IES Abroad Rome: Language & Area Studies

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About

No matter what your level of Italian language proficiency, this program is for you. Students enroll in an Italian language course and choose from a variety of other courses, taught in both English and Italian.

Rome will be your classroom. Can you imagine places like the Vatican, Pantheon, the Forum, or the Coliseum being part of your education? Welcome to study abroad! Wherever possible our courses take advantage of the city’s many opportunities through a series of course-related field studies to many historical, artistic, and cultural sites.

You can also enroll in courses at a local university, where you will experience first-hand the Italian educational system. Maybe you’ll even make some Italian friends while you’re at it.

Questions & Answers

Our best guess is yes, because the weekends aren't scheduled. We also found this on the program site: "Our courses are experiential in nature, and we organize more than 150 course-related trips each semester to historic, artistic, and cultural sites that take advantage of the city’s many opportunities." Hope that helps!
our housing options were either 1) with a host family, or 2) in apartment housing with other students. I really enjoyed my living situation with a host family. The physical environment of the houses/apartments in Rome are probably more snug than what students are used to in the States, but it just takes some adjustment! In general, the student apartments and host family homes had a lot of charm,...

Reviews

95%
based on 39 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 16 - 30 of 39
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Caroline
10/10

Just a typical day in Rome?

So when I arrived in Rome it was about 5 pm and all I wanted to do was unpack and sleep... I didn't even think about what was in store as soon as I left my apartment the next morning or every day for the following 6 months! Well let me tell you about the typical day of an IES student in Rome! First, all of IES housing is in the beautiful Prati Area (basically the Upper East side of Rome)! Prati is great because you're always just about a 15 minute walk from the Vatican and St. Peter's or Castel Sant'Angelo which is right across the bridge from the IES Center! And the area behind the center is rich with history! There is the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. I am so psyched that I got to experience Rome with IES because everyday was spent among the history of Rome!... Yeah kind of geeky but, we spent most of our days studying on site... we studied the Colosseum from the site... we studied Early Christianity below Saint Peter's Basilica (literally got to see St. Peter's bones)!
During our down time, we got to take a gastronomical tour and wine tasting with IES, we had a terrace to tan or study on when we weren't in class and traveling was made easy with long weekends! You could have class in the morning at a church in Trastevere and then spend your afternoon on an Estate in Umbria (a different region)!
Looking back on my experience I wouldn't change one thing because, what was a typical day studying in Rome is a world away from a 'typical day' on any college or university campus here!

I'm so glad to have been a part of the IES Language and Areas Studies program and would recommend it to anyone who consider's studying abroad!

How can this program be improved?
I think that the program could be better by offering the students more outings! During the summer session Italian professors gave walks around some of the coolest areas in Rome but during the spring semester we missed out on those!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Morgan
9/10

Great experience with IES in Rome

I loved my study abroad program and really appreciated all of the programming that IES put together. All of the classes incorporated visits to various cultural and historical sites, often requiring us to navigate the city on our own to get there. IES made sure that we were completely immersed in the culture of Italy, between the language requirements and the field trips to other parts of the country. I would definitely choose IES again!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ashley
9/10

beautiful Roma

The weather was much warmer than I expected so make sure you do your research and pack appropriately!!! I had a beautiful apartment in a great little neighborhood. Not being from the city I had to get used to the long walk (no car like I'm used to) to class and back but I grew to love it. There was great support and any questions or concerns I had were quickly answered. It will take you a little bit of time to get off the touristy areas--befriend the locals and take note to where they're going. My first day I got roped into a 30 euro bruschetta and bottled water, so definitely beware of tourist traps. Loved my classes and we had regular excursions to accompany what we were learning about. Rome was a good hub to the budget airlines, trains, and buses if you're interested in travelling outside of Rome or Italy. I fell in love with this city and can't wait to go back!

How can this program be improved?
Sometimes it seemed a bit disorganized but I made the best of everything and just went with the flow.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kirsten
9/10

A Perfect Day in Assisi

One day trip I went with my program was to Assisi, which is known for St. Francis of Assisi as well as St. Clare. We had an all-day private tour with a former IES Rome professor about the story of the town and the two saints. The tour was not preachy, but informative and beautifully told. We got to walk through history and time. It was in the off-season and the town was very tranquil. The best part was walking through a skinny and very long corridor to a tower in the fortress that topped the town. When I saw the view of Umbria below I actually gasped! It was a perfect day full of peace in churches that history built, wonder with the Italian countryside, and very delicious pizza.

How can this program be improved?
My program provided a weekend trip that was included in the cost. I wish that trip was twice as long because though the locations were excellent, I felt rushed. In addition with trips, I felt the initial sign-up for the day-trips was chaotic.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Rebecca
9/10

La Vita è Bella a Roma

My semester in Rome was incredible, and IES Abroad played a huge role in making my journey so memorable!

I would recommend IES Rome: Language and Area Studies to anyone who is looking to participate in an internship or service opportunity abroad. It seems daunting, but IES makes it so easy to find an internship that fits you. Before even going abroad, I was contacted by an IES staff member who noted that I was interested in an internship. She wanted to learn more about my interests so she could find me a good placement. She also reviewed my resume with me. She put me in touch with a potential employer (who ended up being my future employer), who also contacted me before leaving the States. I worked in the archaeology study collection of the American Academy in Rome. I had a blast and I learned so much. I know my international work experience will be very important in my future career. Throughout the semester, IES staff contacted me to make sure I was enjoying my internship.

I also have to comment on the academics. Frankly, when going abroad, I did not have high expectations for my professors. Knowing that they only know students for one or two semesters, I expected a lack of passion. I was very, VERY wrong. IES Rome has incredible professors who are both extremely enthusiastic about their disciplines and are genuinely interested in the success of their students. I had some of my most favorite teachers and courses at IES out of my whole undergraduate career!

Of course, Rome itself is such a beautiful city. The way in which the past mingles with the present is simply not found anywhere else. I was stunned to discover that the IES center is so close to the Vatican and right across the bridge from the amazing Castel Sant’Angelo.

The study abroad experience, though only four months long, has changed me for a lifetime. I am more confident, independent and tolerant. I am more likely to see difference as beautiful. Study abroad has made me a brave and curious student.

How can this program be improved?
I would ask for a better Library facility.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kelsey
10/10

The Greatest Semester of my Life

My study aboard experience in Rome with IES was better than I ever could have imagined! During my time abroad I lived in a homestay and was also able to work for a local tour company as an intern. Both of these aspects of my time abroad were highlights for me because they allowed me to truly feel immersed in my city and it’s culture. And neither of these aspects of my trip would have been possible without IES and their great staff on site in Rome. Additionally, the classes that I took at my center were incredible. The professors were all kind, engaging, and helped me to make the most of my experience. It was truly an amazing and life changing experience. I would recommend IES Rome to anyone who is looking to study abroad!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Adrienne
9/10

Abroad Sweet Abroad

I dove into my study abroad experience with little to no expectations. I wasn’t much of a traveler before studying with IES Abroad in Rome – I had been to Canada and Italy with my family before but can’t remember much about my experiences. I was too young to appreciate my surroundings, and, to be totally candid, family vacations aren’t exactly the kind of travel adventures a tween romanticizes later in life.

And so, with my limited knowledge of travel and growing knowledge of Italian culture and language in college, I decided to go to Rome and embark on my own whimsical adventure abroad.

I could tell you a million cliché phrases that encapsulate my experience abroad, so I’m just going to say this: I learned, I grew, I saw, and I lived – oh, how I lived! Every day was an adventure. I lived near the Vatican, so walking to school every day meant fighting through crowds of tourists while simultaneously drinking in the beauty of Rome on my daily passing of Saint Peter’s and the Castel Sant’Angelo. The men selling selfie-sticks on the bridge in front of the Castel began to recognize me and, eventually, the bridge became a second home where I would read between classes and meet friends for a night out. In fact, the entire city of Rome became home towards the end of my program. I was able to off-handedly identify hills, landmarks, and monuments, as well as streets and random history about the socio-political framework of the city. My daily wanderings around Rome, combined with weekend adventures, in-class lectures by brilliant professors, and my internship with an Italian film company, deepened my appreciation and knowledge of Rome – and Italy as a whole – with regards to art, culture, geography, sociology, politics, and language.

My comfort with living in Rome helped me explore places outside of the city, starting with peripheral neighborhoods like Garbatella and San Lorenzo, and eventually branching out to other regions of Italy. For spring break, I took a leap of maturity and went to Turkey and Greece with my friends, which is something tween Adrienne never saw coming. Come March, I was booking my own travels, making my own itineraries, and researching new places to explore. After my program ended, I visited different parts of England and Sicily before finally returning back to the states.

Being abroad raised my confidence to levels I never knew I could reach. Exploring, making new (amazing/lifelong) friends, immersing myself in a different culture and language, and working hard in my IES courses showed me that I am both my greatest tool and obstacle. If I choose to live in ignorance, so be it. However, if I choose to educate myself, break out of my comfort zone, and stay curious, I am unstoppable.

After studying abroad, the world has become smaller and less intimidating -- though infinitely more interesting.

How can this program be improved?
The housing situation. I lived pretty far from my school (about a 25-minute walk) and my apartment was not quality. I also lived with 6 other (awesome) women in a very small space, which drove us all crazy at times. The quality of IES apartments varied dramatically among students -- while my apartment was rather crummy, some people lived in very nice housing, which I found unfair.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Madeline
8/10

A Short Stay In An Eternal City

My IES abroad experience was one I would not trade for anything in the world. Aside from my beautiful apartment (seriously, I was shocked at just how gorgeous is was), my adorable neighborhood, my ideal location in the heart of Rome, and my awesome roommates, the IES staff both in Rome and in Chicago (where their headquarters are located) were extremely helpful and welcoming throughout both the application process and the duration of my stay in Rome. The IES center was beautiful and conveniently located just a few short minutes from the Vatican, and right along the Tiber river. My apartment was just a 20 minute walk from school (something I dreaded at first, then began to enjoy once I got there). Though the center was located it a highly touristy area, being from New York, I enjoyed the excitement and slight chaos the city offered, and although the area near school was busy, my neighborhood was cozy and quiet and very much residential; I got the best of both worlds. My classes were very different from any I would take a Fordham, and I enjoyed each one immensely and learned a great deal from each, things I would have never learned previously. Each week (usually multiple times a week) my classes would have field studies, where we would go to historical or relevant locations and learn first hands the topics we studied. I went everywhere from the Coliseum to Saint Peter's Basilica, to the Roman Ruins, even to Florence to visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Academia museum. My professors were not only passionate about their work, but engaging and helpful as well. They became more like mentors and friends than teachers and the entire IES staff made us feel like one big family despite the 90 students in the program. Additionally, there were various activities both within and outside the program we were constantly notified about, I even got to go to Easter mass at Saint Peter's and hear Pope Francis speak. I was also given the option (which I chose) to live with an Italian student companion, along with the 4 other American girls in my program. This was great because it gave us more insight into the Italian culture and someone to show us around and expose us to more places, people, and things. Overall, my experience with IES and in Rome in general was unlike any other I have ever experienced, I am extremely happy with the decision I made and I am proud to say I now consider Rome a second home to me and am excited for my next opportunity to return.

How can this program be improved?
More equal housing conditions for all students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Stephanie
10/10

Roman Around!

I would recommend the IES – Roma Language and Area Studies to anyone that was looking to study abroad in Rome. First, I felt as though the IES staff did an excellent job of preparing me for going abroad. The website had specific instructions for everything that I needed to complete, and there was always someone there to help if I was confused or had questions, This made me feel more prepared and confident before I left the United States. Once I was there, the staff was equally as helpful. They sent emails every week letting us know of any safety issue that may occur and offering different activities throughout the week. In addition, the apartment that I lived in was great- very clean and plenty of space for 8 girls. The location that the IES Abroad center was located was extremely central. Finally, the classes that I took there were great as well. I loved being able to see and experience different things that I was learning about in class on field studies. The professors were very eager to teach their students and were very knowledgeable about the subjects they were teaching and about Rome in general. I really had a great time in Rome and it wouldn’t have been possible without IES!

How can this program be improved?
I would make classes end earlier so that you have even more time to hangout around Italy after class!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Will
9/10

Awesome

When I first decided to go abroad I was a little hesitant and here is why. I played basketball all of my life since I was a kid and was, at the time, playing for Sewanee: The University of The South, a small division three liberal arts college in Tennessee. Thus, my identity as I knew myself, was in basketball. Granted, I had joined a fraternity, and gotten involved with various groups on campus, but I was still rooted in basketball. Deciding to go abroad would cut my career short. I decided, however, struggling through a lot of prayer and thought, to go. I can honestly say that this was the best decision that I have ever made in my life. I was stretched in ways that I never knew I was capable of. I knew that if I was going to go abroad I had to go by myself because if not I would just be in the same old bubble I had been in. I wanted to stretch myself and see things about myself that I had never seen before. Hence, I decided to go to The Eternal City of Rome (mainly because I am a history major and a religion minor, I will readily admit). When I got to Rome I was awestruck from day one. I was completely interested and immediately inquisitive about this place and what it had to offer to me—because as one can easily see, Rome has dealt with a plethora of people all containing differing identities. I promptly decided I would let this place change me—the way I thought, the way I wandered around this life, and the ways that I was used to. Looking back I can honestly say that this place has given me things that I never thought possible of attaining. I learned to love people that were different than myself and had differing opinions on almost every topic. I learned that people everywhere are all innately attracted to happiness, and all equally impervious to suffering. I learned that basketball is not the only sport that people love. I learned to not only appreciate the differences in others, but also I became fond of my thoughts, beliefs, and values. I learned that reading a book is not the only way to learn—although I will admit it is very valuable. I learned that if you have a fear of something the best way to overcome it is to face it head-on. I was completely petrified of fights, so I sky dove through the Swiss Alps one weekend. These are just a few of the examples of what IES and study abroad has done for me. My perspective on life is completely changed and it’s something that I am very thankful for. So, in closing, I want to thank IES and all the people involved because I can truly say that my life would not be the same had it not been for study abroad. C.S. Lewis said it best: “its funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.” My time abroad is something that is not a four-month experience I hold in my mind, but it is a life long memory I will savor until the day that I die.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jane
8/10

Solid Program

Rome is an absolutely beautiful and amazing city! The center is right across from Castel Sant'Angelo and less than 10 minutes from St. Peter's. I lived in a spacious apartment about 25 minutes from the center with an Italian Student Companion and 5 other girls. I cannot recommend the ISC enough. It is so nice to live with a native Italian who understands the language and customs. They also show you the best places to get a beer and slice of pizza.
Compared to my home institution the classes were not difficult. The subject material is fascinating and many classes do weekly field trips throughout the city.
The staff is absolutely amazing. They truly care about your study abroad experience and are some of the nicest people I have ever met.
I loved my time abroad and cannot wait to go back.

How can this program be improved?
My other roommates were less than desirable. This is a bit tricky to improve, but I think prospective participants should be aware that not everyone makes life long friends while abroad and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jessie
9/10

IES Rome: Hands-on Learning

My favorite thing about doing IES Rome was going on field studies during class time. These involved trips to museums, archaeological sites, monuments, and even villas. Seeing Rome first-hand was incredible and this made the experience unique compared to other programs around the world. The professors were incredibly passionate about their classes, and went above and beyond to make our time in Rome the best it could be. For example, in my Forma Urbis (Roman Archaeology) class, Prof Gianni Ponti spent the semester getting special permission from the Roman Department of Antiquities so our class could visit the excavation of the Imperial Fora. This was an incredible supplement to the already engaging class, and it was these little parts of the program that made it such an amazing learning opportunity.

How can this program be improved?
The staff at the IES center could have been more organized when it came to issues in our classrooms/apartments/etc. Although they assured us things would be changed quickly, there often wasn't an incredible amount of follow-up on issues voiced. That being said, they are all very polite and make you feel safe in the IES center.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Annie
10/10

Loved Rome

This program and the location were perfect. The city is huge--it took about a month to even feel like I could step off the beaten track. Countless neighborhoods and ancient sites made each day an adventure. The Italian student companion program at IES was invaluable. My Italian roommate showed me around, helped me communicate at an Italian hair salon in the midst of a home hair dye disaster, and was a great friend (still is even after the program ended). The people on the program were open and friendly and up for any adventures I dragged them on. The weekend trip through the program was amazing and one that I would not have had without the school. We spent a weekend driving through the Tuscan countryside, learned to make pasta, and drank tons of wine at a local vineyard. The friends I made in Italy, the experiences I had each day exploring the Ghetto, Trastevere, Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Navona, Testaccio, etc., and the confidence I gained getting to know the city are all things I'll never forget. Going abroad was invaluable, but it was the little day-to-day triumphs and mishaps (correctly giving directions in Italian or taking the wrong bus) that made the experience unforgettable.

How can this program be improved?
At times, you had to go out of your way to engage with local culture and get out of your comfort zone. The program might have offered more options to explore new neighborhoods or visit off-the-beaten-path sites so that students could make the most of their time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria
10/10

Bella Roma!

I had an AMAZING experience with IES Abroad Rome. It seriously was life changing and I became such a stronger and more independent person because of it. I lived in an apartment with an ISC (Italian Student Companion) and six other American girls. These girls are still some of my best friends today and we continually plan to meet up to see each other. The center itself was beautiful and the instructors were very knowledgeable. The classes were so interesting and I loved going on field studies every week to see the city and learn about the history and art of Rome. My favorite part about IES Abroad is that you are truly able to immerse yourself into the culture as much or as little as you want. If you want to increase your Italian language skills, you can take higher levels of Italian and can even take courses at local Italian universities. If you want to participate in cooking activities or olive oil tastings, you can sign up for that. It truly was a great experience and I'm looking forward to the day I return to Rome and reunite with my IES Abroad classmates!

How can this program be improved?
Well, I think this program is pretty perfect, but if I had to add anything I would add more frequent cultural activities (cooking classes, etc.) because the lists for them always fill up very fast!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Dominique
10/10

In Bocca al Lupo

Italians say "in bocca al lupo" when wishing someone good luck. The most literal translation is "in the mouth of a wolf." My study abroad experience can be captured in this small phrase. The four months I spent in Rome were about getting outside of my comfort zone, experiencing new things, and embracing a new culture and lifestyle. As part of my daily life in Rome, I was fortunate to have participated in a social action program. I was placed as an English TA at a local high school, where I was able to meet dozens of kind and passionate students, some of whom have become my lifelong friends. This challenging experience allowed me to form wonderful relationships of reciprocity, which made it that much harder to leave Rome at the end of my study abroad program. Rome is truly the most beautiful city, rich with history, and full of adventure. If you find yourself there, embrace every moment, because I guarantee that your experience will leave you with a renewed perspective and passion for life. In bocca al lupo!

How can this program be improved?
I wish my program would have gotten tickets to local events for students!
Yes, I recommend this program

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...