An imperfect program with great access to antiquities Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/28/2019 to 05/10/2019 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 learned a lot about my field and the people in it and what higher-level research looks like. I do think it was overall a worthwhile experience.

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.

The educational experience was excellent and the coursework was rather engaging. I think students' detailed comprehension was at times sacrificed just to approach the sheer mass of information and sites available.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was excellent, helpful, and kind. The director had students' best interests at heart but was content to take up a lot of space in various settings and didn't seem to be particularly proactive about meeting student needs.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living arrangements were tight. Bunkbeds and limited bathroom space plus rather expensive laundry costs added up to a less than enjoyable living environment. The students spend a lot of time around each other and that added some social tension (to be expected certainly but present and negative nonetheless).

* Food:

The food was often good and certainly hearty with a home-cooked feel. The repeated flavors in Italian cuisine can grow tiresome but really overall the food was a positive experience. Meals with the whole school were quaint and in retrospect great for bonding, however, at times they too were tiresome (although we had the choice to not attend dinner or lunch).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This program is not comparable to most study-abroad experiences in this light. It deals with the culture of Rome 2000 years ago and almost not at all in the present. Italian classes offered chances but students could easily have staff interactions be their only contact with modern Italian culture. My best experiences with Italian culture were a result of club sports I played during the semester.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any serious issues with health that I felt the program needed to help me in addressing, although disease spreads quickly in the tight living quarters.

* Safety:

Overall Rome is a pretty safe place, although I am a rather tall (for Italy) man and am pretty confident in my Italian. I can imagine it might be a bit more nerve-wracking for people with different safety concerns than myself.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I learned what I could from ICCS but I would value a more immersive cultural experience in the modern world a lot more.


* 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)

It was rather easy to live with most expenses covered by tuition and fees.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150


* 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

Because modern languages were not mandatory, no expected practice was instituted.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Immerse yourself! You need to build the confidence to speak well by speaking poorly first. It's still difficult for me to want to speak foreign languages, however, I learned from time in Italy (both in school and even more so out of school) that being willing to make the mistake and learn is more important than the fact of the mistake itself.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Coursework
  • Location/Site visits
  • chance to network with future professionals
* What could be improved?
  • residence
  • immersion/cultural contact
  • work-life balance
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how insulated the program would be and had arranged more time to explore the city in advance.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

The Ancient City

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was very time-consuming and pretty pervasive in life at the Centro. It made wonderful use of the density of ancient sites available in central Italy. Frankly it provides a purpose for the whole program which is an important appeal to students. Its workload was a bit much to ask given other coursework and most students' study-abroad expectations.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Greek

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English, Attic Greek
Comments: It wasn't particularly challenging and the class felt rather unproductive given other language work I've done in other courses. However, the grammar work was helpful.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: This was a fun immersion language course that was stimulating and immediately relevant. I was impressed by how strong our Italian was by the end of one semester and enjoyed the class very much (I do like language-learning though).
Credit Transfer Issues: