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Off-Campus Study

ACM Florence: Arts, Humanities & Culture

The Florence program seeks to give students the ability to read a city, by immersion in Florence’s extraordinary legacy of Renaissance art and culture.  Students learn how to view Italian architecture and works of art in situ and how to understand them in the contexts in which they were created.  In addition to a required Italian language course, students choose from course offerings in Renaissance art history, Italian culture, and studio art.  Offered each fall semester, the program begins in late August with an academic orientation comprised of a four-week intensive Italian language course, lectures on aspects of contemporary Italy, and introductory meetings with background readings for the elective classes.  With the exception of the Italian language course, all courses are conducted in English.  Florence itself is the laboratory for the program, and site visits are an integral part of the courses.  The program also includes two-weekend excursions, typically to Venice and Rome.  A limited number of internships are also available for students at the Uffizi Gallery and other local museums.

Program Type

Associated Colleges of the Midwest


Florence, Italy

Languages of Instruction


Program Dates

Fall 2018: Early September to mid-December 


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus) Junior status or higher is strongly preferred.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam period
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 
  • Strong Italian language skills are required for those students wishing to participate in the internship. Otherwise, students may take basic Italian on-site.


Live at the intersection of past and present by immersing yourself in the vibrant birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

Originally established by Julius Caesar in 59 BCE, Florence (or Firenze) emerged as an economic and artistic powerhouse during the rise of the House of Medici in the 15th century.

This capital city of the Tuscany region is famous for its stunning cityscape, rich with intricate architecture, winding streets, and famous piazze. Florence also contains some of the world’s most treasured works of art from Renaissance masters such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Botticelli, and Raphael. 

Elevate your artistic awareness

Whether you’re an experienced student of the arts or you’re just starting out, Florence will elevate your artistic awareness as you visit its remarkable museums and beautiful churches nearly every day. By the time you’ve explored the lush gardens and stately villas, tasted the delicious cuisine, and enjoyed breathtaking views from the Ponte Vecchio, you’ll feel like a long-time resident of this historic city.

ACM Florence program center

Classes meet in the city at the ACM Florence program center, which is walking distance from important sites in Florence, including the Duomo. The program space is shared with the Linguaviva Scuola d’Italiano, the language school that collaborates with the ACM Florence program for Italian instruction. 

The program center provides wireless internet access, two computers and printers, and a small, focused collection of research materials. Students live all around the city with their host families, so Linguaviva classrooms are a popular central study and meet up location.

Aside from traditional academic resources, your studies will be guided by Florence itself, as museums, architecture, historical sites, and the people of Italy serve as your true primary resources. 


The program includes four courses, each worth 1 Lake Forest credit:

  • Italian Language
  • Three elective courses 

More information on course offerings can be found here.  

In Florence, students will earn letter grades (A/B/C/D/F) for courses.


Academic Environment and Teaching Style

As this program was designed in conjunction with a US liberal arts college consortium, the professors understand the unique higher education system and culture of US students. Some professors, especially for the language course, will be a native of Italy.  Other ACM courses may be taught by a visiting faculty member from one of the ACM member institutions.

New for Fall 2014 are Masters and Workshops courses, in which students will be placed in the workshops of modern-day Florentine masters, where they learn and practice the techniques of these arts. An academic seminar and independent project are required.  There is an additional lab fee required for these options.


Course Approvals

(Coming soon)

Experiential Opportunities

A select number of students participating in the Florence program have the opportunity to intern at the Uffizi Gallery, the Medici Chapels, and possibly other local museums.  The Uffizi, for example, is among the oldest and most prestigious museums in Europe and the home to a remarkable collection of art works, including paintings by da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio and many other great masters.

Applicants must possess good Italian language skills and a strong interest in the history of the arts.  Students interested in the internships should contact the director of the Florence program prior to their arrival.  The final acceptance to the internship will take place once students arrive on-site in Florence, with staff from the Florence program undertaking the initial screening, and the museum directors making the final decision.  Those accepted will also be required to incur the cost of an insurance policy (required by Italian law).

The internships will be in addition to the classwork required during the fall semester Florence program.  They are not credit-bearing, and cannot substitute for one of the four courses (Italian language plus three electives) that students take during the semester.  However, if a student’s home campus is willing to award credit for the internship, students would be encouraged to arrange this with their campus. ACM charges an additional $150 liability insurance fee to participate in an internship.

Additionally, there is a credit-bearing course on Masters and Workshops that does give practical apprenticeship experience to a limited number of students each semester.  these courses have additional course fees, ranging from $360 - $870 per course.

Housing and Meals

After a stay of a few days in a pensione with the group, each student lives in an Italian home. The home stay is an integral part of the program and encourages active participation in the life of an Italian community. Host families reflect the diversity of Italian households and include parents with children as well as widows whose grown children have left the home. Some live closer to the city center than others, but few live in the old center itself. Breakfasts and dinners are provided, and students are free to arrange noonday meals in accordance with each day’s activities.

Financial Information

For all programs, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the ACM Florence program includes orientation, housing, excursions to Rome and Venice, and insurance.  All meals except lunch are included.

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018 program:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee 


Program Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposit (non-refundable)




Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, books, supplies, personal expenses, additional travel, etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018.

There will be an additional $149 liability insurance fee for students choosing one of the Masters & Workshops artisan classes or participating in an internship.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  Students pursuing internships/volunteer projects are highly competitive for Gilman awards, among others!

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php