About Rome

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. In this city 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 a vibrant culture.

The Program

The interdisciplinary Rome program utilizes the entire city as a classroom or studio. While the program is designed to immerse students fully in the experience of being in Rome, excursions will provide students a wider perspective on the history, culture and daily life of Italy as a whole. Students will live in furnished flats to provide an opportunity to practice Italian language skills and experience Roman daily life. Students are affiliated with the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci (SLdV), one of the leading language and culture schools in Italy.

Courses - Spring 2014

All students 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.

Inventing Rome, Inventing Romans (1 credit)
In a course both analytical and creative, students use key moments in the history of early modern and modern Rome to examine ways in which cultural actors use the mass media of their times to formulate notions of Roman and Italian iden- tity. The media we will consider include Baroque art, early print media, Fascist architecture, post-War film and advertising, and contemporary television.

In addition, students will choose two of the following three courses:

Imaging Rome (1 credit)
In this course, students will use contemporary imaging technologies to observe, capture, and artistically interpret Rome. Primary media will be digital photography and digital video. Students will visit great works of art and architecture and use these media to reinterpret and re-imagine these works and sites. Great works of art have always been an inspira- tion for artists, and students will be asked to consider how their contemporary perspective and use of digital media allow a re-visioning of universal themes.

Layers of Rome (1 credit)
Students in this course treat Rome as an enormous palimpsest—manuscript page erased and rewritten with layer after layer of words and images, fragments of which show through the gaps between the current top-level text. We will examine Rome, especially in its built environment, from ancient times through the Baroque to the modern for continuities, reuses, and invention.

Italian Food, Culture, and Society (1 credit)
The aim of this course is to study themes related to food, common among all types of writing, and often used as a literary device for both visual and audio impact. For example, food-related images in the theater are commonly used to create a mood or convey an idea. Besides studying food culture through readings, written assignments, and class discussions, students will undertake a group-learning project around Rome that will enhance their classroom experience.

Academic Focus

Although the Rome program can accommodate students of many academic disciplines, the course offerings are geared primarily to those studying media and society, art history, aesthetics, arts and education, European studies and studio art. It may also be of interest to those pursuing architectural studies or modern languages. However, specific courses in a given semester will depend on the expertise of the faculty director(s) leading the program.


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 intensive Italian language course along with a Reader's College orientation course 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 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 Turin and Naples/ Herculaneum are tentatively planned for Spring 2014.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, all course-related expenses (including excursions) and housing. Students should plan to bring their board fee to Rome to cover 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 $900-$1000 from the East Coast, visa at $25 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 $1,500 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.


  • This program is offered every semester.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office on a selected date in October (for fall programs) and March (for spring programs). For specific dates contact the CGE.

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





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