. It helped my language speaking ability, and I got to experience life as it's lived by the locals. Another perk: my host mom is an amazing cook.