When in Rome Past Review

By (Political Science, Johns Hopkins University) for

IES Abroad: Study Rome - Language & Area Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
If I could repeat those four months and more, I absolutely would, as my time abroad proved to be one of the best- if not the best- time of my life, especially personally and culturally. It has certainly instilled in me a desire to return and live abroad again for a longer period of time, which I am already planning to do. It was such a treat to be able to wake up each day in a different country and truly feel at home with the people, lifestyle, and surroundings.

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.

As most students chose to take just four or at most five classes, the workload was quite doable. Some classes gave oral exams, in the Italian style of examination, which seemed to be one of the major differences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program itself provides a good channel through which to experience Italy and the Italian lifestyle on your own, as you are given a good amount of independence. Organized field trips allow for those less inclined to travel to experience other parts of Italy, and the academic schedule was generally such that one was able to balance work and personal life. For those seeking an additional challenge, as many students take just four classes, the possibility to obtain an internship is a good option.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While students are warned that some homestays are further from the academic center, my homestay was less than a fifteen minute walk away and could not have been in a better area. Though not too busy at night, it was a great area for living, especially given its proximity to the center of the city and school.

* Food:

As is obviously the case in Italy, food was never scarce, and there was always something to everyone's liking.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The school organized a field trip to Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast over the course of a weekend, and it was one from which the students obtained both a great deal of information and enjoyment.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

While I did not personally have any health issues to speak of, the program did address such concerns at the start of the program, though it seemed a bit difficult and time-consuming to organize appointments with healthcare providers. In terms of safety, I never had any big problems, but as in any large city, it is definitely necessary to be street-smart and try not to travel alone at night.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

While everyone at the study abroad center spoke English, not many Italians did, so I found myself using the language everyday, particularly with my host family and at my internship.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Freedom to explore Rome on your own
  • Homestay experience
  • Internship opportunity
* What could be improved?
  • Academic offerings, which are not always directly applicable to students' studies at their home institutions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A student who truly wishes to go to Italy fully intending to learn the language and be immersed in the culture would most benefit from such a study abroad program. If that is the case, I would encourage choosing to live with a host family.