Florence, Italy

Tuscany is renowned throughout the world for its art, history and beautiful landscape. Florence lies like a jewel in the heart of Tuscany, compact and teeming with piazzas, palaces, churches, museums and markets. Here, in the center of Italy, you will walk in the footsteps of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Petrarch and Dante.
As you walk the narrow and hand-hewn streets, absorb the magnificence of the medieval and renaissance architecture and the beauty of the sculptures that adorn walls and stand in the loggias of their grand piazzas.
Learn the way of Italian living from the lively and intellectual Florentines as you rub elbows with them in small “caffe” bars while enjoying the local cappuccino and panini. Your Italian ‘Life and Culture’ instructor will help set the stage and serve as your ‘cultural informant’.
-AIFS student
“Changed my perceptions,
my expectations and my life!”

Video Preview of Florence 2013


Faculty Elizabeth Donley has taught basic writing, composition, literature, and creative writing courses in the English Department at Clark College for almost ten years. She has also developed and taught courses in the online and hybrid modalities and believes that the most effective learning environment is one that is student-centered. Her graduate degrees are from Chapman University, where she earned an MA in English and an MFA in creative writing. Elizabeth also earned a BA in political science with a minor in Italian from DePaul University. While a student at DePaul, she participated in the foreign study program in Florence, Italy where she studied Italian art, literature, and the Italian language through the Dante Alighieri Scuola Linguistica. Her time in Italy was transformative, and after returning from her foreign study trip, she visited Italy three additional times, traveling from the cities of the north to the island of Sicily in the south. She also spent considerable time visiting other countries, including France, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Inspired by her travels, Elizabeth started writing fiction, and today, she is an accomplished fiction writer whose short fiction appears in literary journals like ZYZZYVA. Her work has also been awarded an Oregon Literary Fellowship, a Caldera Residency, and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. Elizabeth is looking forward to imparting her love for Italy’s art, culture, literature, and history on her students and hopes they too will experience the transformative power of foreign study.


Students take 15 credits and register at their home college before departure.

HUMAN 250- Italian Life and Culture (5 credits) is required of all students. The Italian language part of this class is taught by local Italian instructors focusing on beginners’ level Italian language and the cultural part of the class is taught by an English speaking instructor and English-speaking guest lecturers focusing on and including separate lectures on historical, political, economic and cultural aspects of Italy and Florence.

English 111 – Introduction to Literature (5 credits) This class is an introduction to poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and dramatic literature and to the principles of literary analysis. Using Italian literature as our focus–and especially works by Florentine writers–we will read some of the great works of Italian literature, starting with Boccaccio and Dante and weaving our way through the poems of Petrarch, the fiction of Pratolini, the drama of Pirandello, and the non-fiction of Machiavelli and Vasari. Most of these works will allow us to use Florence as a textbook, exploring, for example, the frescoes of Giotto about which Vasari writes, the Via Del Corno on which Partolini’s novel is set, and the ancient churches and buildings in which Dante once glimpsed the woman who inspired his famous poems.

English 236 – Creative Writing I (5 credits) This course focuses on the fundamentals of writing fiction with an emphasis on short fiction. Conducted in a writing workshop format, students read, write, and critique fiction. Reading assignments will focus on works of expatriate writers and how literary devices, such as setting, are used. Writing exercises will take us onto the cobblestone streets of Florence where student will try to capture the sounds, smells, and sights of this historic city. In workshop, we will critique the student-created works, and the culmination of the course will be a fiction reading in which students share their work at a public venue in Florence.



  • Two fully equipped seminar rooms
  • Each has a television, OHP, slide projectors, multi-media projectors, US format VCR and DVD player, CD player, easels for art classes and white boards
  • Flexible format including lecture, studio and seminar style
  • Classes are well-lit and quiet

Student Facilities

Computer lounge with internet access wireless capability mailboxes for all students.


Membership with borrowing rights to the British Institute Library, the largest collection of English – language books in Italy.


Sienna/ San Gimignano
One of Italy’s most enchanting cities, Sienna is home of the exciting festival and race, the Palio. Spend a full day exploring the narrow streets and the wealth of artwork contained in its museums and churches. Includes guided tour with an English-speaking guide and roundtrip transportation by private motor coach.
Independent Travel
Use free weekends to travel in Italy and to Europe’s great cities. AIFS’s local staff will assist you in choosing your destination and transportation.
Cultural Activities Program
All students may participate in a specially designed cultural activities program that will include visits to many of Florence’s famous sites and cultural venues including such activities as walking tours, cooking classes, wine tasting lectures, ballet, soccor matches, concerts , and film nights.
Students live in furnished apartments with cooking facilities in the Historical Center of Florence within 30 minutes walking radius of the Study Cenetr. Each apartment will have 4 students with two students per bedroom.   A change of linen will be provided along with a regular cleaning service. Adequate utlilities will be provided up to a normal consumption for the duration of the program.

Financial Aid

Finacial aid can be used to pay for the tuition part of this program. Often more funds are available. For more information, contact the financial aid office.


The Gilman Scholarship is available to students who qualify for financial aid. Please go to the home page and click on scholarships for more information. The Vanessa Andrews scholarship is also avalaible.

WCCCSA Scholarship Terms: One recipient will be selected for the WCCCSA Study Abroad program in Florence, Italy. The scholarship in the amount of $2500 must be applied toward the program fee which will be verified with the office coordinating this program. See your campus coordiantor for an application.

Estimated Costs
$6, 945 with 20-25 students
  • Housing in 2 bedroom apartments, linens , cleaning, and utilities
  • Museum pass for each student for the duration of the program with unlimited entry to the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia, Bargello, Pitti Palace, San Marco Museum and Medici Chapel
  • Free wireless Internet access in the Study Center Monday-Friday during class hours plus a card to use at a chain of Internet centers in Florence.
  • Membership to the British Institute Library.
  • Day trips to Sienna and San Gimignano with guide
  • Welcome dinner, walking tour, orientation to Florence
  • Support staff in Florence with 24-hour emergency duty phone service.
  • Weekly cultural activities
  • Italian language and culture course
Not Included
  • estimated optional airfare $1,204.00
  • BC tuition ($1055.00 for 15 credits) and books
  • food
  • $250 refundable damage deposit


  • March 21-May 31, 2013
  • Deadline for payment :  December 14, 2013  if you choose the group air or , January 18, 2013 if you make your own flight arrangements.
  • Orientation: February 9, 2013
Posted in WCCCSA Program