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
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.
Students participating in this program will take two required courses:
Fall 2022 Directors' Seminar: Digital Rome (1 credit)
Digital Rome engages the city of Rome as a historical and virtual site for interrogating the social, material, and political conditions of inequity and cultural difference. In stark contrast to the utopian discourses that imagine our networked world as a "global village," internet access, linguistic barriers, geoblocking, infrastructural challenges, regional licensing agreements, censorship, and local needs transform networked digital spaces not only from country to country but also from home to home. In order to define users’ and viewers’ experiences of Rome and Italian culture, students analyze their study abroad experience through the lens of digital rhetoric and media studies. Tracing the origins of the five canons of rhetoric from Cicero's De Inventione to more contemporary mediums and media like newspapers, television, film, and the internet, the course critically examines how technology is experienced in the daily life of Romans and our students through local and global critical frameworks.
Students will read online articles in The New York Times and major Italian newspapers; stream locally popular films and television shows; listen to English and Italian podcasts; conduct research in online archives; and even shop for basic items. The objective of the course is to cultivate students' awareness of how digital spaces, networks, and cybercultures shape the material or "real" conditions of Italian culture.
ITAL 102: Beginning Italian II (1 credit)
Offered through our partner institution, the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, 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.
Students will choose 2 electives:
Roman Media Exhibition (1 credit)
This course explores the city of Rome through the lens of media exhibition. Featuring site visits to a variety of Roman locations – from multiplex theatres screening Hollywood blockbusters with Italian dubs to local independent theatres such as the Cinema Farnese showing American and European art films with Italian subtitles. Students will attend film screenings, new media exhibits, and other local events in order to experience and theorize the ways in which the presentation of both local and global media objects within different city spaces provides a window into broader issues of national culture and politics. Our analysis of these events will be supported by readings that traverse formal analysis, exhibition history, cultural studies, and political economy. As one of the central events in the course, students will attend the Rome International Film Festival (Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma).
Made in Italy: Craft Culture and the Writing of Bel Paese (1 credit)
This course provides students opportunities to explore Rome through travel writing and through a special focus on concepts, practices, and the regional cultures associated with Italian craft. Students will read travel literature by outsiders to Rome alongside classic Italian literature. Students embark on walking tours of Rome and excursions to famous hubs and hidden locales for Italian fashion, costume design, and artisanal crafts, such as majolica and furniture making. Our analysis of Roman historic sites will be complemented with a critical analysis of the ways that craft is practiced, distributed, commodified, and understood in the context of Italian culture and its people. In addition to walking tours of Rome and visits to artisan workshops, the excursions to Florence and smaller locales of Umbria will provide students with the opportunity to capture the essence of their travels using the tools of creative and analytical writing.
ROM 219: Italian Food, Culture, and Society (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 (to experience cheese, wine and olive oil production) and cooking classes will be included in the experience.
This program will be of particular interest to students in Media and Society, Writing and Rhetoric, English, and Entrepreneurial Studies as well as those in European Studies focusing on Italy.
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 (with a C- or better) ITAL 101 prior to departure. 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.
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 Bologna and Florence/Umbria are tentatively planned for Fall 2022.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition 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. While meal expenses will vary according to individual tastes, we estimate $2200-$2400 should be sufficient for students who prepare their own meals.
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 $50, 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.
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(s) 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 late September/early October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).
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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