Study Abroad in Rome, Italy

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Study Abroad in Rome: Courses

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Italian language course levels are determined by placement tests to ensure the appropriate level. Since language demands are challenging, students may be placed in a level lower than requested. Students are advised to gain pre-approval for several levels of Italian from their home institution in order to ensure that they receive credit for the level they are placed into after the placement test.

Traditional Academic Program With Rome Core

With the exception of Italian language, courses are taught in English. Italian language study is optional throughout the semester. Many courses focus on the history and culture of Italy and make use of the resources available in Rome. Courses require a minimum of 10 students to run.


CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level is indicated along with course code.

Choose between one of the following:

ITAL 110 A1 (1)
Practice Speaking Italian

This course provides a balance between the communicative and structural elements of language learning to provide students with basic vocabulary and phrases to cope with authentic everyday situations. The course also offers a comprehensive overview of Italian culture.

ITAL 101 A1 (3)
Elementary Italian I

A thorough introduction to the Italian language for absolute beginners or students with little previous experience, the course teaches essential vocabulary and grammar and develops students’ ability to communicate in an authentic linguistic context.

ITAL 102 A2 (3)
Elementary Italian II

This course is designed for students with some knowledge of Italian. Starts with a review of basic grammar and vocabulary before progressing to more complex structures and functions. Conversation is a central part of every class, with opportunities for all students to practice listening and comprehension of authentic material as well oral and written production. They will also develop a greater awareness of Italian culture and society.

ITAL 201 B1 (3)
Intermediate Italian I

In this course students develop their ability to communicate effectively and accurately, making use of expanded vocabulary. Students practice conversation and improve listening and oral production skills in an authentic Italian context. The course covers cultural elements of the Italian society and lifestyle. Reading and writing exercises improve skills in understanding prose and writing letters and messages with appropriate vocabulary.

ITAL 301 B2 (3)
Intermediate Italian II

This course builds upon the abilities and knowledge acquired in Intermediate Italian I and develops them to enable students to understand and respond to complex lines of written and oral arguments.

Students review complex grammar structures and work regularly on reading, composition, phonetics, syntax, and style assignments. Constant conversation practice enables them to communicate competently in Italian.

ITAL 401 – C2 (3)
Advanced Italian

This course prepares students to use advanced grammatical structures and vocabulary and enables them to interact with the Italian world at a sophisticated level. Students practice understanding of complex lectures and arguments, in both written and oral form. They are expected to become fluent and spontaneous in their verbal interaction, as well as capable of presenting an argument, orally and in writing.

ITAL 120 A1 (6) spring only
Elementary Italian Language and Culture

This is an intensive Italian language course for beginners, with a focus on Italian language and a comprehensive view of the Italian culture. The course teaches essential vocabulary and grammar, develops students’ ability to communicate in an authentic linguistic context and enables them to deepen their understanding of the typical aspeIN ENGLISHcts of the Italian culture and customs.


FNAR 310 (3)
Rome Sketchbook

Through this course students will acquire a broad grasp of the roles and aims of drawing as both an analytical and an expressive tool of artistic and communicative inquiry. Rome is at the center of the drawing process, which aims at exploring and communicating in a visual way the most peculiar sites of the city, from the Tiber River to the numerous Roman churches, galleries and museums. The course is organized in both indoor and outdoor sessions. The production of a sketchbook is an essential part of the course and it helps the students to record the city, create ideas, and show how drawing is an open and mobile tool for exploring reality.

AHST 210 (1)
Italian Art: Selected Topics

The class is taught on site in Rome and during field trips to Venice, Florence, Naples and Palermo.

It covers selected topics in Italian art, especially pertaining to painting and sculpture, up to the Renaissance and the Baroque ages. Early Italian art from the Etruscans and the Romans up to the early modern times will be considered in their art historical contexts; key topics will be covered such as artistic patronage as well as other social, religious and cultural developments. Students write a project paper based on a topic agreed with the instructor and related to field exploration.

AHST 310 (3)
Masters of the Renaissance and Baroque in Rome

The course deals with the features and the evolution of Italian and especially Roman painting, sculpture and architecture in the Renaissance and Baroque periods between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries. The transition from the Medieval to the early modern times in Rome will be examined from the art historical point of view. Students will get to know impressive works of art along with the key figures of their masters within the social, cultural and historical contexts of their production and fruition. The focus of the course is Rome and classroom lectures are complemented by on-site visits to works by masters such as Caravaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Bernini.

AHST 320 (3)
Roman Art and Civilization: From Antiquity to the Present

This course surveys the history of Roman civilization from antiquity to present times with special focus on Rome’s material cultural, artistic and architectural evidences. The Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, as well as the modern and the contemporary features of Roman art and civilization will be analyzed, also through frequent visits of churches, museums, and other places of artistic interest.

Engineering in Ancient Rome

This course explores the engineering techniques and production systems used in the construction of the architectural masterpieces of the Roman world: aqueducts, bridges, domes, roads, amphitheaters, atriums, temples, and other public places. We will study the sophisticated construction processes, the use of materials and building practices that made possible the completion of such monumental and long-lasting structures. We will survey a broad range of ancient technologies - cranes, concrete, water supply and more - their practical implications, applications and developments.

COMM/FILM 310 (3)
A Century of Italian Cinema

This course covers Italian cinema and society through the movies, with specific attention to the period following WWII. Students will analyze the evolution of Italian cinema through its masterpieces and against the background of international cinema. The aim of the course is to provide students with a deep grasp of Italian contemporary cultural trends through the cinema and the diffusion of realism as a cultural convention.

COMM 320 (3)
Italian Luxury Fashion and Design

The course covers the development of fashion and fashion industry in Italy through visual merchandising and retail with particular focus on Rome. Peculiars aspects in relation to the in-store experience of the costumer vs the spread of the e-commerce model of buying will be addressed and discussed. In this respect, students will engage in a project called The Luxury Shopping Experience, for the sake of which they are tasked with visiting, examining and reporting about specific luxury stores of the Via Condotti and Via Borgognona fashion district in Rome.

FASH 321 (3)
Italian Style in Made in Italy

The place of Italy in today’s world economy is relevant. This course aims at exploring the evolution and the features of consumption of goods and services in Italy. A variety of approaches from other disciplines, such as social and cultural anthropology as well as micro-economy will help analyze the topics at the core of the course. Italian society will be approached from the point of view of consumer society to see how a specific Italian style has been evolving in specific areas such as fashion, industrial design, advertising, sport, food and beverages. The shaping of a specifically Italian cultural identity as related to all those aspects will also be examined and discussed. Visits to major Italian companies will be integral part of the course.

COMM/ENGL 330 (3)
Travel Writing – Rome

This course explores basic features of journalism, approached from a comparative perspective and with a special focus on travel writing and the exploration of city of Rome. Class excursions will be planned in and around Rome where students will learn to observe and report on these trips by using the highly detailed and personal style characteristics of travel writing. The course aims at developing students’ research and writing skills as well as to study and apply various techniques employed by the media. Students will complete a series of writing assignments based on class outings and personal travels. In-class and outside reading assignments will augment classroom discussion.

HIST 310 (3)
The Rise, Fall and Legacy of the Roman Empire

This course explores the entire history of Rome, from its legendary founding by Romulus and Remus, to the Republic period leading to the expansion of Rome throughout Italy and Europe, finally establishing the most powerful Empire of ancient times, eventually becoming Christian. From the rise of the Roman civilization to its transformation and subsequent dissolution, the fall of the Roman Empire under the arrival of the Germans will be discussed with its opening towards the dark ages of the early medieval periods. Major archaeological sites in Rome will be visited and will host lectures and discussions. The course will cover topics such as the evolution of Rome and its architectural as well as political structures, the causes of the rise and fall of the Republic, Augustus as the first Roman emperor, the conquests of the Romans and the peculiarities of Roman civilization, religion in Rome, the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire and the cultural and material legacy of Rome.

HIST 311 (3)
Templars, Crusades and Military Orders

The course aims at providing students with a deep knowledge and understanding of the military orders phenomenon in the Medieval times, with a focus on the Knights Templar with the mystery of their rise to unprecedented economic and political power up to their fall amidst the flames of stakes. All other major military-religious orders emerging in the context of the Crusades will be discussed, especially the Knights Hospitallers, rivals and then heirs to the Templars themselves. All this will be analyzed against its own historical, social, and religious background as well as in the context of the Crusading movement, with the emergence of knighthood as a military and cultural force, the monastic experience, the construction of military and religious edifices in Rome, Europe, and the Holy Land, as well as the deployment of pilgrimages routes between the East and the West: together contributing to connect domains as different as the historical, the spiritual, the religious, the political, the cultural as well as the geographical in reconstructing the picture of a changing Medieval world.

HIST/RLST 312 (3)
History of The Popes and the Catholic Church

This course analyzes and discusses the entire history of the Catholic Church through the most prominent figures of its popes, from the origin of the Christian experience in Palestine, to the construction of the Church as an institution and its developments and crisis through the antique, medieval and modern periods, to the challenges of the present day. Lectures and visits to places of interest in the city of Rome such as catacombs, basilicas, and old Roman Christian houses, will contribute to the awareness of the rich and varied tenets in the historical development of the Church as well as of its countless ties with local and international domains linking together religious, cultural, social, and political evolutions.

ANTH/HIST 320 (3)
Food, Culture and Identity

This is a course on the history and evolution of food-related cultures and behaviors, from the ancient to the recent times, passing through the Classical and the Medieval ages. The focus will be on the social function of eating and food, through the analysis of festive occasions related to meals, table manners, dietary prescriptions and identities. Different types of sources will be considered, from written texts, to artistic and archaeological finds, to highlight the variety of traditions and social rules developed through the ages with regard to food and eating. Those topics will also be contextualized in the different environments they were part of, such as cities, houses, noble palaces or abbeys.

Italian Mafias: History and Evolution

This course examines the multifaceted world of the Italian Mafias from the historical, social, cultural, criminological and political points of view, between the period of the Italian unification and today. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, the relationships between the Italian and the American Mafias, the connections between Mafia and politics in Italy, personal relationships in the context of the mafious organizations.

HIST 340 (3)
History of Western Medicine

This course explores the developments of medical science and thought in the West from its beginning to the 19th century. The evolution of medicine will be analyzed and discussed from the times of the ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, the Babylonians, as well as the Greeks and the Romans, through the medieval times and the Renaissance period, to the Scientific Revolution and the modern age. Through a comparative and multidisciplinary approach, based on the history and philosophy of science, sociology, art, and literature, students will become familiar with figures of scientists/philosophers, such as Hippocrates and Paracelsus, with their discoveries of diseases and the advances in approaching and curing them, with the outbreak of pandemics, such as plague or the Black Death in the medieval times, discussing what made medicine one of the most fascinating and fast-growing fields in science, one that can put together tradition and innovation.

POLI 310 (3)
Globalization and Europe

This is a course on globalization which is studied in an interdisciplinary way from a specific European perspective, analyzing its social, economic, political and cultural aspects. Key issues of globalization will be discussed ranging from nationalism and inequalities to convergence, and the analysis of global institutions and agents.

CLAS/ENGL 315 (3)
Greek and Roman Mythology

This course discusses Greek and Roman mythology through Classical literature and against its historical and cultural backgrounds. English texts from all the major Latin and Greek authors, such as Ovid, Virgil, Aeschylus, Omer, and Hesiod, will help identify and analyze Classical myths in a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, using the results and methods of literary, religious, historical, and archaeological studies to reconstruct narratives involving gods and heroes.

MKTG 311 (3)
International Marketing

The course deals with market strategy and the threats and opportunities companies need to handle in today’s global markets. Various aspects related to the marketing management actions companies need to take in order to compete will be covered during the course, ranging from market analysis, costs, competition in a global market, distribution channels. Contextualization, standardization, and adaptation strategies are evaluated with regard to international marketing.

COMM/PHOT 315 (3)
Photojournalism: Rome Reportage

Both communications and journalism majors as well as photographers will benefit from this course, the aim of which is to foster practical skills and advanced knowledge of photojournalism through the works of major contemporary photographers and through the exploration of the city of Rome. Students will engage in the production of assignments related to the real world of photojournalism. The only technical requisite for the course is to bring to class a DSRL - digital reflex - camera along with a laptop equipped with a photo editing software.

POLI/SOCI 310 (3)
Contemporary Italian Society (3)

This course explores the transformations of modern Italian society through its most significant developments, from the birth of the Fascist regime through post-war society and contemporary evolutions. Specific topics will be discussed such as the relations between the Italian State and the Catholic Church, the outbreak of terrorism in the 1970s, the development of political parties, the Italian mafias, the role of Southern Italy, immigration as well as Italy and the European Union.

POLI 311 (3)
Politics of The European Union

This course deals with the historical and political developments of the European Union, from its first steps in the 1950s to the present day. The various institutions of the E.U. with their roles and functioning will be analyzed, with a special focus on the process of European enlargement and integration. The relationship between the ideals behind the European integration and the economic aspect of the actual process will be discussed through an analysis of the economic and monetary union developments. The various member states policies concerning domains such as the regional, agricultural, social, environmental, working, energetic sectors will be covered, along with the international relationships between the E.U., third countries and other primary global players such as the U.S.A. and China.

POLI 331 (1)
Politics of Genocide: Auschwitz

The class is taught in Rome and Krakow. The first part consists of introductory lectures and audiovisual materials analyzed in the classroom, with reports presented. The second part consists of a 3-day day field trip based in Kraków, the capital city of a region that witnessed some of the greatest atrocities in European history. The visit explores the diversity of national identities (Polish, Jewish, German, Ukrainian, “Gypsy”, “Galicjan”) and analyzes the intricacies of ethnic, religious, and cultural factors. Students are introduced to historical, political, and social aspects of the genocidal policies suffered under both Nazi and Communist regimes. Special attention is dedicated to the importance of memory. Students are guided into the discovery of a tragic, mysterious, and uniquely fascinating European land. The course is a dynamic education experience, accompanied by group discussion. A unique academic and life experience.

Mafia and Anti-Mafia in Sicily

The class is taught in Rome and Palermo, Sicily. The first part consists of introductory lectures and audiovisual materials analyzed in the classroom, with reports presented. The second part consists of a 3-day field trip based in Palermo, the County Seat of Sicily. Students analyze the political and social history of the Italian Mafia from its origins to the present day. The visits focus on the emergence of a new Sicilian culture and society based on the fight against the Mafia, and the reasons for the successes and failures of the anti-Mafia struggle.

The course will provide opportunities to visit sites that document resistance to the local Mafia and encounter local civic associations, community service and solidarity networks that are active in the Sicilian context.

PSYC 310 (3)
Cross-Cultural Psychology

The course explores human behavior from the social point of view and in a cross-cultural perspective, both in theory and in practice. The focus will be on Italy and the Italians. This course in cross-cultural psychology, through elements of sociology, ecology, anthropology, biology, sociology, gives students the opportunity to discuss the shaping and deployment of human attitudes, behaviour, values, communication process and social organization. Specific attention will be devoted to issues such as the individual vs the social, mental health and cross-cultural communication. Students will engage in field research, conducting interviews on topics related to their own study abroad experience while visiting various locations in Rome and Italy. The research as a practical tool of the course, and the course itself, aim at providing students with the opportunity to apply methodologies of inquiry focusing at studying how relationships and behaviour in cross-cultural contexts take shape.

Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Rome

This interdisciplinary course analyzes ancient Roman conceptions of gender and sexuality within the context of contemporary debate and scholarship. Using a broad range of ancient sources (both textual and material) and contemporary scholarship, students will examine ideas relating to masculinity and femininity; male and female roles in public and private life; non-binary gender identities; hetero-, bi- and homosexuality; the impact of gender and sexuality on different aspects of life and culture in ancient Rome; the use and misuse of Roman ideas about gender and sexuality in contemporary debate. Visits to museums and archaeological sites will illustrate how ideas about gender and sexuality shaped public and private space, architecture and art.

RLST/HIST 310 (3)
Comparative Religions

The course explores the entire panorama of world religions, from a comparative perspective and using methodologies from various, related disciplines. Ancient Roman, Greek, Eastern religious traditions, as well as the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and the polytheistic religious systems - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism – will be discussed and analyzed along with current developments and the “new-age” religions. Religious, historical, anthropological, sociological and philosophical approaches will be considered to discuss the evolutions of religions and central religious issues, such as the problem of evil, free will, the construction of organized religious institutions, and the shaping of religious identities.

SOCI 325 (3)
Italian Culture: Facts, Customs and Traditions

This course develops an understanding of contemporary Italian culture and style, also touching the role of religion, politics, as well as the fashion industry. A variety of approaches from other disciplines, such as social and cultural anthropology as well as micro-economy will help analyze the topics at the core of the course. Italian society will be analyzed in all of its major components in order to see how a specific type of Italian style has been emerging in contemporary times. The shaping of a specifically Italian cultural identity will be examined and discussed. Visits to major Roman sites are an integral part of the course.

Italian Language Certificate Program

The Italian Language Certificate Program is available to all students from absolute beginners to Intermediate I level. Students enrolled in the Italian Certificate Program are strongly encouraged to choose the Italian family homestay accommodation option. Native speakers are not eligible for a certificate in their own language.

Students take four 4-credit courses taught progressively throughout the semester for a total of 16 credits. An examination is administered at the end of each course which students must pass in order to be admitted to the upper level continuation.

The program is taught in conjunction with Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. Classes meet every day, Monday through Friday, for a total of 18 contact hours weekly.


Students earn a certificate by:

  • completing four courses from those offered to learners of Italian at six different levels of proficiency, from Beginner to Advanced (i.e., Elementary I & II and Intermediate I & II) with a minimum grade of B;
  • demonstrating intermediate - high level proficiency in a written and oral proficiency interview administered at the end of the program by a certified tester.

The Common European Framework (CEFR) divides learners into six different levels.

For each level there is a description of what the learner has to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing. Those descriptions apply to any language.

A - Basic Speaker

  • A1 Beginner
  • A2 Elementary

In Levels A1/A2 students take courses which provide the basics of Italian in grammar, reading, writing, and speaking/listening. These courses improve Italian communication skills.

B - Independent Speaker

  • B1 Pre-intermediate/Intermediate
  • B2 Intermediate/Upper intermediate

In Levels A1/A2 students take courses which provide the basics of Italian in grammar, reading, writing, and speaking/listening. These courses improve Italian communication skills.

C - Proficient Speaker

  • C1 Advanced
  • C1/C2 Proficiency

In Levels C1/C2 Advanced to Proficiency students take courses focused on a particular skill or topic.

Students in the Italian Language Certificate program may also attend additional preparatory courses for CILS, the Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera) or CELI, the Certificate of Knowledge of Italian Language (Certificato di Conoscenza della Lingua Italiana). CILS and CELI are internationally recognized official qualifications of the Italian language for foreigners offered by the Italian University for Foreigners in Perugia and Siena. Dates and costs of CILS and CELI courses and exams are subject to variation and therefore will be confirmed at the beginning of each semester.

Beginners start with an Elementary Italian I – A1, and may progress up to the Intermediate I /B1 level.

Students with previous study of the Italian language take an entrance test, written and oral, to determine appropriate initial placement and subsequent levels:

Elementary Italian II – A2, and may progress up to the Advanced/C1 level.

Intermediate Italian I – B1, and may progress up to the Advanced/C2 – Proficiency level.

CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level is indicated along with course code.
An examination is administered at the end of each course.

The Music Program

For music majors who do not want to fall behind during a semester abroad, or for those with an interest in music, an exciting Music Program is available, taught in a multicultural environment in conjunction with Saint Louis College of Music, founded in 1976 and authorized to issue Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. Students take up to 15 Fairfield University credits and may then take an additional music course.

As this program is taught by the Saint Louis College of Music, Fairfield does not award the academic credit. Students receive a Saint Louis College of Music certificate authenticating work completed and should confirm the status of credit transfer for courses taken at Saint Louis with their home institution.

Music classes are taught in the evenings and do not conflict with the majority of the AIFS courses. Students take their music classes in a truly international context, with Italian and other international students at Saint Louis College of Music.

Instruction is in Italian, but all music instructors speak and understand the English language.

The Music Program at a Glance (up to 18 credits)

Four or five other classes of your choice among the academic offer at the AIFS Global Education Center (12 to 15 credits)

One or two music classes with other international students (for possibly extra transferable credits) in the following:

  • Bass
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Percussion
  • Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone
  • Vocals

The study of each instrument will focus on thematic developments and applications, combos for group practicing, history of jazz or rock, improvisation sessions.

MSC BS001 - Bass
Bass Lab, 12 hrs
Rhythm Session, 9 hrs
Ensemble, 14 hrs
Jazz/Rock History, 10 hrs (optional)
Improvisation, 7/8 hrs (subject to audition)

MSC DS001 - Drums
Drums Lab, 12 hrs
Rhythm Session, 9 hrs
Ensemble, 14 hrs
Jazz/Rock History, 10 hrs (optional)
Improvisation, 7/8 hrs (subject to audition)

MSC GT001 - Guitar
Reading/Harmony, 12 hrs lab
Rhythm Session, 9 hrs
Ensemble, 14 hrs
Jazz/Rock History, 10 hrs (optional)
Improvisation, 7/8 hrs (subject to audition)

MSC PS001 - Percussion
Percussions Lab, 15 hrs
Cuban Santeria, 14 hrs
2nd Ensemble, 14 hrs
Jazz/Rock History, 10 hrs (optional)
Improvisation, 7/8 hrs (subject to audition)

MSC STT 001 - Sax/Trumpet/Trombone
Brass Section, 15 hrs
Combo, 12 hrs
Ensemble, 14 hrs
Jazz/Rock History, 10 hrs (optional)
Improvisation, 7/8 hrs (subject to audition)

MSC VC001- Vocals
Vocal Lab, 10/12 hrs
Choir, 20/24 hrs
Ensemble, 12/16 hrs
Jazz/Rock History, 10 hrs (optional)
Improvisation, 7/8 hrs (subject to audition)

For more information on Saint Louis College of Music visit

Study + Internship Program

GE 298 (6)
International Internship

Students will engage in a work experience with organizations in a wide variety of fields. The experience is designed to be relevant to the student’s academic pursuits, personal development, and professional preparation.

The internship is a substantive career development experience and provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in workplace settings and to translate classroom learning into practice. The intent is for the student to be exposed to business ideas and concepts while being mentored. Doing analysis, contributing to decisions, and communicating meaningful ideas should form the bulk of the work, although some low skill work (for example, data entry and making phone calls) can be a part of the assignment. At the end of the internship experience, students will be able to reflect on their personal and professional growth and begin seeing themselves on their career path.

While every internship is different, AIFS Abroad has adopted the internship definition recommended by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE.) The criteria are as follows: 

Course Objectives

Through a highly customized international internship the student will develop their own professional abilities, draw on their StrengthsFinder attributes to navigate their assigned duties, and cultivate an understanding of the business norms of the host culture. Interns may be tasked with a variety of projects, events or presentations. Students will utilize Gallup coaching, mentoring, and reflective exercises to develop their professional skills and industry knowledge. This will be an applied learning experience. Internships will require students to continually assess and interpret different work styles, industry methods and cultural approaches to their chosen profession. Students will gain self-awareness of their own strengths, have developed intercultural understanding of foreign work culture, gained professional work experience, and completed career communication essentials such as an online LinkedIn profile, interview skills, and networking training.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify and apply their own strengths to work better individually and as a team
  • Gain meaningful professional work experience in a multicultural setting
  • Develop and use written, spoken and body language skills effectively across cultures
  • Reflect and evaluate their personal and professional growth during the internship


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Download Study Abroad Resources!

Download Study Abroad Resources!