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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Semester Minimum GPA: 2.5
Class Eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Academic Area/Focus: European Studies, Humanities, Italian Language Culture, Special Topics (Varies According to Faculty Director)
Language of Instruction: English
Program Description:

Rome, Italy

Rome exhibits layers of history going back over two millennia—Etruscan tombs, Republican meeting rooms, imperial temples, early Christian churches, medieval bell towers, Renaissance palaces and baroque basilicas—but it is also a very modern, vibrant, multicultural city.

In this one locale, a phenomenal concentration of history, legend and monuments coexists with an equally phenomenal concentration of people busily going about their everyday lives.

While tourists visit the Vatican, the Forum Romanum and the Trevi Fountain, many visitors often miss the many other sights that make the whole of Rome a museum—a living museum with a population of three million, with rich art, literary, music, theatre and food traditions.

About the Program
Courses & Academic Focus
Money Matters
Application Information
Program Handbook


About the Program

The HWS program in Rome, Italy utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to explore different aspects of Italian culture and society. While the program is designed to immerse students fully in the experience of being in Rome, excursions will provide a wider perspective on the history, culture, and daily life of Italy as a whole. Students will live in furnished flats, providing opportunities to develop their Italian language skills and to experience Roman daily life.

Courses and program-related activities are arranged through our affiliation with the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, one of the leading language schools in Italy, and the Gustolab Institute. 

Courses & Academic Focus

Students participating in this program will take two required courses:
Italian Language and Culture (1 credit)
This course will build upon the foundation of Italian language study completed at HWS prior to the program. A variety of visits to local sites will complement in-class instruction and a series of “labs” will introduce students to various aspects of Italian culture and society. Students with more advanced Italian skills will be placed in an upper level class.

Italian Creativities (1 credit)
This bidisciplinary course in the humanities and social sciences aims to introduce students to various definitions, dimensions and approaches to creativity in multiple disciplinary, theoretical, linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts. Upon that foundation students will turn to observing and understanding various Italian sites and flows of creativity in action, as well as various created objects and texts. Moreover, the learning process will turn to seeing creativity as the core issue in larger social processes at the national and global levels, such as economic development, globalizing resistance, conflicts of identity, food, breaking waves of fashion, street art redefining studio art, and the postmodern hybridization of literary media.

Students will also choose two of the following three elective courses:
Food and Culture in Italy (1 credit)     
The saying “A tavola non s’invecchia” (“One doesn’t age at the supper table”) expresses the importance of food and eating for Italians. In this course, we will examine the relationship between food and culture in Italy from pre-historical times to the present, through a variety of readings, class discussions and some personal and practical experience. The study of food culture is interdisciplinary—even though the historical point of view will be primary, during our readings, class discussions and lectures we will touch upon many fields: sociology, literature, art, music and philosophy. In addition students will undertake a group-learning project around Rome that will enhance their classroom experience. Field trips (cheese, wine and olive oil production) and cooking classes will be included in the experience.
Researching the Cultural Diversity of Rome (1 credit)                
Various anthropological methods will be learned and applied to understanding past and present culturally diverse contexts, flows, communities, and subcultures in the city of Rome. Students will learn to use the tools of fieldwork, including interviewing, participant observation, discourse analysis, visual image collection, and social time-space mapping, as well as other non-field-based methods, such as archival, artifact, visual, and sociolinguistic research strategies. The foundation of the survey will be a critical inquiry into the advantages and disadvantages of each method in terms of validity, reliability, ethicality, and practicality. For presenting research, multiple media will also be surveyed, critically reviewed, and applied, including field note taking, traditional ethnographic writing, ethnographic fiction and poetry, reflexive writing,  blogging, visual forms (e.g. photography and videorecording), and  policy statement writing.

Love and Death in the Eternal City (1 credit)
Using love and death as the organizing themes, students will study texts (poems, stories, novels, films, monuments, sites) from a range of periods, ancient to modern; and from a variety of literary traditions (Italian, classical Roman, British, American, Soviet). Students will consider how sites associated with death (the Non-Catholic Cemetery; the Colosseum; catacombs; St. Peter’s Basilica; the Jewish Ghetto) function in literary texts; how “love” in literary texts maps onto the city as a whole, more so than to specific locations within the city; and how authors both historicize the imaginary and fictionalize history when engaging with love and death as themes. Most of our texts will be taken from poetry and literary fiction, but the course includes some popular titles that are important because of their blockbuster status, abiding cultural impact, or both.

This program can accommodate a wide array of students including those studying European Studies, Anthropology, Classics, Comparative Literature, Food Studies, Media and Society, and Sociology.


This program is open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors in good social and academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students will be required to have successfully completed an introductory Italian language course along with a Reader’s College orientation course during the spring semester preceding the program. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


Students reside in independent apartments arranged by the program while in Rome and will stay in hotels or hostels during excursions.
Kathleen Henke - Vatican


Program-related excursions vary from year to year depending on the courses offered and the interests of the faculty director(s). The program typically includes a combination of overnight excursions outside Rome, designed to provide students insight into other areas of the country, and day trips to important sites in and around Rome. Visits to Calabria/Sicily and Trieste are tentatively planned for Fall 2017.

Money Matters

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, health insurance, housing, and program-related activities and excursions. Note that no HWS board fee will be charged. Students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses throughout the program. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, visa, books, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, and independent travel).

We estimate airfare for this program at $1000-$1200 from the East Coast, visa at $30-$40, and books at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1500 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.

Application Information

HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.

  • The Rome program is offered every semester. In the Fall semester the academic focus will vary depending upon the expertise of the faculty director while Art and Architecture is the focus in the Spring semester.

  • All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and will be in October (for Fall programs) and March (for Spring programs).

Program Handbook

IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.


Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.

NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.                   

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Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.