6-week Gap Year Course in Italy | Art History Abroad

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About

This course travels through Italy four times a year, exploring all aspects of culture, such as history, music, politics, food, literature and philosophy – in addition to art and architecture. Alongside studying the greatest masterpieces of Western civilisation, tutors will take students off the beaten track to unearth some of the secret wonders of Italy. The course visits Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, Naples and Rome as well as many places in between. For example, while in Florence students will spend a day visiting the leaning tower of Pisa, and while in Naples some time is spent studying Pompeii and climbing Mount Vesuvius. Spending at least 5 days in each city and up to 10 in some, students will delve beyond the realms of tourism, leaving with an in depth knowledge of Italy that will remain with them for life.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 47 reviews
  • Housing 8.9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 47
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Emily
10/10

Best 6 weeks ever!

I had the most amazing time on the AHA course and would recommend it anyone even if they have never done History of Art before. I hadn't done History of Art before and it wasn't a problem as the tutors are very good at explaining everything as well as keeping it interesting with games and their general enthusiasm bouncing between paintings and sculpture starts to resemble some kind of dance!

Spending 6 weeks with 15 other people also means you get to know them well and hopefully make life long friends ships. The evenings spent in bars and restaurants are great fun and an easy way to break the ice when you don't know anyone else.

Some special moments were the Scrovegni Chapel, a private tour of St. Marks, visiting the underground Etruscan tunnels and visiting a textile factory in Venice. I can't think of a better way to spend 6 weeks.

Yes, I recommend
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Charlie
10/10

My Experience with AHA

My second AHA course was probably the best six weeks of my life, the first one wasn't bad either. I'm no kind of art historian but the truth is you really don't need to be. Obviously it's sick for art nuts but it's also insane for those who ain't really bothered, because afterwards you are definitely bothered!

The tutors are more like learned puppies dressed in neon than dingy old professors decked out in tweed. These serial fun lovers are never happier bouncing from masterpiece to masterpiece, whilst making frequent pit stops in local bars to discuss the highlights of the day over a glass of wine. As well as knowing a s***tload about art they also know the coolest places to eat, drink and just generally chill!!! They are honestly the funnest, coolest, most hilarious (with exceptions(you know who you are)) people I've ever met!!

The other students are also awsome!! Granted it's a bit daunting spending 6 weeks with 15 people you never met before, but a 2 hour plane ride and the first of many bar crawls really break the ice, and a while you realise how lucky you are to be around such rockstars!

All that's left to say is that the food literally blows you mind and I'm seriously considering doing a 3rd course!!!

How can this program be improved?
Merchandise!!!! T-shits, hoodies, mugs, caps, banners, pyjamas (definitely), notbooks.... That sorta thing
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Dominique
10/10

Time of my Life

I would recommend the AHA course to anyone interseted in Art History, even if you've never studied it before. It's a well constructed course and I feel more confident going to university to study Art History, having never studied it before. I loved how we travelled around Italy, which enabled us to get a feel for Italian culture. The tutors were utterly amazing and their enthusiasm for teaching us really made the course a marvellous experience. I've made so many new friends and had such a fantastic time. My advice for others is to just get yourself on the course!! Thank you AHA!!

How can this program be improved?
To have t-shirts for the trip.
Yes, I recommend
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Emma
10/10

Wish I could do it again

Having studied History of Art at A Level and planning to do it at university I decided to go on this trip essentially to get a basis of Western Art History and see some of the stuff I had learnt about. However it more than exceeded my expectations as we were taken to so loads of stuff I hadn't even heard of and even the works I had studied were presented from a totally new perspective. We also learnt about general history as well as a bit of Italian language, literature and poetry which I wasn't expecting but loved!

The tutors were all incredibly interesting and at no point did I feel like I was in a lesson or being lectured at. They were also so much fun and their local knowledge really helped. Everything was planned out but a good amount of free days gave us the chance to do what we want and explore the cities in our own way.

Finally, the best thing about the course was the people. Everyone was so lovely and I couldn't have hoped for better people to spend six weeks travelling around Italy with. Highlights that come to mind would be the Scrovegni Chapel, bar crawling round Siena and Naples in general (don't be scared by its reputation!). Definitely the best way to see Italy and I would definitely recommend this course to anyone, whether you're doing Art History or not.

Thanks for the best six weeks!

Yes, I recommend
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Alexandra
10/10

Wish it was longer!

I had the most amazing time on AHA and would recommend it to absolutely everyone!

The tutors are all phenomenal, teaching you all about the Italian language, their art, culture, religion etc. Having not previously studied History of Art I was initially a little apprehensive, but luckily found that I was not alone and the tutors methods meant that I did not need to worry at all.

I can also safely say that AHA gives you some of the most amazing (and hopefully life long) friendships with the fellow students and even the tutors, having already arranged multiple reunions!

A special mention must be made to all of the special activities that we got to do - thank you so much Lavinia for the 11 course meals at Titignano, the rowing lesson in Venice and the textile factory we visited - these things really made the course special, differentiating AHA from just your standard holiday with family/friends!

I will never forget all of the wonderful memories I have of AHA and honestly can't think of a better way to spend a holiday/gap year. Thank you so much AHA!

How can this program be improved?
Wish it was longer! (ps: they do have a semester course)
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Olivia
10/10

Chin chin!

Very interesting time spent travelling around Italy and thoroughly enjoyed it!

The tutors were very approachable and always willing to answer questions as and when and help when required!

The hotels that we stayed in were very comfortable!

Yes, I recommend
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Clio
10/10

Absolutely amazing

Had the most brilliant 6 weeks in Italy on AHA - would recommend it to everyone! The tutors were so enthusiastic, the people on my course were lovely and I can't think of a better way to travel around Italy and appreciate its culture.

How can this program be improved?
I don't think I have any criticism!
Yes, I recommend
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Fenella
10/10

I want to go back

It hasn't even been a week since I returned from the 6 week Gap course and I would love to return even if it's not specifically the same course.

I would like to thank AHA for giving me the absolute time of my life. I have never been to Italy and it was certainly the way to do my first visit as, thanks to the tutors knowledge, I have now come back knowing more about the Italian culture and history than I probably would have done if I went on a family trip.

I did art history for A-level and I have definitely learnt many new things. but do not worry you can come on this course not know a thing about art history and come back having had an incredible and inspiring time. The tutors are fantastic in not only in their Italian knowledge but also their general loveliness.

I came back not only learning about art but also religion, myths, history, language and politics. I will certainly remember the liveliness of the place for example the corner cafes and restaurants spilling out divine aromas and filled with the friendly locals. The locals were very welcoming especially when they knew you were trying your hardest to attempt speaking their language even if the pronunciation wasnt at its best.

The food is also amazing - different parts have their specialities.

You get to meet a whole range of people on the course. I have made some special friendships just in six weeks.

I will never forget the memories I made and being able to live Italian life in such a beautiful setting.

Thank you.

Yes, I recommend
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Chuck
10/10

AHA Review

I loved every day of this trip, both learning about art and making new friends. AHA is a fantastic organization that takes an interest in its students. There are heaps of examples like this, but a couple of instructors actually organized a surprise birthday celebration for me.

I cannot imagine a better way to travel through Italy, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, than with 10-20 friends your age and experts in their field showing you around churches and museums.

How can this program be improved?
Probably but I have no idea how. What am I, your supervisor?
Yes, I recommend
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Livvy
10/10

Unforgettable

Thank you AHA, for giving me the absolute time of my life. It’s been 2 months and I'm still obsessed with how amazing this trip was. I probably will be for the rest of my life. I would say to all those going on this trip that you can come and not know ANYTHING about Italy/history of art and still have the most incredible and truly inspiring time.
The tutors were fantastic. Not one of them disappointed on Italian knowledge and just general loveliness. As well as showing you the most beautiful art and architecture you will ever see, they succeed in giving you an all-round Italian education. I learnt not only about art but history, religion, poetry, politics, myths, food, language, film ...... i could go on forever. They instil in you a deep and endless love of Italy.
The hotels were lovely and perfectly located within each city and the FOOD… you will dream about it upon your return. Nothing can beat the beautiful little restaurants and coffee shops filled with delicious aromas and chattering locals.
But most of all… the people. I cannot find the words to express my happiness ENOUGH at having had the chance to meet such wonderful people on this course. I never imagined I could create such special friendships in just 6 weeks.
I am so grateful to AHA - I feel like a new person. I will never, ever forget those few idyllic weeks spent with such wonderful people and in such a beautiful setting. Thank you.

How can this program be improved?
Make it longer!
Yes, I recommend
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James
10/10

Just Such a Lovely Way to Spend Six Weeks

AHA's short course, whatever they call it, the one where it's six weeks long and it's in Italy, is that one which I did, and let me tell you, dear reader, it's just lovely. The course travels around Italy for six weeks visiting, more or less in order, Rome, Naples, Titignano, Sienna, Florence, Verona, Castelfranco, and last but more than least, la bella Venezia. As you may have gathered from the name of the program, it deals with art history, in quite the best place possible, i.e. right up close and very personal with the art. Drawing from the greats of the three canonical extra-double-important Renaissance art, those being painting, sculpture, and architecture, AHA really shows you round the block. You see the big names (did you know they just leave the Colosseum lying out in the open? They don't throw a tarp over it or nothing) like Michelangelo, and Caravaggio, and Giotto, and Titian, all them fancy-ass folks. More importantly, you'll be in the company of the AHA tutors, which are a group of people that are as friendly as they are bonkers intelligent, which is quite a bit. Seriously speaking, the tutors know a staggering amount about the art you're looking at, and they will share it with you. They also have usually done the trips several times before, and will know useful little tidbits like when you need to book two slots for looking at a Giotto chapel. Just perk-type things. On a day to day basis, you'll start somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00, following (or not, you can probably do without it) what is admittedly a usually meager hotel breakfast. Fear not, however, because after a morning of art and adventure you will get to sample of the great Italian traditions, i.e. lunch. Also dinner, but more on that later. Meals will be exclusively at restaurants, and there are some good ones. Apologize to your local pizza place in advance, because upon your return they will seem lackluster in the face of the world-class Neapolitan stuff. After lunch, you will continue on till five-ish or so looking at, learning about, and marveling over the choicest bits of artistic fare available. Bear in mind for you Americans, anywhere from all to half of the people you'll be with will be British, which is just looooooovely. Dinner will be with a whole group of you, and following that the tutors will likely take all those disposed to a local drinkery for some drinking. Incidentally, the drinking age in Italy is 18, now isn't that wonderful. Highlights will include nights to remember (or forget), as well as such things as Michelangelo's Pieta and David, Caravaggio's Amore Dormiente and Calling of Saint Mathew, Bernini's Pluto and Proserpine, Titian's Venus of something or other, all close enough to spit (please don't), as well as some of the best food you'll have ever had.

How can this program be improved?
You will be staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and washing your clothes in laundromats and sinks for six weeks. Comforts of home there are not, but that goes with the territory. Also it's raather pricey.
Yes, I recommend
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Mia
10/10

This program changed my life!

It has been 2 weeks since the trip and not a day goes by where I don't look through photos and try to recount every single moment that happened during the most amazing 6 weeks I have ever had. I entered the course with a vague knowledge of Art History, politics, architecture, religion, mythology, etc., and now being back home I can say that joining AHA changed my life completely. The people I got to spend 6 weeks with were some of the most incredible people I have ever met, and the tutors didn't even feel like conventional teachers to us. Most lectures just felt like listening to a friend telling amazing stories about the culture of Italy. Every single tutor was brilliant and engaging and they really took the time to go out, have fun, and get to know each and everyone of us.

I highly recommend joining this program, and you don't even need to have any knowledge whatsoever of Art History. If I could relive something in my life, it definitely would be reliving my experience with AHA.

Yes, I recommend
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Ed
10/10

don't read this just go

About two weeks have now passed since the course I was on ended. Only now do I realise how special it was, and how much it sucks now not being out there.

AHA exceeded my expectations enormously. I was wrong even to doubt about going on it in the first place, and even having studied art history at school and having been to a couple of the places we went to, I learnt so much.

I cannot fault the 6 weeks I had with AHA. It would be impossible for me to tell you whether it was more informative or more fun because they were just as strong as the other. The tutors are not only informative, but they are young-hearted people too and more than up for a laugh. There is never a sense of being treated like a schoolkid. Help was also at hand, whenever you needed it.

A friend on the trip made this video of our trip, and it is impossible for me to spot the tutors because the tutors were more friends than tutors.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnNCvGJ7THo

The video shows what an amazing setting it is to be in for 6 weeks where you are able to forget everything and just enjoy yourself. The food, also can't be forgotten!

However, if there was one highlight for the trip for me, it was the people. Spending 6 weeks with the same people, in that situation, creates some unforgettable moments and amazing friendships.

If you really do ever have any concerns about going on AHA, I'd really reccommend you to contact AHA or anyone who has been on it. Or even, forget that, just go!

Yes, I recommend
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Susannah
10/10

I wish I could do it again!

AHA was absolutely amazing and was definitely the highlight of my gap year. Its three years later and I still talk about it all the time because it was so amazing. It was incredible to see so many works of art and architecture and learn about them from really knowledgeable tutors. It also really felt like we got to know the cities we were in like locals because the tutors knew them so well and took us to places off the beaten track. They knew all the best restaurants and the Italian food was definitely a highlight! The tutors were such a great part of the experience as they were all so much fun, enthusiastic and so good at teaching and making us love the works of art they were telling us about. The course was really well organised and the accommodation was all really central. AHA was such a perfect mix of art, incredible food, wine and people. Going on AHA was definitely one of the best decisions I've made and I would highly recommend it.

Yes, I recommend
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Izzy
10/10

I want to do it all over again!

If you are reading this and not taking a Gap Year, either beg your university for a deferred place and get yourself on this course or join the summer program.

The AHA tutors brought the art and architecture of Italy to life and there is nothing better than learning about the wonders of the Classical and Renaissance world in situ. I came back more knowledgeable than ever. The days were perfectly planned out and relaxing, shared with people who I hope to keep in contact with for many years to come. I can't thank the tutors and the people enough for giving me the best six weeks.

Please do not think you have to study or be interested in Art History to partake in this course. Yes, some people on the autumn program were going to study the subject at university; however, others were studying psychology, geography, graphic design and biology. This just underlines the interdisciplinary nature of Art History- it encompasses everything. Make sure you bring a notebook and pen as you will want to remember everything you learnt. People in my group that didn't hugely regretted that.

All the other reviews below have taken the words out of my mouth for how i want to describe the course, so instead of just repeating myself, anyone is more than welcome to ask me specific questions it.

How can this program be improved?
It doesn't need to be improved, but if i had to say some things:

- Accommodation: every hotel was great, however (I personally didn't experience this problem) some rooms were too small for the amount of people sleeping in them.

-Perhaps a few handouts before each class?

-Tutors coming and going: it breaks the students heart when the tutors have to leave- can't they stay the whole time?!
Yes, I recommend

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About Art History Abroad

Study art, architecture and European culture in Italy, France and London for a semester in the autumn, 6 weeks during the Gap Year or a 2-4 week Summer holiday course. Art History Abroad programmes are carefully structured and brilliantly taught so...