Brown Experiential Education: Rome

Experience Italian history, art, architecture, language and culture as you explore the Eternal City.

The 2024 BEE program is at or near capacity and is no longer accepting applications or enrollments. You may choose to enroll in any other available course in the 2024 Course Catalog provided that you meet the age requirements.

BEE Rome students having a meal together at a long table

Practice conversational Italian as you delve into Roman history and culture in this twelve day program. You’ll participate in two courses during your time in Rome: Beginner Italian and Making of an Eternal City, offered in affiliation with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (the Centro)

From your home base in the quaint Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood in Italy’s capital, you will learn Italian organically as you order cappuccino and gelato and complete a scavenger hunt. Each day, you’ll visit a variety of historic sites—from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill and Saint Peter’s Basilica—allowing you to analyze their connections to institutions and people and evaluate their importance in the formation of Rome’s distinctive identity.

Program Snapshot


Students completing grades 10 to 12, ages 16 to 18 by June 16, 2024


12 day program


Monday, June 24 to Friday, July 5, 2024


Rome, Italy


  • Immerse yourself in Italian language and culture as you visit historic sites and explore this stunning capital city.
  • Join a community of young scholars discovering the interconnectedness of the global community while experiencing another country.
  • Develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to approach the complexities of the 21st century as you discover new places and consider varied perspectives. 
  • Concentrate on learning without the pressure of formal grades.
  • Receive a Course Performance Report and Certificate of Completion when you finish.


You will participate in two courses during your time in Rome: Immersive Beginning Italian and Making of an Eternal City.

Immersive Beginning Italian 

Why learn Italian only in the classroom when you're in Italy? The city of Rome will be our classroom as this course spills outside for a unique and immersive learning experience. You will learn organically by hearing, reading and speaking in a fun and low-pressure environment. Ordering cappuccino and gelato, as well as a scavenger hunt in the Monteverde neighborhood of Rome, will be part of the coursework. Authentic communicative activities and dynamic language exercises abound as you are encouraged to make use of elementary Italian.

Making of an Eternal City 

Rome, the Eternal City, has been constantly inhabited from the 8th century BC to the present, thus making it one of the richest and most stratified living human settlements. This class explores Rome’s rich history and its impact on the development of modern culture and society. To this end, you will visit archeological sites, museums and churches all around the city. We will explore these sites while analyzing the socio-historical context that produced them, and evaluating their importance in the formation of Rome’s distinctive identity.

During the first week, we shall visit the heart of Rome’s ancient history, the Colosseum, the Palatine and the Forum. Students will also learn the lay of the city, through a walking tour of Rome’s fountains and obelisks (of which there are many!) and through the aid of maps and images available on their textbook. During the second week, the students will visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. They will also learn about the ‘layers’ of Rome at the church of San Clemente, a place used as a religious (pagan and Christian) site for almost two thousand years. The second week will also include a visit to Rome’s most beautiful museum, the Villa Borghese, and a tour of its amazing art collection.  

  • Overall, the course provides an introduction to Rome’s history, its topography but also its landscape of power. Indeed, this class invites students to reflect on how institutions and individuals express power through buildings today and how local history and topography has an impact in their communities’ lived experiences.
  • Located in the quaint Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (the Centro) is the academic and residential center of the program. The Centro is situated on one of the main streets of the Janiculum, near shops and cafés and only minutes from the Piazza Venezia, Vatican City and downtown Rome.
  • The Centro includes classrooms, a library, a kitchen, a dining room and residential rooms. You’ll sleep in shared double rooms, assigned by gender identity, with communal bathrooms. Amenities include air-conditioned classrooms, linens (sheets, pillow, blanket and towels), a laundry room and Wi-Fi throughout the building. You will share a room with one to four peers, grouped by gender identity.
  • The On-Site Director, On-Site Coordinator and Student Life Managers reside in the residence hall with students, providing an atmosphere that supports student success by emphasizing community building and individual responsibility.
  • Meals: During the week, you’ll have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining hall at the students’ residence. On the weekend trip to Tivoli, meals will take place at local eateries.

Site visits are an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in Italian language and culture. Please Note: this is a sample of planned activities and is subject to change.

  • Colosseum: Do you know the expression “bread and circuses”? The Colosseum is the circus! We’ll visit this breathtaking amphitheater and explore its rich history.
  • Forum of Augustus light show: Walk where the Romans walked every day to run errands and keep up on current events: the heart of ancient Rome as designed by its first emperor. Enjoy a vivid light show that gives viewers a sense of what the buildings looked like in antiquity. 
  • San Clemente: Explore the “layers” of Rome in the Basilica of S. Clemente, an 11th-century church—among the most beautiful in Rome.
  • Saint Peter's Basilica: One of the finest churches of Rome, this Renaissance complex dominates the city’s skyline with its large dome and double colonnade that encompasses the large piazza.
  • Palatine Hill: Visit the ruins of the palace of Augustus, the first emperor, and admire the beautiful wall paintings, learning about the different styles and painting techniques.
  • Tivoli: Day trip to one of the most beautiful towns outside Rome, which features the Renaissance Palazzo d’Este, beautiful gardens and the Roman ruins of Hadrian’s Villa.
  • Rome’s Fountains: Walk through Rome and visit some of its most iconic fountains, exploring and understanding the (still working!) Roman aqueduct system.
  • Isola Sacra: One of the most well preserved Roman sites, the funerary grounds of Isola Sacra, near Ostia, are an exceptional testimony of how the ancient Romans experienced life and death.
  • Palazzo Massimo: Discover one of the hidden gems of Rome! This off-the-beaten-path museum displays a remarkable collection of Roman art and frescoes.

Program Photos

Program Director

Note: This information is for Brown Pre-College’s BEE Program for high school students. If you are looking for information about Brown Semester Internship Programs, Brown’s semester-long internship program for undergraduates, please follow this link.