Location
Multiple Locations +3
  • England
    • London
  • France
    • Paris
  • Italy
    • Florence
    • Venice
    • Rome
    • Naples
    • Siena
Length
4 - 12 weeks
Program Tags
Arts Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Instructor Language Immersion Music Post-High School Study Abroad
Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships, Payment plans
Health & Safety

Program Details

Activities
City Exploring Sightseeing
Timeframe
Fall
Housing
Apartment Host Family Hotel
Primary Language
English
Age Min.
17
Age Max
23

Pricing

Starting Price
26000
Price Details
Included in the fees - All accommodation and breakfast, tuition in small groups, all travel and air travel between cities on the course, all transport when concerned with teaching, the additional courses in Tuscany (language, cookery, drawing, film), all museum entrance fees, notes and reading lists.

Items not included in the fees - connecting flights from domicile to UK and back, flights to and from Italy, lunch and supper, spending money, travel/repatriation/cancellation insurance.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Equipment Some Equipment Some Meals Tour Guide Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Some Meals Travel Insurance
What's Not Included (Extra)

Flights to and from Italy
Lunch and supper
Travel Insurance, repatriation or cancellation insurance

Jan 31, 2024
Apr 16, 2024
109 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Starting college in the spring or taking a Gap Year? That is the question.

We have the answer. Why not kick start your time doing something worthwhile with this amazing leap into European culture. We begin with two weeks in London, where the course focuses on art, power and the nature of European politics. It then moves to Paris and the South of France to study modernism. Next we move to the beautiful hilltop town of Montepulciano in Tuscany for two weeks of cultural immersion through Italian language learning and a home-stay. We also take this time to study other aspects of Italian culture, such as cookery, film and drawing. The idea is to use our time well and develop new skills. The Semester Program then joins the autumn Gap Course for an in depth exploration of Italy and European civilisation as described next.
You will be able to visit dome of themost beautiful places in the world: Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples.
Truly a wonderfully unique experience.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

AHA courses are open to all. We pride ourselves with creating a safe and inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds are able to enjoy a life changing travelling experience.

At AHA we know that culture leads to confidence, so every course has two aims: to discover and explore European culture and, in equal measure, the development of young people in a space where they feel secure and integrated.

Any form of discrimation is not accepted on AHA.

LGBTQIA+ Support

AHA courses are open to all. We pride ourselves with creating a safe and inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds are able to enjoy a life changing travelling experience.

At AHA we know that culture leads to confidence, so every course has two aims: to discover and explore European culture and, in equal measure, the development of young people in a space where they feel secure and integrated.

Further Italy and Europe in general are quite progressive with regards to LGBTQIA+ policy, lifestyle and any form of discrimation is not accepted on AHA.

Accessibility Support

AHA has a track record for taking students with varying kinds and levels of disabilities on courses, and we warmly encourage applications from all people.

Since our tutor to student ratio is very small (never more than 1 tutor to 9 students), AHA provides individual support shaped to the needs of each and every student, ensuring excellent care of young people. We therefore make provisions and organise an environment where people with disabilities can safely enjoy their travelling and make the most of their experience.

Impact

Sustainability

Our programs are geared toward environmental education understood in relation to wider themes of history, society and culture.

During our courses we always encourage critical thinking and we take the time to explore the impact that travelling has both at an individual and organisational level. We are also committed to maximising the net positive impact while minimising the carbon footprint of every program- Nick Ross, director of AHA, plants a tree for each flight that is being purchased to attend any of our programs to offset the carbon footprint of our courses.

Program Highlights

  • Private viewings of museums and basilicas
  • Stay with a host family in Tuscany
  • Climb Vesuvius to see the greatest view of the Bay of Naples
  • Traditional Tuscan cooking classes
  • Visit 3 countries in 3 months

Program Reviews

4.94 Rating
based on 31 reviews
  • 5 rating 96.77%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 3.23%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.8
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.95
  • Value 4.9
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 31 reviews
Default avatar
Hannah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Trip of a Lifetime

I loved my time with AHA. Six weeks of adventure, laughter, and memories I will forever cherish. I was able to experience Italian culture firsthand and learned so much about art history, which I am currently studying at university. It’s an experience that I would highly recommend. The tutors were extremely amiable, supportive, and knowledgeable in their subjects. One tutor even helped take care of me when I was sick, she took me to the store to get medicine. Overall, this program was amazing and I am so grateful I got to be a part of this life changing experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of every experience offered, even if you don’t think you’d like it, it never hurts to try.
Pros
  • Incredible Food
  • Making friends from around the world
  • Interacting with locals
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Isobel
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

6 weeks i will never forget!!

AHA holds such a special place in my heart. I went on the Autumn Gap Year Program in 2022. Prior to going I loved art and loved Italy, so i had no doubt i would have a good time but i could have never anticipated quite how memorable and special those 6 weeks would be.

I made friends from all over the world, many of whom i still see regularly and keep in touch with and i learned so much - not just about art but history, music, poetry, literature, philosophy and language. The tutors were incredible and invaluable to the experience. The course completely departed from a school way of teaching, which is exactly what i wanted after finishing my A levels but this by no means hindered how much i learned (if anything the focus on discussion, listing to one another’s opinions and learning to look and learn with your eyes made me learn so much more about Italian culture compared to if i had been in a classroom!).

I really couldn’t say a single best thing about AHA - after all every single day was packed with exciting activities from visiting galleries and museums to exploring the catacombs in Naples and making pasta and rowing down the canals in Venice. But, if I had to choose, some highlights for me were walking up to San Miniato al Monte in Florence and looking over the whole city during sunset, doing the gold leaf workshop in Siena and listening to some of my friends singing in San Marco in Venice with no one else but us there. These are just a couple of standout moments but every day really was special in its own way.

I couldn’t speak higher of AHA and the time I had with them. Almost 2 years later and I have no hesitation in saying it was without a doubt the best 6 weeks of my life!!

10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Quentin
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester Abroad, Fall 2021

My Fall Semester abroad with AHA was nothing short of excellence. It honestly was the best experience I have ever had. The tutors were extremely caring and genuinely wanted to build friendships with the students. The locations of the trip were incredible, and nothing like anything I have ever experienced. Learning about art history in the rich European landscape made the experience even more fruitful. Now that I am studying abroad again, I seek to travel to a lot of the locations I had been previously with AHA, and impressively, remember a lot of the history. Overall, I highly recommend AHA to anyone who is game for an adventure, and looking to make lifelong friendships with people from all over the globe.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program is to make a serious effort to get to know your tutors and fellow students. There is a serious opportunity to form long relationships with people from all over the world, and it will only improve your overall experience.
Pros
  • Locations
  • Tutors as well as Nick and Cressida
  • Scheduling for the day
Cons
  • Not long enough
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Jack
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Art History Abroad

I had such a wonderful experience with AHA, all of the administration felt like friends and not tutors(while they did a wonderful job teaching as well) the environment felt so loving and supportive! I remember one day sitting down at dinner with the entire group and Nick Ross stated that “these would be the friends we would keep for a lifetime”. It was hard to believe at first but I still keep in contact with many of the people I met on this trip. I strongly recommend joining, or atleast thinking about AHA as it was such an amazing experience I will never forget.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was when one of the tutors (Ed Hands) shared his squid ink pasta with me. It turned my teeth and entire mouth black for the duration of the dinner.
Pros
  • Friendly
  • Enthusiasm
  • Knowledgeable
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Maddie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of the year.

It’s really hard to put into words just how much this course meant to me.

I had just left school and the last thing I wanted was to be taught like I was back in a classroom, but it never felt like this. The tutors were all young, kind and friendly. Yes they were incredibly knowledgable about the subject but what made them amazing was how engaging and passionate they were. I made some amazing friends many of whom I am still in contact with two years later. It was a mixture of British, American and Australian. Everyone was like minded, kind, funny, curious and wanted to make the most of it. I really believe your experience depends on your attitude to making the most of all the opportunities and just throwing yourself in.

I loved the evenings, all eating together at the most amazing restaurants - I have no regrets that my diet only consisted of pasta, gelato and aperol for six weeks. Some of the best bits included the private tour of the Vatican, trying to learn how to row a gondola, seeing Giotto’s frescoes, a cookery course and a wine tasting. Oh and singing in San Marco in the evening was something I don’t think I will ever forget.

I really am so grateful I got do to this trip and recommend this to anyone who wants to see Italy and make the most of all it has to offer.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take lots of photos, its great having things I can look back on to remember it all, I wish I kept a more detailed journal.
Pros
  • The people - friends and tutors
  • The opportunities
Cons
  • Really hard to go back to british coffee
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
JT
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The best experience I’ve ever had

I did the fall semester program in 2021. It was without a doubt one of the best choices I’ve ever made. From the very beginning, the group was steeped in such historicity, in some part because of the cities we visited, but more so due to the stellar tutelage we received from the AHA team. Learning never felt like a chore, and they helped me develop an entirely new lens through which to look at the world. The social aspect was even better, and I’ve kept in touch with many in the group. You’re sharing in some of the most beautiful places and memories that most will never have the opportunity to experience, and I can speak for any member of the group when I say that we’d redo it in a heartbeat if given the chance.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I wish i had been more diligent about recording my experiences. Definitely worth keeping a log. It’s such a density of experience that it’s easy to lose memories.
Pros
  • Stellar, amazing, transformative tutors
  • Great group and lots of freedom
  • Planning and logistics were ALWAYS on point
Cons
  • Expenses. You can do it cheaply but you won’t want to.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Emma
3/5
No, I don't recommend this program

A review from a “bitch”

My experience of the Art History Abroad program was one that I will forever be grateful for and always remember. Although I experienced many once in a lifetime opportunities that I was so excited for, like the private tour of the Vatican, and St Marks in Venice, my time with the program was marred by a series of disappointments and mistreatments that left a lasting impact on me and my mental health. Despite my strong beliefs and opinions as an American woman, I found myself consistently belittled and made to feel inadequate by the (very) British staff. The communication barriers and lack of understanding hindered any meaningful connection between us, and many of the other participants. Moreover, the staff's judgmental attitude towards normal American behaviors, such as occasional vaping and late-night outings, only served to create a toxic environment of slut-shaming and personal attacks.

The pinnacle of disrespect came when the 65-year-old male director stooped to calling me derogatory names, while the tutors failed to provide the necessary support or engagement. Name calling, specifically towards women, may be apart of British culture that I am personally unaware of, but I was called a “bitch” and my friends, “cunt” and “simple minded”, and for a program to be built around the “conduct code” of anti-bullying, they clearly have a lot of work to do in their own administration. Their inability to communicate effectively and their demeaning behavior led to a sense of failure and dehumanization. The shocking use of offensive language towards participants, such as referring to a friend as a derogatory term (cunt), further exemplified the lack of professionalism within the staff.

Not only did the staff offer conflicting messages by encouraging drinking while simultaneously shaming participants for “indulging”, but they also failed to create a safe and supportive environment for personal growth. Accusing someone of “being a drinker” is not effective, and extremely dangerous. That was a term that was used time and time again against be, and to belittle me. My overall experience with the program was infected by the constant degradation and mistreatment I, and many of my friends endured, leaving me feeling unsupported and undervalued.

In conclusion, the program's staff exhibited a disregard for participants' well-being and failed to uphold the standards of professionalism and respect. Despite their efforts to knock me down and make me feel like less than human, and question my place in this world, I came to the realization that true personal growth and support lie elsewhere, away from the judgmental attitudes of the 'intellectual' British. It is imperative for future participants to be aware of these shortcomings to make informed decisions about their involvement with the program.

The female staff greatly deferred from what I experienced from the males that were in the admin. They were all amazing.

Do not do this program if you are a strong minded, confident, outspoken American woman: you will be attacked

Pros
  • Vatican tour
  • St Marks Tour
  • Very knowledgeable female staff
Cons
  • Self hatred experienced
  • Slut shaming
  • Name calling
12 people found this review helpful.
Response from Art History Abroad

We are very sorry to hear that your time with us did not meet your expectations. Your review comes as a shock to us. We will reach out to you privately to take the time to address your reflections directly. If mistakes were made, we make sincere apologies.

As this is a public forum, we must clarify that the allegations against our director are simply not true. The two formal conversations regarding student behaviour that took place had a third-party present in accordance with procedural policy. At no point were the aforementioned names or any other derogatory terms used by our director. Irrespective of nation, gender or learning differences, any person, be they student, tutor, parent, or supplier, should expect care and understanding. That is the point of our Code of Conduct which lays out the principles by which we run our courses.

Respect for the cultures we visit, a spirit of goodwill and a sense of purpose are central to our thinking. The wellbeing and the safety of individuals and the group define the boundaries of our community. Actions beyond these boundaries lead to interventions. In the Code of Conduct we explain drugs are not legal across much of Europe and we simply maintain narcotics are not allowed. Vaping, when in restaurants or a shared hotel room is also not allowed and considered disrespectful of the personal space of others. Alcohol is permitted in Europe and we adhere to responsible drinking. Drunkenness is not allowed, nor is the damage or dangerous behaviours that can ensue in our small community from excess consumption.

Feedback is important to us and we will continue to ensure we cater to our students to the highest standard. Our feedback is typically highly positive. In 2023, feedback from 100 students across our courses has rated our pastoral care provision to be excellent (87% score). And we pledge to continue to listen to all our stakeholders to help us best cater to the needs of our students.

Default avatar
Charlotte
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

AHA Semester Course

AHA is the one gap year program that truly allows students to immerse in culture and learn powerful lessons in history and life. Tutors form real, lasting connections with both students and the history being taught. I did AHA the fall semester of my gap year in 2021 and know the friendships I made will last me through life. The program completely changed me. I met some of the most influential people in the field of art history, saw history in a way I never could have previously, and was allowed to experience the true culture of every place we traveled to. I saw the Sistine chapel completely empty at 6 in the morning, ate incredible meals in a small vineyard outside of San Gimignano, saw the ceiling of San Marco Basilica light up at night, and shared unforgettable conversation with friends and locals. I’m left with friends who are family, tutors I can always reach out to, and a confidence that only could have been drawn from living the way I did. The people involved with AHA are wonderfully unique and intelligent individuals, and any person willing to be open to the full experience will grow.

Pros
  • Access to art and culture in an entirely unique manner
  • Lifelong connections made
  • Experiencing several different paces of life
Cons
  • A detailed schedule is not usually provided, but I saw this as a pro as it allowed for a present mindset and adaption to each day.
63 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers