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SAO Rome Center: Food and Culture
Rome, Italy (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring Semester
Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Restrictions: Illinois applicants only
Budget Sheets Fall Semester,
Spring Semester
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
Illinois Sponsor:
Study Abroad Office (campus-wide)
Credit or Not for Credit:
For credit
Program Description:
SPRING 2015 Final Deadline: September 15th

Rome F&C
- An Illinois Center for Global Learning and Engagement
Program Overview
The Food and Culture in Rome program focuses on the critical study of culture, systems and politics of food in Italy. The courses offered in each semester will have unique elements, providing memorable experiences for the cohort of students.

During the fall semester, students will study the history and continued success of Italian food and lifestyle. Course subjects will encompass hands-on food production of olive oil, wine, and cheese; critical review of the marketing of Italian food and tourism industry; the sustainability of Italian food systems; and analysis of the Mediterranean diet. Lectures and studies will be supplemented with hands-on experiences in regional farms, wineries, and travels to locations in northern and southern Italian regions.

During the spring semester, students will study food media and communications, architecture of ancient Rome, art history, social dynamics, economy, and the language and culture of Italy. In-class learning is complemented with visits to study specific sites and locations, the production of a film documentary, cooking lessons, and group work with other students from Italian universities in Rome.

Quick Links

Program Specific Information

Academic Environment
Onsite Support
Application Process
Resources and Contact Information
Program Dates

General Study Abroad Information

Program Cost, Financial Aid & Scholarships (*Please note that program-specific costs are available through the "Budget Sheet" link at the top of this page.)
Health & Safety Information

Passport/Visa Information


Academic Environment
Where you will study

For this program, the University of Illinois has partnered with the Gustolab Institute Center for Food and Culture and the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in Rome.

Students take most of their courses at the Gustolab Institute Center for Food and Culture. Gustolab Institute is an academic institution located in the historical center of Rome, mere steps away from the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci and other major points of interest. Gustolab designs programs of study on Food Studies and Italian culture. Gustolab has established a concrete network of experts and professionals in the field of Italian Food Studies, communication, nutrition, architecture and culture.

Participants attend Scuola Leonardo da Vinci for the Italian language classes. Located in the historical center of Rome, Scuola Leonardo da Vinci has welcomed students from all over the world since 1977 (98 nationalities were represented in 2006). Since Scuola Leonardo da Vinci hosts programs for schools worldwide, University of Illinois participants will have the opportunity to meet students from other American and international universities.

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci is dedicated to educating students about Italian language and culture. In addition to language classes, Scuola Leonardo da Vinci offers many cultural opportunities outside of the classroom.

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Class size

Classes will be relatively small with 12-15 students per class.


Courses will be taught in English but all students are required to enroll in an Italian language course. 


Students studying during either the fall or spring semester will experience a challenging and fulfilling course load. Both semesters will have the opportunity to learn about unique aspects of Italian culture, and current trends and challenges experienced in Italian culture. Courses will offer students an opportunity to critically analyze American and Italian similarities and differences. The following table lists courses offered each semester, and the UIUC equivalency for each course. To learn more about course decriptions, select the pdf listed below the table.

Fall Courses Spring Courses
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems:
ACES 1xx
Food and Culture in Italy:
FSHN 100
Psychology, Science and Politics of 
Mediterranean Diet:  ACES 1xx
Contemporary Italy: Culture and Society:   
SOC 200
Olive Oil and Wine Production: Nutrition,
Culture, & Communication: ACES 1xx
Layers of Rome:
HIST 300
Food Marketing and Business: Italian Food,
Hospitality and Tourism: BADM 3xx
Food and Media:
MACS 200
Italian Lexicon for Food Studies Elementary Italian I or II:
ITAL 101 or 102

For more information on courses offered during the Fall Program in Rome: Rome Food and Culture Fall Courses.pdf

For more information on courses offered during the Spring Program in Rome: ROME_COURSELIST.pdf

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A major component of this program is the educational site visits around Rome and Italy. "Food and Culture" includes a winery visit and "Layers of Rome" incorporates many excursions in and near Rome. Here are just some of the places students will visit during the semester:

In Rome: Republican Temples at the Forum Boarium, Colosseum, Pantheon, Ara Pacis Museum, Late Antique and Medieval Churches, St. Peter's Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Basilica of San Clemente, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Delevopment), and WFP (World Food Programme)

 In Italy: Castello Arechi (a medieval castle), Paestum Greek Temples, Acqua Antica resort in the Agropoli area, Pompei Ruins, Ancient Ostia (the harbor city of ancient Rome) 

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Onsite Support
Each Illinois Center has an onsite resident director whose purpose is to support you both inside and outside of the classroom during your time abroad.
Pier Alberto MerliPier Alberto Merli

Pier Alberto graduated in Philosophy from the University of Florence and received his doctorate in Economics at the European University of Florence. He dedicates his life’s work to the Italian language and culture. Since the early 1990s, he has collaborated with study abroad programs for various American universities and colleges.


Sonia Massari

Sonia Massari

Sonia holds a Laurea in Communication Studies from Siena University. She received her Ph.D. in Information and Communication Technologies from the Electronic Engineering Department of the University of Florence. Sonia loves to teach and design unique and unforgettable experiences for her students. 

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Illinois participants will stay in apartments in the Prati area in Rome in partnership with our housing provider - Your Place in Rome. Apartments are located within about two miles of school; students may walk or use public transportation (e.g., buses, subway). 

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Application Process

To participate in the program you must be an undergraduate with sophomore, junior, or senior standing and have an overall GPA of at least 2.8. 

Language requirements: None. However, you are encouraged to take ITAL 101 on campus before you leave, as even a small knowledge of the Italian language will greatly enhance your experience abroad. For information on Italian on campus, you can contact Prof. Eleonora Stoppino in the Italian Department.

Priority will be given to applicants with high academic standing who have a recommendation in which particular emphasis is placed on scholastic achievements, and in whose essays the relevance of the program to specific academic and professional goals is demonstrated. This is an academically-focused program and strong essays will focus specifically on this theme. 


Dates and Deadlines

All requirements must be completed by the Study Abroad Office deadlines: online materials are due by 11:59 PM on the deadline date; paper materials are due by 4:45 PM the following business day. Preference will be given to students applying by the priority deadlines. 

Spring Semester Programs
Priority Deadline: June 15
Final Deadline: September 15
Summer/Fall/Academic Year Programs
Priority Deadline: January 15
Final Deadline: February 15 

How to Apply

Please click the Create App button (found at the top-right of this page) to apply. Note that you will be charged a non-refundable $25 application fee by clicking Create App and logging in.

The Food and Culture in Rome application requires:
  • Official transcript
  • 1 letter of recommendation (must be from an academic advisor, TA, or professor)
  • Personal essay in English
  • Online questionnaires 
Additional information and supplemental requirements will follow once you are accepted to the program.
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Resources and Contact Information
Walk-In Advising Hours
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Study Abroad Office Resource Center (112 International Studies Building)
First Steps Info Sessions:

Click here for the dates and times of the First Steps Info Sessions.
Mainland Europe Program Advisor

Kristen Stout
Location and Mailing Address:

Study Abroad Office
910 South Fifth Street
112 International Studies Building
Champaign, IL 61820


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Program Dates

Please review the program dates below:

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2015 09/15/2014
Rolling Admission 01/16/2015 05/16/2015
Spring Semester 2016 09/15/2015 09/15/2015 TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed