A Specialized Abroad Experience Past Review

By (Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics., Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/23/2012 to 05/13/2012 with

ICCS / Centro: Rome - The Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile. I learned an immearsuable amount about ancient history and topography and increased my knowledge in Greek and Latin. I also learned how to navigate Rome.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There's no better program for Classics study abroad. It's very intense: for most students, doing well academically will not allow time to "go out" very much. It's your decision, but know before going in that this program is really, truly harder than Wellesley academics.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is tricky, small, and not always there, but if you ask nicely, they will help you with what you need.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Most people are in small doubles with bunk beds. A few are in small singles. The rooms are fine, but the walls are thin. There are strict rules -- no overnight guests, no alcohol.

* Food:

The food is absolutely stellar. Every meal Monday through Friday is home-cooked by the most wonderful women on the face of the earth. Meals are taken family-style, and they are all Italian cuisine. Two days per week, lunch is a bag lunch: sandwiches or little plastic containers with salads, a juice box, and a dessert. On weekends, you're on your own. There are grocery stores and several cheap pizza joints nearby. "The kebab place" is also a hit.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If you want to meet locals, this is not the program for you. The group is very insular and does not interact much with people outside.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health issues are a real problem. The administration will do their best to help you see a doctor, but the healthcare system in Italy is disorganized and not up to American standards of rigor --a doctor will sometimes prescribe medicine without even hearing you cough. No health issues specific to Italy, but be sure you can manage some extended activity as there are long days of walking.

* Safety:

Rome is a wonderful city for students: public transit is very accessible (and we are provided with passes, since we use them often for class) and safe. I never felt uncomfortable walking around at night. The program makes sure you learn the city very well, so getting lost shouldn't be a problem.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I am very good at managing money -- I almost never spent more than $20 per week. Finding cheap food is not hard: grocery stores are good for basic needs, and there are fruit and vegetable markets as well. Pizza is about 3 euro for a meal-sized chunk.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy things you don't need. Shop around.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

They encouraged us to be able to get home on our own from anywhere in the city, but we all spoke English with each other (except, of course, in the Italian class -- which was not required).

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you want to learn Italian, this is not the program for you. Again, this program is an intensive curriculum in ancient history and languages -- not a program to experience modern Italian culture.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The academic rigor
  • The opportunity to study one thing in depth
  • Getting to know the city
* What could be improved?
  • nothing.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring hand-laundry soap, as the laundry machines are very expensive. (That's another way I saved money.)