Amazing experience for Ancient History and Language Buffs! Past Review

By (Ancient Studies, Barnard College) - abroad from 01/21/2013 to 05/10/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I now have a very deep knowledge of the ancient history in and around Rome as well as making friends that will last me a lifetime. The entire group became very close both with each other and with the city in a way that would not be possible in any other program. I am so glad I went and was very sad to leave, but I know that this experience will only encourage me to continue learning about ancient Rome and Greece, and that I will one day return to Rome and still remember where everything is.

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.

I found the course load to be difficult, but completely manageable. There was more work than many programs, so constant weekend excursions were not possible. However, I loved exploring the city through our classes and spending time learning only things that interested me. There is little to no Italian incorporated into this program, so if that is what you are looking for this program is not for you.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Franco, Pina and the rest of the staff were welcoming and friendly. They were always available should you need help and were highly entertaining if you were fortunate enough to eat lunch with them. The kitchen ladies were also very friendly and were overjoyed if you took an extra service and tried to speak with them in Italian. The staff definitely made this program into more of a large family.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We all lived on two floors of corridor style dorm rooms. The rooms were pretty small and there was not a lot of storage space. However, we were not there to be spending huge amounts of time in our rooms so it ended up being ok. Thankfully there was a cleaning staff that changed our sheets once a week or I would not have been able to sleep on a top bunk for the whole semester. Generally the building was always clean and comfortable.

* Food:

The Centro serves 3 meals a day 5 days a week and the food is great! on tuesday and friday they give you bag lunches so that you can take it with you on your all day field trips/on site classes. Breakfast is usually eggs, pastries or french toast, lunch is usually soup in the winter months and pastaish the rest of the time. Dinner always consists of 3 courses. There is a pasta dish, a meat or fish dish with a side of vegetables, and dessert. They hardly ever serve the same thing more than once, and are always open to requests. Everything is served family style.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This program is really not about modern Italy at all. There is hardly any time purposefully spent acquainting you with the culture and issues, but ample time spent getting to know the ancient city of Rome. By the end of the program you will know the geography, metro, buses and sites better than most, even some tour guides, and you will know where ancient streets have merged into modern ones, where ancient foundations still remain, and how certain parts of the city evolved. While you may not know overly much about the modern culture, you will know a ton about the ancient culture of Ancient Rome.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I would first and foremost suggest not getting sick to begin with. There is a hospital very close to the Centro where Franco (the director) has some close connections and they were very helpful. However, medicine in Italy is different from ours and can give your body different reactions. There are many pharmacies where people are very helpful, but you need to figure out what to ask for because many things we can buy at our leisure, such as advil and allergy pills, are behind the counter in Italy. They do not always require a prescription, but you do need to ask for them. On the upside, medicine and healthcare is much cheaper, so you don't have to worry too much if you get sick or have an accident.

* Safety:

The neighborhood the Centro in is very safe. Up on the Janiculum hill, the neighborhood is mainly residential. People drive crazily in Rome, but that is just something you get used to. When in the historical center of Rome (the touristy part) it is important to be on the lookout for pickpockets. Often very crowded, it is easy not to feel someone reaching into your bag. The absolute worst possible place for this in the entire city is the Vatican and the Via Fori Imperiali, so be on the alert because you will go to these places often. The other time to stay alert is when you go out either to bars or clubs.

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)

This is a little hard to say because I did not think about it in terms of dollars, but in Euro. I probably spent on average 100-150 euro a week including any shopping or souvenir buying I may have done. All meals for the week are already paid for, but sometimes on a field trip I might buy water or something to supplement my lunch. I also bought cappuccinos 2-3 times a day, as well as gelato many days. We were responsible for our own meals of the weekend, but had no kitchen, so you would also have to buy 2 or 3 meals on saturday and sunday. In general it wasn't so bad during the regular semester, but our trips to Campania and Sicily were a little more expensive, as well as Spring Break.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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?
  • My classmates
  • My professors
  • The traveling and exploring we did in the Ancient City course
* What could be improved?
  • The internet
  • The Italian culture aspect
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would have liked to know that Italian and modern Italian culture really has nothing to do with the program. I personally made an effort to learn about it, but it was by no means required or common to do so.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!