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SAO Food and Culture in Rome
Rome, Italy
Program Terms: Fall Semester,
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:


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

First Steps
What is an Illinois Center?
The City of Rome
Academic Environment
Onsite Support
Returned Study Abroad Student Reflections
Additional Program Resources
Application Process
Contact Information

General Study Abroad Information

Program Cost and Advance Fees
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Health, Safety, Pre-Departure
Passport/Visa Information
Withdrawal, Change, and Cancellation Policy

Watch the Study Abroad First Steps Video Series or attend a First Steps Info Session
When you begin thinking about studying abroad, it’s important that you review all of your resources to help you make informed decisions. What kind of housing would you like? How long would you like to go for? What region of the world is tempting you? What kind of on-site support will you need? All this and more can be found by following steps 1-4 on the Getting Started Link to make sure the Food and Culture in Rome program is the right program for you!
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What is an Illinois Center?
Located in various countries around the world, Illinois Centers for Global Learning and Engagement represent the premier sites for study abroad developed by the University of Illinois over the past forty years. At each Center, you encounter a personalized and guided learning experience introducing you to new languages, cultures, and academic areas. To learn more about Illinois Centers, click here.

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The City of Rome
With nearly 2.8 million residents, Rome is the fifth most populous city in the European Union. Known as the Eternal City, Rome is one of the oldest cities in Europe with a history that spans more than two and a half thousand years. Monumental structures such as the Colosseum and Pantheon date back to the early days of the Roman Empire. As the capital of Italy, Rome is currently home to many works of art such as the Trevi Fountain and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Away from the big sites, Rome reveals a quieter, more intimate side with winding side roads, cafes, restaurants, and parks.
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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

Note: As a study abroad participant through a University of Illinois approved program, once you are accepted to the program, you will be required to go through a Course Approval Process. During this process, the courses you plan on taking abroad will be evaluated by a 299 Advisor for Illinois credit (the credit can then be used to fulfill major, minor, general education, or elective credit, depending on the approval of the advisor). Details about this process will be provided once you are accepted to a program. 

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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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Roma Rentals in Rome will arrange accommodations for the Food and Culture in Rome program. Students will live in groups of 3-6 in self-catering apartments shared with other Illinois participants from their program. Apartments are located within about two miles of school; students may walk or use public transportation (e.g., buses, subway). 

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Returned Study Abroad Student Reflections
Scanned PA Sheets


Returnee Video


Contact former Study Abroad students

Having trouble deciding on a location? Unsure about what to pack, or which classes to take? Send an email to someone who has been there! Our returnees love talking about their time abroad, so send them an email! 

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Additional Program Resources
Before You Leave

The “Before You Leave” section on our website provides you with information on what to pack, money abroad, transportation, communicating with family members while abroad, and even what to do the day of your departure. 

Country videos

Check out our Flickr album of photos taken by students while abroad in Italy! 

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Country links

Country CultureGram
CultureGrams are concise, reliable, and up-to-date information on more than 200 countries. They go beyond mere facts and figures and try to deliver an insider’s perspective on daily life and culture, including history, customs, and lifestyles of the country in mind. Visit Italy’s CultureGram here!

username: World
password: Verona
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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
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Signature Verification Form
  • Online questionnaires 
Additional information and supplemental requirements will follow once you are accepted to the program.
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Contact Information
Adam Heinz
Advisor for Food and Culture in Rome
Study Abroad Office (SAO)
910 South Fifth Street
112 International Studies Building
Champaign, IL 61820
Hours of operation: Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 4:45pm.  

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Program Cost and Advance Fees
For an Unofficial Budget of this program, please scroll to the top of this page and find the box labeled “Budget Sheets,” and click on the semester during which you want to participate. Please read through the Unofficial Budget information, which also includes information on Financial Aid, and Scholarships.
All students should be aware that once they are accepted to a program, they will be charged a non-refundable $305 fee to reserve their place on the program.
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Financial Aid and Scholarships
Because this program is sponsored by the University of Illinois, financial aid can be applied to the cost of the program. The amount of financial aid that is applicable to study abroad will depend on your financial aid package. Since there are many variables that determine how your financial aid package applies to study abroad, it is best that you consult with a financial aid advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss your individual financial aid package. 
In addition to financial aid, there are alternatives to funding your time abroad. Click here to learn more about our over $850,000 in scholarship opportunities. One scholarship that everyone is eligible for is the Illinois for Illinois (I4I) Scholarship. For more information, click here.
For more information about general costs, tips, and advice, please watch the First Steps Cost, Financial Aid, and Scholarship videos found here for tips and advice.

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Health, Safety, Pre-Departure
The health and safety of students abroad is something that the University of Illinois takes very seriously, which is why the Study Abroad Office provides services that range from international insurance coverage to a 24-hour phone line to speak to an Advisor on Duty. These services can be found on our website.
Pre-Departure Orientation

All students are required to attend an all-day Pre-Departure Orientation the semester before their term abroad. The exact date, time, and location will be given to students post-acceptance so that they can arrange for their attendance at this orientation. During this orientation, topics such as Culture Shock, health and safety scenarios, and other helpful pre-departure information will be presented. This is also a really great opportunity to talk about packing, meet other classmates on a program, and talk to returnees who have already been to the host country. 

Additionally, students are required to sign off on a Health and Safety Orientation, and are encouraged to read through the Safety and Security section of our website which includes topics from road safety and keeping your valuables and money safe, to nontraditional student identities while abroad.
This link includes information on our 24-hour emergency service, health matters, insurance, and safety and security

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Passport/Visa Information
You must have a valid passport to participate on this program. If you do not already have a passport, or if it needs to be renewed, you must begin that process now, even before program acceptance. 
You may also be required to get a visa for your program.  Please consult the host country’s consulate website or a visa agency to determine whether or not a visa is required to travel to your destination country or countries. For more information, please visit our Passport & Visa page here.

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Withdrawal, Change, and Cancellation Policy
To withdraw, change, or cancel your participation in a study abroad program, please visit this link to view the Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2014 09/15/2013 
Rolling Admission 01/16/2014 05/17/2014
Fall Semester 2014 04/01/2014 
Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Spring Semester 2015 06/15/2014 06/16/2014 01/15/2015 05/16/2015

** 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