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Art History Abroad

Why choose 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 that art and culture come to life. We believe in a few simple truths: that art is best taught in the presence of the real thing and that tutor groups (of 9 students or fewer) should encourage discourse and expression. AHA tutors travel with the course, providing a friendly, enthusiastic approach, which has been an inspiration to countless students for 30 years. Open to students of all disciplines, students need only an enquiring mind.

Founded
1987

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.

Reviews

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Mia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

I lived my dreams at AHA!

The entire course was wonderful in every aspect. The tutors were kind, caring, and passionate about their fields of knowledge. The friends I made in the course are the most incredible people I've ever met, and I will truly remember my time with AHA forever. I fell so deeply in love with Italy and all of the art we saw! I felt like I was living my dreams, with days spent talking passionately about Italian art, laughing and running free through the cities with new friends, and eating delicious food during dinners with the people that became like my family. This trip holds such a special place in my heart.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We went to the Vatican at 5am!
Waking up that early is usually not so fun, but when it is to see one of the most toured collections of art and architecture in the world, with just your group of ten or so people, it is sooo worth it. We were given the keys to open all of the doors of the Vatican, turned on all of the lights and stared in wonder at the impeccable art all around us, with no noisy crowds to disturb us. It really was one of the most magical moments of my life.
Pros
  • The people
  • Access and guides to the most incredible art in the world
  • Travelling and discovering new places
Cons
  • It's quite expensive:(
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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
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Eliza
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Art History Abroad

10000/10!!!!!! I made friends I am still close with :) we see each other all over the world and update our old chats. Everyone loved what they were teaching and we loved what we were learning which is the best way to experience education. It’s a safe place to experience the world while still having people around us who kept an eye out for us. The down time allowed us to go see more of the city, take a nap, or hang out, which you need when you’re walking like 10 miles a day. Though I couldn’t eat pasta or pizza for a few months after- it is seriously the best thing I did on my gap year (maybe in my teenage years)

What was your funniest moment?
We did a cooking class in Florence and made a vlog. It was so fun to do the class but everyone was getting involved with it.
Pros
  • Good people!!!!
  • Amazing art/ Cities
  • Knowledgeable instructors
Cons
  • The rooms aren’t the best
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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!!

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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

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Alexa Lane

Alexa's time with AHA motivated her to continue her study of art history, architecture, and economics at Middlebury College. She hopes to return to Europe as soon as possible to continue her studies!
Alexa poses with friends in front of a colorful backdrop

Why did you choose this program?

I chose Art History Abroad because I had never tried anything like it before. I'm a big believer of throwing yourself into the deep end and learning how to swim. So, I thought there couldn't be a better way to spend my gap semester than in a new country learning about a subject I had barely even heard of.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I did not go through a program provider or university to find AHA. I met the director, Nick, at a gap year fair at my high school during my senior year and figured out the rest on my own! The AHA team was incredibly flexible and responsive (despite the time difference), and I was able to sort everything out myself.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One piece of advice I would give to a new student would be to ask as their tutors as many questions as they can possibly think of. All of the AHA tutors are incredibly knowledgable and they want to cater the course to your needs and interests. They also have great stories to share. All you have to do is ask!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I would say there isn't an average day in the sense that you are doing the same thing every day. However most days follow a similar structure. We would meet as a group at around 9 am every morning and head off to our first lesson of the day. The lessons varied in location from church, to museum, to a public square. Sometimes we would take a cooking class, a private tour of a collection or cathedral, or were taught how to make Venetian masks! Around noon we would break for lunch and meet up again around 1pm for another lecture. After that, we would be free until dinner when we would meet usually as a whole group and discuss the day! Unless we had a special event, we were free for the evening, but often I would find myself hanging out with the tutors and other group members all night.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was probably most nervous about being away from home for so long. My time with AHA was the longest I had ever been away from my friends and family and didn't know anyone else going on the program. But as soon as I met the tutors and some of the other students on the trip, I knew I was going to be completely fine. I think my views on homesickness changed because I no longer worry about being alone in the same way. Being away from home for some long allowed me to develop the confidence in myself to be able to chat with anyone or become friends with anyone.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Henry Tudor-Pole

Job Title
Tutor
Henry has studied art at the Royal Drawing School, London, St. John's College, Oxford, and the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa. He continues to do so as a tutor with Art History Abroad.

What is your favorite travel memory?

It's got to be attending the New Generation Festival in Florence, an extravagant three-night celebration of music and theatre, with young performers and a young audience soaking up the atmosphere on the grounds of the Corsini Palace. One night, the concert went on to the Ognissanti church, and I don't think anyone sitting in that magical, Baroque interior was left with a dry eye.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working with AHA has significantly developed me as a person in several respects. Of course, it has deepened my awareness of art and my sense of the past, but it has also built my confidence in small ways that are manifested in everyday life at home, which can be hard to describe. I am better at speaking to an audience and bringing the subject to life.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One student became fascinated with Dante's Divine Comedy after encountering it on an AHA course and told the story back to me in a way that made me see it afresh. He then went on to take up cookery and invented a meal based on Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise! I can't imagine a more original interpretation.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the Southern Italy program, for the chance to learn more about the Kingdom of Sicily. I am fascinated by the hotbed of cultural exchange that was twelfth-century Sicily, and also by the sultry chaos of modern Palermo and Naples. There is an epic, romantic quality to the south that I find appealing. The food is not bad, either.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

To be part of a team like AHA's is a constant source of delight. I can't imagine many companies are so warm and decent at every level of the organization, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. I felt proud of the team when we got together in London to see another tutor playing a gig in Shepherd's Bush.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Probably it's to do with giving students the opportunity to grow in their own ways and according to their own will and not along with a set of predetermined rails. The company sets up the conditions in which students can have an enriching experience, at which point it is exciting to see what they are able to make of it.

Professional Associations

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