Should you study abroad for a summer or a semester?


Upward Bound students taking a tour through Florence.

Alyse Rohloff

Kent State students have the opportunity to study abroad at Kent State’s Florence, Italy, campus for either a summer or a semester, and there are several elements to consider in deciding how long they want to study abroad.


The Florence Summer Institute is a 30-day program that leaves at the beginning of June and returns at the beginning of July.

“A con is you’re going to want more time at the end of the trip,” said Sara Schempp, a senior integrated language arts major who participated in the summer institute.

For a semester in Florence, students start class the same day classes start at Kent State’s main campus. According to the Office of Global Education, the Fall 2015 semester will start August 31 and end December 13.

“I could never image just going to Italy for a month. My month shot by. I felt like it was (a) month when I finally felt comfortable there,” said Brian Castelucci, a senior fashion merchandising major who spent his Fall 2014 semester in Florence.


For the Florence Summer Institute, students pay for the cost of six or seven credits based on the cost of in-state or out-of-state tuition. Students must also pay for their flight, housing and program fee. The average total cost ranges from about $6,000 to $9,000.

Students pay normal tuition fees when taking a semester-long trip, which range from $5,000 to $9,000 depending if students are in-state or out-of state. Students must also pay the program fee, airfare, international health insurance, housing and a field trip fee. This can range from $14,000 to $18,000 depending on in-state or out-of-state.

These prices do not include a student’s personal money for food, travel and other expenses.

Castelucci, who was able to have his parents financially support the rest of his trip, spent around $8,000 of his own money on personal expenses; this included groceries, eating out, traveling and shopping.

“In order to save money, you need to have a budget and stick with that budget,” said Ediz Kaykayoglu, assistant director of education abroad for the Office of Global Education. “Because if you can do that, then that way you will be able to save enough money in your pocket,” 


For both programs, students are given free reign to travel as they please. Students typically have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to travel, Castelucci and Schempp said.

“It was very rushed (to travel out of the country), so I just wanted to see as much of Italy as I could,” Schempp said.

Schempp used her four weekends to take guided tours of Siena, Venice and Cinque Terre, as well as visit family in Rome.

“It was really cool because you met people (from) different colleges that spoke English and took these tours as well, but they were in a different location of Florence,” she said. “So I kind of just made friends every time I went on the bus to go. It was great.”

Castelucci used his 15 weekends to visit more than 20 different cities, from London to Dublin to the Amalfi Coast.

“I feel like I could live there for my whole life and not see everything,” Castelucci said. “I wish I had more time.”


During the summer institute, students can take six or seven credit hours.

Schempp took two communications classes, including The Genius of Florence, which takes students around the city to learn its culture.

“When you’re in Florence, you can actually go out and see things instead of being in the classroom,” Schempp said. “So you go places, and they ask you questions about what you’re seeing, and you take notes…. They more so wanted you to see everything and participate when you are at the locations.”

Students traveling for a semester take 12 or more credits. They are able to take classes for their major, if they are offered, or some offered Kent Core classes.


Whether short-term or long-term, students agree that the experience they get from studying abroad is one of the best.

“I almost didn’t go because I didn’t want to like leave my friends and I didn’t want to leave Kent,” Castelucci said. “My parents were like, ‘If you don’t go, we’re not paying for the rest of your college.’ It was the best thing they’ve ever done for me.”

Though studying abroad isn’t easy for everyone, the investment is worth it, Kaykayoglu said.

“We’re here to help,” Kaykayoglu said. “We’re here to make sure we can actually prepare them, send them and then make them successful students.” 

Contact Alyse Rohloff at [email protected].