Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (ICCS)
This program offers students the opportunity to travel to Rome for a semester in order to study ancient Greco-Roman Humanities, History, Archaeology, and Art, as well as the Italian language. Students will take four or five courses, which include a two-credit course called The Ancient City which covers ancient archaeology and topography, as well as aspects of Roman social history and culture. Students are expected to have a general knowledge of Roman history prior to arrival, and are required to take at least one course in Latin or Greek. Students will be provided housing in the program center, located ten minutes by bus from downtown Rome. Three meals per day are provided by the center. In order to qualify for this program, Reed students must be majoring in Classics or Art History, and must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Priority will be given to students prepared to take courses in intermediate (or higher) level Latin and/or Greek courses. This is a very physical program, including a great deal of walking and climbing while experiencing ancient sites first-hand. Students are asked to consider physical capacity and well-being before applying.
Further info can be found at: http://globaled.duke.edu/Programs/Semester/ICCS_Rome
The academics were solid but not spectacular. The flagship Centro course—Rome: The Ancient City—gives students credits for both Roman History and Roman Topography, but I thought that they did the Topography a lot better than the History. My understanding for Ancient Rome (i.e., its physical layout, the specifics of construction, and the intricacies of its building materials, among other aspects) is better than I think it ever could have been if I had taken this same class at Reed, and I gained irreproducible practice in reading a site and evaluating physical evidence. The "go outside and look at things" aspect of the Centro is wonderful; it was on the "sit inside and attempt to have a conference-style discussion" side that my experience was somewhat subpar. My first day there, for lunch I had the best pizza I have ever had in my life, and for dinner I had my best pasta I ever, and I thought to myself, "It's going to be a pretty good semester." And then a few days went by and the school year started and the Centro ladies (Italian grandmothers who would go shopping every morning, then use those ingredients in that day's food) started cooking for us, and I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. The Centro itself is a five-story building: The kitchen and dining room are in the basement, the classrooms, library, and computer room are on the main floor, the first and second floors are student rooms, and the top floor is a terrace with washing machines, a foosball table, a weight set, and exercise bike, and a pretty sophisticated DVD theater room with a large projection screen and big speakers. I will think more highly of my Reed education as a result of my time abroad, and will value more strongly the commitment to academic rigor that is omnipresent here. Also, I think that spending this time around physical culture will serve as a welcome reminder that these are real people we are talking about, that however much we may intellectualize and analyze their writing and their artwork, they were at bottom real human beings, with real human concerns. It is one thing to read Thucydides on the quarries at Syracuse, yet another to be there in person and feel the searing heat yourself.
I was reasonably happy with the academics. The style of the classes was very different, and the discussions appeared to be aimed very specifically at making sure everyone did the reading rather than at developing any ideas the students may have dared to have. The language classes, on the other hand, were almost identical to Reed's, and were done at essentially the same level. The art history class was pure lecture, which was, in many ways, a refreshing change, but it requires different skills to succeed in it than in most Reed classes. Housing is pretty good. Clean and well-maintained, and the food, of course, is excellent. The building is close to a park, and a short ride from downtown. Sharing a room again was a bother, but not much of one and it worked out in all cases I'm aware of in my semester. It's a great program. I highly recommend it if someone wants to go abroad in the Classics. Spring is also a good time to go. Some of the earlier trips are a bit chilly, but Sicily is very nice, and Campaignia is pleasantly warm without being stifling.