For good reason, Italy is one of the most popular destinations for American study abroad students, and within Italy, Rome is one of the cities they often look towards for study abroad programs.
With a modern and cosmopolitan lifestyle, ancient Roman landmarks, and all the aspects of quintessential Italian life -- the food, the style, the pace of life -- it'll be hard not to fall in love with Rome.
Not to mention, though you'll need a good level of Italian to study directly at one of Rome's universities, there are dozens of alternative options for students who either want to conduct courses in English or improve their Italian. Read on or take a look at the study abroad programs in Rome below to take the first steps towards studying abroad in Rome.
For historians and classicists - Rome was home to the greatest empire even known. Students have the option to study ancient, medieval, baroque, or modern history first hand with the many monuments around the city.
For artists and art historians - Rome has numerous museums including the Vatican Museum, which is one of the finest art museums in the world. What better way to inspire artists to capture city scenes on film or canvas.
For political buffs - Rome is the capital of Italy, the regional capital of Lazio as well as the political and religious capital of the Catholic Church. Italian and Vatican politics are sure to keep students on their toes.
For communication and film fanatic – Students can be inspired by the same city which inspired some of the most influential film directors such as Fellini and De Sica. In Rome students will also find Cinecitta` - the largest movie and television production facility in Europe.
For food aficionados – Not only will students feast on amazing Roman dishes such as Bucatini all’Amatriciana, and Caccio e Peppe, they can find a wide selection of international food as well with the large influx of international folks moving to Rome.
For religious researchers – Many people know Rome to be the head of the Catholic Church, but many people are surprised to find out is that there is also a strong Jewish influence in Rome as well which dates back to ancient Roman times. Rome gives students an outlet to study and compare all cultures in one city.
For fashionistas – Via dei Condotti is a fashionista’s dream where haute couture stores such as Fendi, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana line the streets. Students can indulge by window shopping, or even making a purchase or two at these high end boutiques.
For outdoor enthusiasts – Rome is home to Villa Doria Pamphili which could be considered a small version of Central Park. If the public park and gardens aren’t enough, students also have the option to hop a train to the coast for some beach time.
Planning Your Trip
Culture and Immersion
Rome is a big city; however main attractions are easily accessible on one of the metro lines. Top attractions include the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, the Patheon, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, Santa Maria in Trastevere, La Patria, Piazza del Campidoglio, Largo Argentina and the cat sactuary, Campo dei Fiori, the Spanish Steps just to name a few. The city also is home to over 900 churches which could keep a student busy for years.
Students might will Campo dei Fiori and Trastevere to be the most popular hangout spots followed by the Testaccio neighborhood.
Students can visit the Vatican museums for free from 9a.m. to 12:30p.m. during the last Sunday of every month. During the summer months, students can also enjoy many free events which take place along the Tiber river including concerts and film screenings.
While not the most expensive city in Europe, Rome isn’t the cheapest either, however students can definitely live in Rome on a budget. Italy is a cash-based economy using the Euro. Using ATMs is the fastest and easiest way to get cash for all your daily purchases from bus tickets to gelato.
Some tips for students to live on a budget include saving on transportation and food. Students can invest in a monthly bus pass for 35Euro instead of buying daily tickets at 1.50 Euro. They can also take advantage of the many open-air markets throughout the city, the largest being in the Gianicolense neighborhood just off the number 8 tram line.
Students not in the mood to cook at home can also take advantage of the Italian aperitivo where you can buy a drink, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, at regular price and receive various munchies and appetizers. Some of the best locations, which give you the most food, include Freni e Frizioni and Artu` café, both located in the Trastevere neighborhood.
Culture Shock and Support System
Even if you are used to the hustle and bustle of a large city, Rome still can catch students off guard. Traffic is chaotic and horrendous and can be very overwhelming, tied together with afternoon “sieta’s” it’s not wonder that Rome’s ying and yang personality can sometimes be overwhelming for students. Students should look into programs which offer on-site staff and support. They can also inquire with their study abroad offices to see what kinds of support systems they may offer.
- The best coffee AND gelato can be found near the Pantheon. Café Sant'Eustachio, Piazza di Sant'Eustachio, 82, has lines out the door just for a quick espresso but it’s worth the wait.
- Then right around the corner you will find Della Palma gelateria, Via della Maddalena 19/23 which offers tons of gelato options.
- The best hole in the wall pizza is Dar Poeta found in Trastevere, Vicolo del bologna 45
Rome is truly an international city which will offer students something unique on a daily basis, whether that is food, wine, friends or frustrations. But ultimately, where ever you study abroad, just keep one thing in mind, patience is a virtue. Being patient with others and yourself will help you grow and learn during your study abroad experience.
Does studying abroad sound fabulous but expensive? While it is true, studying abroad can mean added costs, there are still a variety of ways to offset the extra expenses. If you're not up for opening a lemonade stand, I suggest checking out the following scholarships.
- ISA offers a few scholarships that you can browse through.
- For those heritage students, the National Italian American Foundation also offers up opportunities for Italian-Americans.
- API offers a variety of scholarships for those participating in their programs - including a few great options in Italy!
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships