Return to the search form Return to your search results

USAC Viterbo Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Viterbo, Italy




2.5 GPA and in good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Spring 9/27, Summer 3/4, Fall 3/4

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Academic Program

City wall, gate in Viterbo

The program offers a high-quality educational experience in five diverse academic areas: art, anthropology, environmental studies, history, and Italian studies. These programs are not exclusive of one another; you may chose courses from any area. During the semester terms, ll students are expected to take some Italian language coursework, although no prior language study is required to participate. A 3 sh internship may also be available. The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member.


The list of current courses can be found here: USAC Course Offerings.

Students receive University of Iowa resident credit for the courses taken on this program.

Embedded, Credit-Bearing Internships and Volunteering


Qualified students may apply for internships designed to complement the academic program. Interns receive up to three credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses. Depending on the level of Italian language at the beginning of the internship, the student will be working in an English or Italian speaking environment, with high exposure to Italian culture and language.

If interested, you will apply after you have been accepted into the program; consult the Internship Opportunities and Application document on the USAC Student Gateway for more information.

Internship requirements

  • Enrollment in the USAC Viterbo program.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Junior or Senior standing at time of program attendance.

Additional Internship fee

A refundable fee of $100 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

More information can be found here: Viterbo Internships.


Students have the opportunity to volunteer while they are in Viterbo. Some students decide to do volunteer work in an effort to meet people in the community, hone their Italian language skills, and learn more about Italian culture. Students can volunteer teaching English to children in elementary schools or tutoring college students at the university.

Other volunteer opportunities include translating materials into English at museums, art shops, and tourism companies. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and make new Italian friends.

More information can be found here: Viterbo Volunteer Opportunities.

Cultural Activities and Excursions

Viterbo View

Field Trips

You are encouraged to participate in the included program field trips, in addition to the field trips built into some of your courses. In addition to the including program field trips, you'll also have field trips as part of many of your courses and have numerous informal activities that expose you to the local culture as well.

Dates and exact locations are at the discretion of the Resident Director and they vary from session and session and semester to semester. Common destinations include the following: Rome, Capalbio and the Tuscan Coastline, Umbria, Siena, Assisi and Perugia.

More information about Field Trips can be found here: Viterbo Field Trips


USAC encourages every student to enroll in these 1-credit, 5-day field study courses; however, this segment of the program is optional for an additional fee, which includes lodging, transportation, entrance fees and guided tours. Enrollment in the field study course is necessary to participate on the trip itself; the course may not be taken for audit. You will enroll in the field study on your Course and Tour Registration Form.

Heart of Italy:We will travel by bus through the cypresses and marble quarries of Tuscany on our way to Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, where we will visit the Uffizi Museum, the famous Duomo, bell tower, Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Croce Church. Then we’ll head to Pisa to admire the famous Leaning Tower and Piazza dei Miracoli. On our way south we will stop in San Gimignano, known for the many medieval towers. Our final stop will be in Siena, a charming hillside town.

Southern Italy:The first stop on the tour will be Sorrento, built on cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples and the volcano Vesuvius. We will then head to Naples to visit the famous castles, the vast Royal Palace, the Piazza del Plebiscito and the National Archaeological Museum. We will also explore Pompeii, buried in 79 AD by one of Vesuvius’ most destructive eruptions. Frozen in time, Pompeii offers a fascinating view of ancient Roman life. You will also have the opportunity to walk up the active volcano or you may take a ferry to the island of Capri. We will travel along the famed Amalfi Coast, its winding cliff-top roads, and tiny, luxurious towns and stop in the town of Caserta to visit the royal palace built in 1752 for Charles of Bourbon.

More information about Tours can be found here:Viterbo Tours

Program Dates

Students can study on this program for a semester, academic year, or summer session. Two month-long sessions are offered each summer and students can attend one or both. Check the USAC webpage for exact program dates USAC Viterbo Calendars.

Approximate Dates:

  • Fall: Early September to mid-December
  • Spring: Mid-January to mid-May
  • Session I: Late May to late June
  • Session II: Early July to early August

For More Information

Cory Petersen, Senior Advisor and Program Coordinator
Study Abroad | International Programs
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353
Fax: 319-335-0343


Viterbo Street

• Population: 65,000
• Distance from Rome: 40 miles
• Distance from Florence: 103 miles

Viterbo is a medieval city with a lively university community and active art scene. It is about one and a half hours from Rome and three hours from Florence, with easy connections to the Mediterranean and mountain regions. Viterbo residents have retained the charm and leisurely quality of life of days gone by. They still retain, for the most part, the tradition of closing from 1 pm to 4 pm in order to enjoy a relaxing lunch at home with the family. Each Saturday, there is an outdoor market in the main piazza where people browse and shop for clothes and houseware items. Fresh produce from local farms is also sold every morning in outdoor markets around town.

Viterbo has kept a fascinating historical record of its past better than almost any place in Italy. Protected by a medieval wall, Viterbo’s fountains, palaces, quarters, and churches all exemplify its glorious and eventful heritage of art and culture. The San Pellegrino quarter is certainly the most characteristic and best preserved medieval quarter in Italy, a jewel of a thirteenth-century contrada with its small squares, houses, narrow lanes, arches, and characteristic profferli—the typical external stairs of the medieval houses of Viterbo. The thirteenth-century papal palace is evidence of Viterbo’s significant role as a place of refuge for medieval popes, and more recently as the film location for Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.

Viterbo cuisine is some of the best in Italy thanks to the city's green surroundings, zero pollution, and the "art" of entertaining. Two local dishes not to miss are Lombrichelli alla viterbese and Acquacotta. Be sure to visit the Sagra festivals throughout the summer where one can sample pasta, gnocchi, and more.


Aside from the unending, tangible history in Italy, the nation has beyond remarkable landscapes which bring any visit to an entirely new level. You can go skiing in the Alps, visit Roman ruins and Greek temples, or explore the Grand Canal in Venice.

As one of the world's best-loved destinations, Italy is also the land of la dolce vita meaning "the sweet life". After an adventure tourists can unwind, relax, and be pampered by staying at one Italy’s high end spas or simply enjoy Italy's sophisticated dining pleasures, such as family-owned places where you can experience real Italian cooking.

People and Culture

Despite its rich and magnificent art and architecture, there's no reason to be intimidated. Italian people are very hospitable and are rarely indifferent. Hundreds of local festivals take place across the country in any given day to celebrate a saint or a local harvest, including the daily domestic ritual of passeggiata, a collective evening stroll celebrated by the young and old alike in towns and villages across the country. If there is one special national characteristic Italians are known for, it's that they know how to live life to the fullest.

Living Arrangements


Typically, most student apartments are shared by two to four USAC or Italian students, with single or double occupancy bedrooms. They have basic kitchen amenities and modest furnishings. It is important that students come with reasonable expectations and do not expect to find conveniences such as TV, dishwasher, or clothes dryer. All apartments are located within walking distance from the university and the USAC offices. Whether it is in the historical section or in the more modern area of Viterbo, each neighborhood where student apartments are located is like a microtown in itself, offering a whole range of stores, cafeterias, pharmacies, as well as picturesque views and landscapes. Students can enjoy shopping in small family-run stores, try different breads at the bakery, or buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the open air market.

Residence Hall (only available Fall, Spring and Summer Session I)

Situated just outside the city walls and within walking distance from the university and the USAC offices, the university dormitory offers single rooms with private bathroom and internet access. The hall has a modest cooking area and most students eat out rather than cook. This is a limited option and USAC cannot guarantee availability.

There is the opportunity to live with a single, older Italian adult, a university student, or more than one Italian student. Most likely you would also share this housing with at least one other USAC participant. This is a limited option, is only available during the fall and spring semesters, and USAC cannot guarantee availability.

Housing Fees

During the semester, students pay monthly rent and the housing fee is not included in the course fee. You will need to have a plan and budget in place to withdraw the amount needed for rent monthly. For summer programs, housing is included in the course fee.


This program is open to all University of Iowa students who meet the following requirements:

  • Clear interest and commitment- Students must demonstrate a clear academic or personal interest in the program’s subject matter, and a commitment to engage responsibly in coursework abroad.
  • Preparedness and Maturity- Students must demonstrate preparedness to take on the heightened responsibilities associated with international study and travel. Students must demonstrate a commitment to behave responsibility abroad while respecting cultural differences. Students are expected to obey both local laws and program directives conveyed to participants before and during the program. The University of Iowa Code of Student Life applies to all program participants while abroad.
  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA- Students must have at minimum 2.5 cumulative G.P.A. to participate in this program. Applications from students who have a G.P.A. below 2.5 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Students placed on either academic or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad on a University of Iowa program. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who are not in good standing at any point overlapping with the program dates will have their acceptance revoked, will be responsible for the associated late withdrawal fees. 
  • Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing- Applicants must have Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing by the time the program begins to participate in this program.
  • Approval by USAC and UI Study Abroad- Applications will be reviewed by UI Study Abroad, and by USAC, and students will be accepted based on their review of their application materials.
  • Attendance at mandatory orientation programming- Students must attend all in-person and online pre-departure orientation programing presented by UI Study Abroad and USAC. 

Additional notes on eligibility


Students will be responsible for paying many of their program costs through their University of Iowa Ubill, while other costs will be out of pocket costs paid by the student directly to vendors before and after going abroad. Please refer to the following cost sheet for details on the costs associated with this program.

The cost sheet outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheets below apply to the Summer 2017 and Fall 2017 sessions. The final cost sheet for upcoming sessions will be posted here prior to departure.

These documents outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the following fees

The cost sheet does not include the following optional additional costs paid to USAC:

These fees are all optional and not included in the course fee for the program. The cost should be paid directly to USAC through the Gateway account, failure to pay will result in USAC withholding transcripts.

  • Single Room Upgrade
  • Optional Tours
  • Additional USAC Course/Material Fees

Contact USAC for more information about these optional additional costs.

In additional, personal travel expenses are not included in the cost sheet.

Costs charged to the Ubill

  • Application fee- (charged at the time of application, before financial aid/scholarships disburse.
  • Program course fee, housing, some meals, USAC health insurance- (charged shortly before departure.)
  • Study Abroad Administrative Fee- (charged shortly before departure.)
  • CISI Health Insurance- (charged shortly before departure.)

Out of Pocket costs (not charged to Ubill)

  • Round trip airfare from Cedar Rapids- (paid by student directly to travel agent or airline- approx. 6-8 weeks prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse.)
  • USAC Application fee- (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse.)
  • USAC refundable housing deposit- (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse.)
  • Consular and visa fees- (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse. Contact Cory Petersen for more information.)
  • Textbooks, copyright permission fees, course packets and other course-related materials- (paid on arrival to Italy)
  • Food- (paid by student at their discretion while abroad.)
  • Rental or purchase of required cell phone- does not include usage fees- (paid as needed while abroad.)
  • Local Transportation- (paid at student’s discretion while abroad.)
  • Personal expenses- (paid by student at their discretion while abroad.)
  • Passport- (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse.)
  • Medical Exam/Immunizations- (paid by student as needed prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
  • Single room upgrade, optional tours, additional USAC course/material fees- (paid by student as needed while abroad)
  • Personal travel expenses- (paid by student as needed while abroad)

Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to your USAC Program Advisor and the University of Iowa Study Abroad . The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the early admission period, after confirming, or before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay.

Note: In rare cases of withdrawal due to injury, illness or other significant and verifiable extenuating circumstances, a financial appeal process exists to consider the financial aspects of late withdrawal. Contact your study abroad advisor for more information.

Program Deposit: The USAC application deposit is waived for UI students. If you withdraw from the program after the early application period closes, the University of Iowa will charge your U-Bill for these fees ($300 minimum).

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After Application Administrative fee: $0
Course Fee: $300
After Cancellation Deposit Deadline (varies by program) Administrative fee: $400
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC

The USAC policy regarding withdrawals and refunds can be found here: USAC Money Matters.

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing.

Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited.

Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Application Deadline

Applications for the Spring 2018 session are due on September 27, 2017.

Applications for the Fall 2018 and Academic Year 2017-2018 sessions will be available by February 2018.

How to Apply

  • Meet with the appropriate study abroad advisor to discuss you study abroad plans well ahead of study abroad application deadline. Your application will not be approved until you've completed this step. You can set up an appointment by calling 319-335-0353.
  • Complete UI Study Abroad application. Please note that the non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to your U-Bill as part of this online application.
  • Create an account in the USAC Online Gateway. Complete all of the online sections of the application. Before you can be considered for the program, you must 1) complete the application, 2) complete the personal essay, and 3) pay the non-refundable $100 application fee to USAC.

A note regarding Summer session applications:

For the Summer Term, this program has Summer I, Summer II, and Summer I & II options. When completing your UI online application, under the Offering section, you will be asked to choose between Codes A, B, or AB.

  • Code A=Summer I
  • Code B=Summer II
  • Code AB=Summer I & II

Ensure that you choose the session that corresponds to the dates you wish to study abroad. Please contact your UI study abroad advisor with any questions.

Post Acceptance

Acceptance into your chosen study abroad program is made by USAC directly via an email to you, which will refer you to additional documents posted to a USAC Gateway account that will be created for you. You will receive log in credentials for Gateway at this point.

You will be working with both UI and USAC directly. Please follow instructions from both. Later in the semester, your UI study abroad advisor will contact you regarding orientation sessions, registration, and other required UI procedures and documentation.

You will need to provide scans of the picture page of your passport to both UI and USAC. If you do not have a valid passport at this time you apply to study abroad, please provide the scans as soon as you receive your passport.

You will be billed on your U-Bill for your course fee, administrative fee, and Iowa Regents health insurance. Housing deposits and additional course fees will be paid directly to USAC. Depending on your housing situation, you may pay housing fees directly on-site.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

First Steps

You may be able to use financial aid and scholarships, to cover some of the costs of this program. Take a look at the Financial Aid section of the UI Study Abroad web site for information on applying your aid package to study abroad, and contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to find out what might be available to you.

Applying for Scholarships

Before you apply for any scholarship, please review the Suggestions for Scholarship Applications section of the Study Abroad website for valuable tips on making a successful application!

Help with Scholarship Essays

If you need help writing scholarship essays, please contact the UI Writing Center.

Study Abroad Awards

Please explore the following links for study abroad scholarship opportunities offered through the University of Iowa, and partner organizations:

If you have any questions about funding for study abroad, please contact Cory Petersen at or call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 for an appointment (Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm).

Predeparture Resources

USAC will provide you with a variety of predeparture resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by USAC, share it with your loved ones, and refer back to it if you have any questions.

In addition, UI Study Abroad offers a parent guide to studying abroad that your loved ones may be interested in reviewing. Feel free to pass this along to your family or other loved ones to help them understand more about your upcoming program.

  • PDFA Parent Guide to Study Abroad- Academic Year 2017-2018
  • Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

    After you have received an email from our office indicating that you have been formally accepted to the program, have reviewed the estimated costs, and you are ready to commit to participating in this program, you will need to complete the following steps:

    First, read, download, complete, and return the Confirmation of Participation and Withdrawl Policy document, sign it, and submit it to the Study Abroad office no later than 4:59pm on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

    Please note that if this document is not submitted by the confirmation deadline on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, your application will be automatically withdrawn and your acceptance rescinded.

    Next, thoroughly review the following sections of text:

    • Visa
    • Passport
    • Orientation
    • Financial Aid and Scholarships
    • Applying credit toward a UI degree
    • Health Insurance
    • Flights
    • Registration


    U.S. citizens participating in a semester-length program in Italy should follow the batch process instructions provided by USAC. Your consulate is the Chicago consulate, regardless of where you are from in the U.S.

    Italian immigration requirements vary for Non-U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens should refer to the Italian Consulate Webpage for more information on the Italian visa requirements.

    All Students

    The visa process can begin no earlier than 90 days prior to departure to Italy. It is not possible to apply for your visa to study in Italy until at least 90 days before you plan to arrive in Italy.


    U.S. Citizens

    If you do not have a passport, please apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. Students who are U.S. citizens can find more information about how to apply for or renew a passport on the U.S. Department of State’s web site.

    Important notice for students without a valid passport, or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

    Those without valid passports should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

    Students with valid passports should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the U.S. from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid through this time then you will need to renew your passport before applying the visa you will need to enter Italy.

    Expedited processing service is available for U.S. passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

    Non-US Citizens

    Students who are not U.S. citizens should contact Cory Petersen for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.


    In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

    Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

    You are required to complete the International Programs online ‘Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation’ course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

    Program-Specific Orientation

    This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    You can find more information about funding options by clicking on the Application tab above and scrolling to the Financial Aid & Scholarships section toward the bottom of the page.

    If you have any questions about funding for this program, please contact Cory Petersen at or call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 for an appointment (Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm).

    Applying credit toward your U.I. degree requirements

    Unless Study Abroad has an approval on file before your departure for the courses you take abroad to be applied toward a specific major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, you will receive general elective credit for your course.

    If you are hoping to apply the credit you receive for your program course to a major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, please contact Cory Petersen at for details on the process. 

    Health Insurance

    As part of the this program, you will be enrolled in health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI).  For more information about CISI, please visit our Health Insurance Information page.

    If you have any current health issues that you might want to receive treatment for while you’re abroad, please contact your program provider.


    Students will need to work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. UI Study Abroad will not be arranging a group flight to your study abroad destination.

    Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.


    You will need to register for this program on MyUI prior to your departure for Italy. You will receive more information on the registration process from your Study Abroad advisor.