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  • Locations: Rome, Italy
  • Program Terms: Winter Quarter
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Rome, Italy
Winter Quarter 2018
January 3 - March 9, 2018
 Estimated    Program Fee $7,500 
 Credits 15 UW credits
 Prerequisites N/A
 Program      Directors Valerie Manusov, Andrea Otanez
 Program Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline May 1, 2017
 Information  Session(s) Contact Program Director for more information.
  General Using observational and journalistic methods, students will explore Rome and its surroundings, focusing specifically on the interplay between history, culture, communication and contemporary life. 
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

Communication and Culture in Rome is a 15-credit program offered through the Department of Communication. Students will take a 12-credit intensive fieldwork course co-taught by Valerie Manusov and Andrea Otanez, each of whom brings a unique perspective on observing people in diverse spaces and reporting and analyzing those observations to diverse audiences. Using observational and journalistic methods, students will explore Rome and its surroundings, focusing specifically on the interplay between public space, culture, history, communication and contemporary life. Half of the class time will be spent learning foundational theoretical and methodological tools; the other half will be spent carefully observing life in and around Rome. In addition to work completed during class, students will write various reports and produce multimedia stories or other journalistic essays based on extensive observations and sensory reporting of assigned field sites.

To facilitate students' transition to Rome, the program also includes a 3-credit intensive Italian language course during weeks 2-4. Students will learn some basic tools for interacting with people in order to accomplish day-to-day tasks.

The program includes excursions to many sites in and around Rome and in other parts of Italy.


Rome, Italy


Students will stay in private apartments or UWRC apartments, as arranged by UWRC.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

The program is designed for undergraduate students. An ideal student is a high-achieving, group-oriented sophomore/junior/senior with a well-articulated interest in culture and communication, who is seeking to have a new experience living in a culture different from his/her original culture. We strive for a diverse group of students, so invite applicants from all three campuses and from a wide range of majors (although we give some priority to Communication majors). We seek students whose primary aim is increasing their cultural sensitivity rather than those who want a "fun and easy" travel experience.

There are no prerequisites for the program. Selection will be based on these factors, although not in this order (1) major, (2) class standing, (3) GPA, (4) letters of recommendation, (5) reasons for wanting to participate in this particular program, (6) ability to adapt to new situations, (7) willingness to work with others, (8) previous study abroad experiences, and (9) interview.


15 Credits


COM 486 (12 credits)

Students immerse themselves in communication and culture in Rome. They explore the historical and contemporary connections between Roman culture and communication, particularly as played out in public spaces. Through intensive fieldwork, research, and writing, students acquire skills of observation and understanding that they can apply to navigate their intercultural experiences and to reflect on their personal influence on their interactions.

Learning Goals: 

  • Goal: Students will be able to reflect on how their own cultural experiences and knowledge shape who they are, especially as they see themselves through the counterpoint of their new experiences studying abroad in Rome and other Italian cities.
    • Assessment: Students will demonstrate understanding of theories about culture and communication by connecting the theories to their experiences while studying abroad.
  • Goal: Students will be able to explain "communication" as a multi-faceted activity, including verbal and nonverbal dimensions, and characterize the connection between communication and culture from various perspectives.
    • Assessment: Students will demonstrate their understanding of theories, concepts and methods through informed participation in class sessions and successful completion of quizzes and written and multimedia assignments.
  • Goal: Students will be able to articulate the cultural and historical significance of major and everyday public sites of interaction.
    • Assessment: Students will demonstrate their understanding of interaction at Italian public spaces through their informed participation in class discussion and successful completion of assignments.
  • Goal: Students will be able to describe Rome and its environs as a multi-dimensional cultural space and write observational field notes and journalistic essays based on group-based participant-observation throughout Rome and other Italian cities.
    • Assessment: a. Students will engage in conscientious and effective fieldwork, connecting a theoretical understanding of observational and journalistic methods with careful observations of local culture(s) b. Students will create carefully constructed and complete field notes, journalistic essays, and reports on interaction in assigned public sites in and around Rome and throughout Italy
  • Goal: Students will be able to make an argument about communication and culture in and around Rome based on extensive fieldnotes and supported by careful reading of extant scholarly research.
    • Assessment: Students will produce well-argued observation-based reports for a range of audiences and will support their arguments about communication and culture with extant scholarly research.

COM 499 (3 credits)

Students learn Italian language skills relevant to their everyday life experiences in Rome. The course meets intensively for the first 3 weeks of the program.

Learning Goals: 

Goal: Students become familiar with the Italian language and can conduct simple transactions in Italian. Assessment: Students will be required to evidence their learning in the classroom on exercises and exams, as well as outside of the classroom in everyday interactions.

Program Directors & Staff

Valerie Manusov, Department of Communication, Program Co-Director

Valerie Manusov teaches courses in interpersonal, intercultural, and nonverbal communication. Her research focuses primarily on the ways in which nonverbal events are interpreted and how such discourse represents particular views about the nature of communication, cultural values, relational quality, and other attributes. Currently, she is working on a research team investigating how mindfulness plays out in interpersonal relationships.

Andrea Otanez, Department of Communication, Program Co-Director

Andrea Otanez is the journalism-program coordinator in the Communication department. She teaches multiplatform journalism courses and specializes in representations of Latin@s in mass media. In addition to her teaching career, she has worked as a magazine and newspaper editor, reporter, columnist, as well as a book editor.

Program Expenses

Cost: $7,500

Estimated Program Fee of $7,500, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $40/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,250-$1,500* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 January 19, 2018
Program Fee Balance $7,500 January 19, 2018


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, two recommendations from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.