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 culinary 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 take 2 required courses:
ITAL 102: Beginning Italian II (1 credit)
This course, offered through our partner institution, the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, 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.
“Drawing” on Italy (1 credit)
This course will include visits to many of the important sites in Rome as both a lesson of art history, and a visual investigation of the art and architecture of the city. The course is dedicated to blending seminar lectures and discussions with writing and studio-based drawing explorations and students will build on the knowledge of culture, history and art history while expanding their skills of artistic expression though observation and understanding. We are likely to take the course chronologically beginning with Classical Rome, learning about the history and drawing on site of the Ara Pacis (a great mix of old and new with the Richard Meier enclosure), then on to the Pantheon and other sites that may include the Campidoglio, the façade of Villa Farnese, The Tempietto by Bramante, the Vatican Museums, and a number of churches including the interior of Santa Maria del Popolo, San Luigi dei Francesi and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Borromini. We will conclude with more contemporary structures like Nervi’s Olympic arena and Hadid’s Museo Maxxi.
Students choose 2 of the following electives:
La Bella Figura – Figure Sculpture in Italy (1 credit)
This course is both a survey of art historical trends as well as a hands-on practicum of sculpture practices and principles. The emphasis will be on the study of the sculpted figure in Italian art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods into the modern era. Of course we will also look at the classical and medieval periods as means of comparison. This course will be of interest to students studying in any of the three primary areas: Studio Art, Art History, or Architectural Studies.
Development of Italian Visual Culture Through Art and Film (1 credit)
The course aims at reading, interpreting and analyzing still images (frescos and paintings) and moving images (film) to better understand key phases of the development of the history of art and of visual culture in Italy. Themes of continuity, disruption and transformation in narrative and content presentation will be addressed through a chronological swath of time beginning from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first century. We will look, for example, at the theme of the prostitute in Italian visual culture, beginning with Mary Magdalene’s representations in Titian’s paintings to Fellini’s Notti di Cabiria. Aesthetic, iconographic and stylistic developments of both mediums will be considered, along with social, political and economic development and the way in which they are represented in visual mediums. The course will be a mixture of onsite visits and in class screening of films.
Italian Food, Culture, and Society (1 credit)
This interdisciplinary course examines the relationship between food and culture in Italy from pre-historical times to the present. Students will participate in excursions in and around Rome to meet food producers and to see food production first-hand.
This program will be of particular interest to students in Architectural Studies, Art History, Studio Art, and Media and Society 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 ITAL 101 and the Reader's College "Italy Now" during the fall 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.
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 Venice, Naples, and Herculaneum are tentatively planned for Spring 2018.
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, program-related activities and excursions, and housing. 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 $2000-$2200 should be sufficient for students who prepare their own meals.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, 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. Those concerned about finances should speak with the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on the 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 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).
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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