Rome Semester Program

ROME Semester Program

In the Spring 2018, the SoA launched an annual, semester-length study program based in Rome, intended for students in their fourth year. This program rests on three strengths: an extraordinary urban setting with tangible evidence of 25 centuries of architecture and public space, a vibrant cultural environment where design enjoys an elevated status in everyday life, and experienced SoA faculty, joined by local Roman scholars and practitioners. 

Learning from this city, students will engage with one of the most resonant cultural environments in the world. Unprecedented in its continuity and duration, Rome’s historic center affords students a densely layered urban laboratory, while the contemporary city offers up myriad lessons toward understanding global forces now shaping major metropolitan centers throughout the industrialized world.

Living in this city – walking its streets to and from studio, shopping for dinner, becoming increasingly attuned to its rhythms, its peculiarities, its quotidian 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. Living within such a culture comes as something of a revelation, and can provide a lifetime’s worth of inspiration.

“The courses I took while in Rome exposed me to its immense culture from many different angles. The mapping class helped me to experience lesser-known areas of the city through the study of movement and occupation patterns in space. While focusing on real-time occurrences in the field, we also focused on the development of places over time in connection to the patterns that we discovered. Similarly, the graphic design course pushed me to study my surroundings mindfully. I was trained to think critically about the cultural differences within the city’s society and then taught how to represent my reactions in a visual manner. Overall this experience has left me with an abundance of new skills and perspectives that I look forward to utilizing in the future.” Kacie Ward, architecture student

“I chose to study abroad to be able to learn about and be immersed in a completely new culture and way of life. I had the opportunity, through one of my projects, to meet locals who grew up and lived in the community where we stayed in Rome and who shared their lives and stories with me. That was one of the most interesting and unique experiences during my time because I got to listen to first hand memories and learn in depth about the people who live in our small Italian neighborhood. Being able to study abroad gave me a universal perspective that not everyone can have. It has made me appreciate the vast differences in culture and people in various parts of the world and see things from a new and enlightened perspective.” Maddie Kiebel, graphic design student

Inquiries: Jeff Balmer, Associate Professor, School of Architecture

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