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London & Florence: Arts in Context

London, England & Florence, Italy
In association with the Beloit College Florence Program

London is Europe’s largest city, a vast multicultural capital and an epicenter of international finance, politics, and culture.  The modern city reveals a dynamic past in which theatre and the visual arts flourish in a variety of forms and venues.  The center of Florence, on the other hand, can be traversed, and indeed circumnavigated, quickly.  Its compression allows students a quite different opportunity to study the arts in context, particularly painting, architecture, and sculpture, all seminal to later achievements across Europe and the west.  While London and Florence are of course very different cities, both are vibrant European environments where their differing artistic achievements continue to flourish. 

The London & Florence: Arts in Context program offers students a singular opportunity to live and study in two of the world’s most important and exciting cultural capitals.  This interdisciplinary program focuses on the arts that have made these two cities central to the heritage of the West: the visual arts, on the one hand, in architecture, painting, sculpture; and the literary arts, on the other, in theatre and literature.  Students will live and study in two urban environments that have continued to fascinate visitors and scholars alike for their ongoing vitality over many centuries.  While they learn about the past and how each city came to foster such extraordinary creativity in the arts, students will become temporary residents of a living, thriving urban environment.  Students will see how each city works, day to day, even while they investigate how each city has functioned in the past as an artistic center.  By traveling its cityscape, patronizing its theatres, visiting its museums, its public spaces and marketplaces, students will develop a sense of the ongoing vitality of both London and Florence.  Each city will become for students a living laboratory, a text to be read and understood. 

Three program lengths

  • 18-week option (Florence first, with intensive language): Students start the semester with a 3-week program of intensive Italian language instruction in January.  They remain in Florence for an additional 7 weeks (10 weeks, in total).  After a one-week break, they move to London for 7 weeks.
  • 15-week option: Students choose to start in either London or Florence in late January.  They spend 7 weeks in the first location, have a one-week break, then spend 7 weeks in the second  location.  While in Florence, they take the standard Italian language class, but not the additional intensive class.
  • 10-week option (Florence only, winter quarter/trimester): Students participate in only the 10-week Florence portion of the program (January-March), which includes the additional intensive Italian instruction.  This option is typically for students at schools using a quarter/trimester calendar who would only like to spend one term off-campus. 

While in London, students take two courses - one focused on walking the city and exploring how contemporary London reveals a dynamic past, and another focused on theatre, seeing different plays on London’s varied stages.  Students in Florence take three courses in art history and aspects of Italian history and culture, including Italian language.  Florence itself is an easily managed forum, a living site that holds visible monuments to its towering artistic achievements, which students will daily investigate.  Students will spend seven weeks in each city, with a one-week break between the two segments for independent travel.  For students particularly interested in Italian language, the 18-week option includes an additional three weeks of intensive Italian language instruction in January, prior to the start of the rest of the coursework.  Students will also have some long weekends for travel on their own within Britain and Italy, as well as group travel as part of the program to cities in each country, especially pertinent to a deepened study of the arts in a larger national context.

In both cities, students will live in site-appropriate circumstances: in London, students will share apartment-style lodgings in the heart of the metropolis; in Florence, students will live with Italian families and will study Italian.  Each half of the program, then, makes use of the strengths of its locales, and each city provides students with its own unique learning environment.

For more detailed information, please use the links located on the left-hand side of this page.

The Beloit College Florence Program is registered with the Italian Ministry for Universities and Research and recognized as a private non-profit institution of higher education in Italy.  Beloit College is a founding affiliate of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) and a member of the American Association of College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI).  The Beloit College Florence Program is facilitated in the U.S. by the ACM on behalf of Beloit College and the other ACM affiliates.  


Quick Facts

  • Terms: Spring semester & winter quarter/trimester (Jan-March)
  • Language prerequisite: None
  • Language of instruction: English (plus Italian language class)
  • Living arrangements: Host family & dormitory
  • Who can apply? Students from any college or university

Application deadlines

Winter/spring 2016

Early deadline: March 15, 2015
Do I need to apply early?
The early application date is available for students whose college requires that all off-campus study applications for the entire upcoming academic year must be completed the prior spring semester. If your college does not require a spring decision for programs the following spring, you may apply by either the early or final application deadline.

Final deadline: October 15, 2015

Winter/spring 2017

Early deadline: March 15, 2016
Do I need to apply early?
The early application date is available for students whose college requires that all off-campus study applications for the entire upcoming academic year must be completed the prior spring semester. If your college does not require a spring decision for programs the following spring, you may apply by either the early or final application deadline.

Final deadline: October 15, 2016

If the deadline has passed and you are interested in applying, contact the ACM Office immediately. Late applications may be accepted on a space-available basis.

Program contacts

Lindsey Wolf
Program Associate

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312.561.5908

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Publications & Resources

London & Florence program brochure

London & Florence student handbook - Spring 2015

London & Florence: Arts in Context

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Artie Foster My choice to participate in the ACM London & Florence program was not merely one of the best choices of my college career, but of my entire life. Even though I had been planning on studying abroad since I was in high school, nothing could have prepared me for the excitement, challenges, and rewards this trip would provide to me. Whether the day’s itinerary involved a walking tour of one of Florence’s many historical sites, a trip across the English countryside, or even something as simple as free time to wander on your own, I can honestly say not a day was wasted during my four-month long stay. The cities were beautiful, the people accommodating, the history rich, and the adventures abundant. And don’t even get me started on the food – I don’t want to make anyone jealous, but I’ll never look at an Olive Garden the same way again. However, it wasn’t just the trip itself, but the company you keep that really defines your experience. The 20 students on my trip, though we come from different backgrounds, homes, and social circles, came to love one another like family (whether we liked it or not). It feels as though I could praise the London & Florence program endlessly, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll leave it at this: simply put, it doesn’t get better than this trip.

—Artie Foster, London & Florence, Spring 2013

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