Signature Semester Program
Why study in Rome?
Rome is a city of firsts: it is seat of the first true world empire and the first true world religion. With over 3000 years of continuous habitation, the Eternal City still has stories to tell. Rome is also an important vertex in the Mediterranean, centrally located and well-connected to destinations throughout Italy, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. And as a European capital, Rome is both international and local, hosting foreign academic and artistic institutes and several United Nations-sponsored and -affiliated organizations while maintaining a home-town feel.
Why study with AIRC?
“History, Media, and Cultural Heritage” is a dynamic and innovative semester program offering a student experience in Rome unlike any other. Students take core courses in the history and development of Rome, travel to select regions and cities of Italy, and Italian language and culture. Elective courses cover a range of student interests, including art history, journalism and social media, cinema, and ancient languages.
The AIRC program takes students well beyond the traditional classroom-based learning model to a kinetic learning space of theory and on-site experience. AIRC students spend time engaging and interacting with Rome’s history and cultural heritage through experiential learning projects designed to teach them real-world skills that they can use throughout their lives.
Journalism, media and communications students research and analyze contemporary issues such as politics, urban image, and multiculturalism via hands-on experience with world-recognized journalists and photographers. Communications students document past and present through new media, photography and video, also with world-recognized professionals. Additional majors, such as history, art history and archaeology, enrich their knowledge base while simultaneously working with the latest digital technologies such as social media, streaming video, and virtual reconstruction.
“History, Media, and Cultural Heritage” is the only program in Rome where students interact with living history in real-time situations. AIRC’s partnerships, collaborations, and contacts in Rome and Italy give its students unparalleled access to extraordinary people, places, and opportunities. AIRC collaborates with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome, the Superintendency for the Cultural Heritage of the City of Rome, foreign academies such as the American Academy, Italian and international cultural entities and institutions such as Roma Sotterranea, the Centro Studi Americani, and International Association for Classical Archaeology, as well as the United States Embassy.
Students regularly participate in AIRC’s archaeological digs, documentation and conservation projects, conferences, video productions, and outreach via social media and translation. AIRC also has numerous contacts among local cultural heritage professionals—archaeologists, conservators, journalists, photographers, artists, designers, etc.—who offer access to additional exciting opportunities.
All members of AIRC’s international, bilingual faculty are highly-educated experts in their fields with long experience living and working in Rome and Italy. All courses in the program are taught with a low student-to-faculty ratio (maximum 15:1) in order to maximize comprehension and foster curiosity.
Rome: Layers of History
New in town? Everyone knows the old saying, “When in Rome…,” but what exactly does that mean? Get to know the Eternal City through the major environmental, social, religious, political, architectural, and artistic influences and developments that have shaped it from its foundation in the 8th century BC to today. This course is conducted almost entirely outdoors/on-site, using the city as a living classroom.
Want to try the best pizza in the world, or feast your eyes on high Renaissance art? Get to know Italy through day- or weekend-trips to a variety of important cities and sites like Ostia Antica, Pompeii and Naples, Siena and Florence, and Ravenna, exploring topics such as sustainability, urban planning, art history, antiquities, food and foodways, cultural heritage, and ancient life.
In order to get the most out of a semster abroad, you need to communicate with the locals in their language. This interactive, situation-based course enriches your appreciation of the culture and society by teaching you how to express yourself with essential Italian grammar and vocabulary, giving you more freedom and confidence when shopping, eating, and traveling.
Elective (choice of 2)
Communications and Journalism in Italy
Learn about Italian communications through history, from ancient Rome to the modern Berlusconi-era media. Guest-lecturers include local and international journalists, writers, and bloggers from media outlets such as TIME and The Daily Telegraph. You will also produce a professional portfolio of various writing styles, from blogging to travel and food writing, tourism, news and memoir format.
Social Media, Video, and Cultural Heritage
Explore the intersection between the ancient and modern worlds and how digital media can enhance and refine efforts to preserve, protect, and promote Italy’s enormous cultural heritage. Guest-lecturers include professional photographers, experts in cultural heritage preservation and promotion, film-makers, and experts from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. You will also produce a comprehensive portfolio through hands-on work with digital media (photography, video, social media/networking).
Late Medieval to Baroque Art History
Follow 1000 years of developments in art and architecture within the urban context of Rome, starting with the rise of Christian iconography and the dismantling of the ancient city, concentrating on the extensive restructuring of the urban landscape through massive projects and commissions in the Renaissance, and concluding with the ostentatious layering of decoration and design in the Baroque.
The City of Rome in Television and Cinema
View and analyze more than 20 of the most significant films and television productions featuring the city of Rome, examining the ways in which the Italian and international cinema industries have used the city as a backdrop and a protagonist in stories set in various periods from antiquity through today.
Roman Religions and Art
Follow the socio-political history of the city from its beginnings to its decline and transformation into a Christian center by the sixth century AD, exploring the fundamental components of the religions practiced in Rome through Roman art and its meaning in context, as well as examining the development of the Pagan “savior” cults and the rise of Judaism and Christianity in the city.
Latin and Greek courses at varying levels are also available.
*Electives offered are subject to change depending on total program enrollment each semester and student interest.
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To apply for this program, click here to access the online application form.
For all related inquiries, please contact AIRC's Programming Director Shelley Ruelle.
California State University, Fresno’s Division of Continuing and Global Education is the official school of record and transcripting body for AIRC programs.