ICCS: All About the Ancients Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/22/2012 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 definitely a worthwhile experience. I learned a lot about Classics and my personal interests in the field, and I made some great friends. I would love to live in Rome again and actually experience the modern city though.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

If you want an in-depth understanding of Ancient Rome, ICCS is for you. I definitely learned a lot at Centro, and I absolutely loved living in Rome. Prepare to work hard at the Centro though. If you're looking to take a semester to experience something less academically intense than Wellesley, you should pick a different program. You spend most of your week in class and on field trips, all of which are accompanied by copious reading assignments. If you want a cultural experience in addition to all your new knowledge about Ancient Rome, you should probably look for a different program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration faculty and staff is usually around, and they are all incredibly friendly and lovely people.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Dorms vary in size and tend to be small doubles with bunk beds. They clean your room and change sheets for you once a week, which is a major plus. All housing is in the Centro, which is also where you eat, go to class, and study. There is a really nice garden and grill area out back though, as well as a terrace, which helps to counteract the sometimes stifling atmosphere.

* Food:

Centro food is delicious. The cooks are the most lovely ladies you will ever meet, and they make great food. You're provided 3 meals a day during the week, and are on your own for the weekend. There is a grill and stove top in the garden for cook-outs, but you can also take advantage of that time to go out and experience the restaurants in Rome, because you won't want to miss any of the meals during the week.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is not a program centered on the Italian cultural experience. It's all about the ancient Romans. You shouldn't attend Centro expecting to hang out with the locals and become fluent in Italian. You spend all your time in class and on field trips with other Americans and American professors. You do learn more about the local culture on week long field trips,which you become integrated. You really have to work if you want to feel like you're having any sort of cultural education. There are some ways to feel more integrated, like finding a favorite bakery and barista, spending time at the local park around the corner, and buying your fruit at the fruit stand instead of at the grocery store. Taking the Renaissance art history course was also a good way to gain some cultural understanding, because the art and architecture from those times are still very prominent and influential in the modern city. The course also contributed to my understanding of the role of religion in Roman culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

You are required to buy Italian health insurance, which I don't recall being too expensive, but you should definitely not expect healthcare to be as easy as in the US. The program will help get you to a doctor if you need one though, and there is a nearby hospital.

* Safety:

I always felt safe walking around Rome, even at night. Just be smart about it and watch your stuff in the particularly touristy areas, and you'll be fine.

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)

Rome is a relatively expensive city, but you can definitely work with smaller budget by going to a grocery store and not eating every meal out. The small things, like cappuccinos, pastries, and gelato can add up quickly (although much less quickly than Starbucks back home), so it really all depends on how much you want to spend and how closely you watch your budget.

* 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? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Grab extra fruit at breakfast for snacks, and split the price of cooking meals at home by doing group meals.


* 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

Italian class was not required by the program, but I'd recommend that you at least audit it for a while. It's useful to know your numbers and basics of pronunciation. Most people in Rome speak English very well. As I mentioned before, the program is not nearly as much about the cultural experience as about the ancient Romans. There is an Italian table at lunch though, which you can sit with and learn basic Italian whether you're taking the intro course or not.

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? n/a
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0

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?
  • Centro food
  • Spending 4 months in Rome
  • The other students
* What could be improved?
  • The cultural aspect of the program
  • Balancing the work load with the amount of free time given
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that it was going to snow in Rome for the first time in 30 years. Bring gloves, just in case.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Renaissance Art History

Course Department:
Instructor: Tegmeyer
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I would strongly recommend this course to any future Centrista! Professor Tegmeyer is an absolutely amazing lecturer. You gain a very helpful understanding of art and architecture in Rome from the Early Renaissance to Baroque period that allows you to appreciate Rome so much more. It's an extra half day field trip every week, but it's completely worth it.
Credit Transfer Issues: