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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 9/24, 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

University of Iowa resident credit is granted for this program.

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.

Sessions run approximately:

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

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 Student Gateway for more information. Requirements are: enrollment in the USAC Viterbo semester program or enrollment in both sessions of the USAC Viterbo summer program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and junior standing at the time of internship. 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

For More Information

Cory Petersen, Advisor
The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353


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 UI students who are in both good academic and also disciplinary standing. Applicants must also meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. You must remain in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university until departure. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Program Cost Sheet

  • Viterbo Summer I 2017 Cost SheetPDF
  • Viterbo Fall 2017 Cost SheetPDF
  • 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 Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

    Upfront, out of pocket expenses

    Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarships disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for USAC:

    • USAC Application Fee $100
    • Iowa Application Fee $50
    • Italian Visa (semester only) approximately $53
    • Refundable Housing Deposit $300
    • Airline Ticket $1,000-$1,400

    Optional additional fees 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
    • Course Fees

    Financial Aid and Scholarships

    Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.


    Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.


    Federal Pell Grant recipients are eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship

    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.

    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

    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. The USAC policy regarding withdrawals and refunds can be found here: USAC Money Matters. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

    How to Apply

    Steps to Completing Your Application

    • Before you fill out any applications, please schedule an appointment to meet with the Study Abroad advisor for Viterbo, Italy by calling 319-335-0353. Your application WILL NOT be approved until you've completed this step.

    • Fill out the USAC Online Application for Viterbo. Be sure to submit a personal statement as part of your application or email it to

    • Submit the $100 non-refundable application fee to USAC

    • Do not submit a transcript, this will be done on your behalf

    • Fill out the Iowa Online Application for Study Abroad, you will be charged a $50 non-refundable application fee.

    • As part of the Iowa Online Application for Study Abroad you will need to upload a copy of your passport and a list of courses your are proposing to take while abroad.

    NOTICE: For the Summer Term, this program has Summer I, Summer II, and Summer I & II options. In the UI online application under “Offering” 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

    Please be careful to choose the correct session that corresponds to the dates you wish to be abroad. If you need help with this, please consult your study abroad advisor.

    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.

Pre-departure Resources

USAC and Iowa have a variety of resources available to you to prepare for departure. It is recommended that you review these materials, share them with your parents, and refer back to them when you have questions.

Civita Bagnaregio near Viterbo

  1. USAC ToolkitPDF
  2. Italy Pre-departure ManualPDF
  3. USAC Italy Packing ListPDF
  4. Parent Guide to Study AbroadPDF
  5. Health Preparation Guide for International TravelPDF
  6. USAC Italy Pre-Departure Orientation


US passport holders should follow the batch process instructions provided by USAC (semester only). Your consulate is the Chicago consulate (it's based on where your university is, not where you're from). Non-US and non-EU passport holders should refer to this guide: Non-US and Non-EU Passport Holder Italian Visa InstructionsPDF.

Group Flight

You can either book the group flight through USAC (see Gateway for more details) or you can book a flight on your own. I recommend having a strong grasp of Italian in case you get lost and familiarity with the train system in Italy if you decide to go it alone. You're responsible for being at the orientation site on time, USAC fines individuals who are late.


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.