Rome & Istanbul Semester Program


The SoA offers an annual Spring semester program based in Rome and Istanbul for our eligible fourth-year undergraduate students, a program sited in two of the most architecturally significant cities in the world:

ROME: Working from our studio in the historic center, students spend 3 months immersed within a city unprecedented in its architectural and urban history. Making use of this city as a vast in situ classroom, Rome’s historic center affords our students a densely layered urban laboratory. Simultaneously, the contemporary metropolis of Rome offers up myriad lessons concerning global forces shaping major metropolitan centers throughout the industrialized world. Living in this city – becoming attuned to its daily routines ­– students become enmeshed by the living culture of Rome, one in which design -- in its myriad manifestations -- enjoys a central significance and ubiquitous visibility. 

ISTANBUL: Following their time in Rome, students spend 3 weeks exploring the dazzling urban tapestry that is Istanbul, a city straddling two continents and often referred to as the ‘Crossroads of the World’. While there, our students work in teams together with Turkish architecture students on a weeklong design workshop, with a focus on characteristic urbanistic and cultural topics specific to Istanbul. The program finishes up with a weeklong field trip visiting the ancient cities along Türkiye’s Aegean Coast.

photo from italy program 1

Studying abroad in both Rome and Istanbul allowed me to experience things I never could have imagined. Learning and observing the history, culture, and architecture of both countries has helped me grow as a student and future architect. Making Rome my ‘home’ for 3 months, studying the city's architecture in person, and becoming fully immersed in the culture (including of course, the food), was life-changing, as was experiencing many other cities and small towns through class trips, and working on a project alongside fellow architecture students from a Turkish university (providing us with great guides of Istanbul and new friends). I look back on this semester as a time that I learned a lot, both in and out of the classroom and I realized the extensive possibilities of my role as an architect. - Megan Fowler 

The Rome and Istanbul study abroad programs were a life-changing experience and a critical addition to my education. In addition to experiencing the culture and societies of those we visited, we got to learn about their concepts of space, form, and architectural ornament from some of the best professors in the field! I wouldn’t trade the lessons learned and experiences I had with my classmates for anything, and would recommend others to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity during their education. Invest in yourself and see what the world has to offer for you. - Allen Tucker

photo from italy program 2


Living and studying in Italy definitely opened my mind to new possibilities. I honestly did not know what to expect, leaving America for the first time and living somewhere completely new, thousands of miles away from everything I know. But thanks to my support system of classmates and professors, the transition went smoothly and before I knew it it felt like I'd been living there for years. I am extremely grateful for not just the opportunity to visit another country, but to live there and participate in day-to-day life. - Christine Lauture

The most significant advantage of a study abroad program is the chance to experience a different culture firsthand. By living in a new country students are exposed to new traditions, cultures, and languages. My time in Rome was packed with unmeasurable memories with friends and other students. The study abroad program has allowed me access to unique academic resources and gained exposure to new teaching methods. The city's architectural design challenges your existing knowledge and perception, offering opportunities to explore the unfamiliar and embrace novel experiences; winding paths, large plazas, and ancient ruins are all immersed into one city. Academics aside, I was able to venture into the city and learn from the people themselves. Being a native Spanish speaker, it was easier to understand the language and try to start a conversation. This led to countless hours in shops, markets, and even getting a personal barber in the three months spent there. - Heloys Gomez


My time in Italy has inspired my work as an architecture student by encouraging me to consider the effects of my work more carefully on future generations to come. For example, Italy surrounds its visitors in architecture, having winding alleyways, ancient footpaths, and expansive public piazzas, and other planning elements designed for the pedestrian which had me rethink the American model of designing for cars. This study abroad experience has allowed me to really immerse myself in another culture, another language, another world. The main impression of my study abroad experience is to soak in as much as I can, and to embrace the concept of living a well-rounded life instead of simply surviving. - Sydney Garceau

Being able to study abroad was quite literally the greatest experience of my life. I was the first to venture outside of the US in my family, and now that I've gotten a taste of it, I have to do it again. Italy is a place that you can't experience in pictures. Being surrounded by all of that beauty and history is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The curriculum is great. There were walking tours that made learning history exciting, amazing food, and wonderful field trips. I even made sure to test out my Italian at every opportunity possible! If I could give any piece of advice, it would be this: do everything in your power to make sure that you go. - Briaunna Boyd




Contact program director and Associate Professor Jeff Balmer.


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For additional information, please visit our Instagram, @rsoa_roma!