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Programs : Brochure

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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 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.

If you are interested in studying at our Rome Center during another term, you may find the following brochures helpful:

Fall Term: IAGE Illinois in Italy: Rome - Sustainable Italian Food Systems (Fall)
Summer Term: IAGE Illinois in Italy: Rome - Study and Intern on Food in Italy (Summer)


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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 that every student will take. Also listed is the UIUC equivalency for each course. To learn more about course decriptions, select the pdf listed below the table.

Gustolab Course Illinois Credit Number of Illinois Credits
Food & Culture in Italy FSHN 100-level 3 credits
Food & Media MACS 200-level 3 credits
Layers of Rome HIST 300-level 3 credits
Contemporary Italian Society SOC 200-level 3 credits
Italian Language for Food Studies ITAL 101 or 102 4 credits

For more information on courses offered during the Spring Program in Rome: UIUC - SPRING -Academic Program.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, cheese slow food farms, 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, and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization).

 In Italy: Mediterranean diet tour in Cilento: Buffalo Mozzarella farm,  Minerva gardens, Paestum Greek temples, Meeting with fishermen

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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 BA and an MA in Communication Studies from Siena University.  She received her Ph.D. in Food Systems and Interaction Design, 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 Rome in partnership with our housing provider - Your Place in Rome.

The Program offers the housing option of shared rooms in self-catering apartments to share with other Illinois students. They will vary in terms of their locations, as well of the number of bedrooms and amenities they contain. The number of roommates in an apartment may also vary (three, four or six). The apartments are all located in a central part of the city. You can expect a maximum commute time of 20-25 minutes to get from your apartment to school.   

The apartments are equipped with washing machines, and an internet connection will be available. Dryers are not available since they are not commonly used in Italy (we use the drying rack - STENDINO in Italian). Blankets and pillows are provided, and the kitchens in the apartments are furnished with pots, pans, dishes and cutlery.


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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 Illinois Abroad Office deadlines: online materials are due by 11:59 PM on the deadline date.

*See official deadlines at the bottom of this page.

How to Apply

Please click the Apply Now button (found at the top-right of this page) to apply. Note that you will be charged a non-refundable $100 Study Abroad Systems Fee by clicking Apply Now 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 statement 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
Illinois Abroad Advising and Resource Center (112 International Studies Building)
First Steps Workshops:

Click here for the dates and times of the First Steps Workshops.
Program Advisor

Stacy Billman
Location and Mailing Address:

Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange
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:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2018 10/01/2017
10/06/2017 01/19/2018 05/12/2018
Spring Semester 2019 09/15/2018 09/16/2018 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed