Learn, Intern, and Live Abroad at the John Felice Rome Center

Video and Photos

Foro Romano and the Capitoline Hill, Rome
Foro Romano and the Capitoline Hill, Rome
Rinaldo's, the campus cafe
Rinaldo's, the campus cafe
a street scene in Balduina, Rome
a street scene in Balduina, Rome
the JFRC orange grove
the JFRC orange grove
Trevi Fountain, Rome
Trevi Fountain, Rome
Spring 2019 group shot
Spring 2019 group shot
The Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon, Rome
bike tour of Monte Mario, Rome
bike tour of Monte Mario, Rome

About

Spend a summer, semester, or an academic year at Loyola University Chicago's John Felice Rome Center! Our faculty and staff provide support and share their passion for la bella vita with students year-round, creating a community unlike any other you'll find in Rome.

Studying at the JFRC is more than taking classes. Students intern with professionals across fields, volunteer in the local community, take advantage of Rome's cultural legacy with group dinners and nights at the opera, and take part in the ever-popular calcio (soccer) league.

They say all roads lead to Rome. Take your first step by joining us at the JFRC.

Highlights
  • Founded in 1962, the JFRC is the oldest US education abroad program in Rome
  • Roughly $100,000 in additional need-based scholarships are available each year
  • Intern for credit, volunteer in the local community, and build a unique Roman experience
  • Many classes meet on-site around Rome, using the city as your classroom
  • Live on our 5-acre campus in Balduina, a thriving residential Roman neighborhood

See the Rome Center for yourself

Want to see your home in Rome? The JFRC virtual tour is the next best thing to being there. Check out our campus, from the dorms and classrooms to the cafe and lawns.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 18 reviews
  • Academics 7.6
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
Default avatar
Sarah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was great.

I absolutely loved being able to spend my freshman year abroad, which is an opportunity not usually granted by most universities. The staff was very helpful and supportive of not only my studies, but of all my learning and growth while I was abroad. It was a different first college experience in comparison to that of other students, but well worth it. I was able to explore Rome and learn the culture and language, as well as travel to other places on the weekends and breaks, giving me the chance to see new places and visit old friends. It was also a good fit for me because everything I needed was available on campus or somewhere close-by, but I could also go into the city if I wanted a different experience. The hustle & bustle of Rome is unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I loved the on-site classes offered by the university. I can never eat gelato or a plate of pasta without thinking about my second home, which is what the JFRC became for me. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to explore on your own! Sometimes a solo trip is the best thing that you can do for yourself, especially if there's a specific place you want to go or if it is difficult to coordinate a trip with friends. You can do something as simple as taking a bus downtown, a train to Florence, or create an entire adventure. Just do your research, keep an eye out, and keep your attitude high. It sounds cheesy, but it's truly life-changing because of how much you learn that you can do on your own.
Default avatar
Michael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I loved my experience at the JFRC. I made countless new friends, many of which I am still in touch with and have actually visited a few times since returning to the states. The staff at the JFRC were wonderful. The professors truly cared about all of the students which can be attributed partly to the size of the program (which is a good thing). Many of my friends who went abroad spent alot of time partying and going out but I am glad I was challenged academically having taken two of my favorite classes abroad at the JFRC (International Monetary Relations and Intro to International Business both taught by Marshall Langer). The number of study trips offered at discounted prices (vs. individual travel) was definitely a great aspect of the program. No class on Fridays was an excellent feature of the program as well since it allowed for an extra day of personal travel on weekends. Overall, I would not trade my experience for anything in the world. I got to see many beautiful places and meet some truly wonderful people, some of which I am still close friends with even though I am in NYC and NJ. It was one of, if not the best experience of my life thus far. The critiques I have are minor and pale in comparison to the many great features and overall experience of the program and I have already recommended the program to other Fordham students.

What would you improve about this program?
I only have 3 small critiques of the program. The first would be the food at the JFRC itself. Some of the food was great at times but alot of the time the food was underwhelming to say the least at the cafeteria, especially given we were in the food capital of the world! The hours of operation for the cafeteria and Rinaldos as well need to be extended a bit. I often times found myself starving at 7 or 8 pm on many of the nights I ate on campus. The staff was wonderful at the caf and Rinaldo's but the food needs to be better at the caf and hours for both need to be a bit longer. The second critique would be that there needs to be more information provided at the beginning of the program on public transportation and how to get around. The first week we were there the SLAs had us do a "treasure hunt" around Rome at night without really giving us directions or information on how to use the public transportation system. I believe this is poor design on behalf of the staff. But again this is minor, we are all adults and were able to figure it out but a little more guidance would have been useful.

The final critique I have is actually not about the program itself but the application process for non-Loyola students. I attended Fordham University with whom the JFRC is a partner program. I had to go through two separate application processes, one for Fordham and one for Loyola. Fordham's process was easy since all I had to do was apply to study abroad, and I was approved or denied based on my GPA. However, once I was approved through Fordham, Loyola's process and instructions were very confusing. I had watched all of the presentations online which gave instructions about applying for my VISA, which some of the slides had contradicting information. I even called Loyola's JFRC office in Chicago and could never get the right information regarding the Visa Application requirements. I showed up to the NY Italian Consulate with my paperwork and ended up not needing 3/4 of the documentation I brought for which I ran all over the place to collect. The instructions for sending transcripts to Loyola needs to be simpler as well. I was given two different addresses and I had sent 3 copies over the course of a week and Loyola had claimed they had not received it when my university provided proof of delivery. The application process and instructions for applying and acquiring a VISA needs to be much more concise and streamlined for non-loyola students because I ended up having to find the required materials on my own through the consulate itself (which was not easy either).
Default avatar
Richard
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Abroad in Rome

I have never been to Europe and Rome was the perfect place! The citizens, students, and professors I met were all amazing. This is honestly one of the best experiences I've ever had. I miss being able to walk down to the local shops and bars to grab a espresso. I spent most of my time abroad in the city of Rome and not in other countries and I do not regret it. There is so many things to see and do and eat in Rome that you cannot fit in a semester abroad. I will definitely miss all the things Rome had to offer.

What would you improve about this program?
The social and academic portions of the program were great, but a couple things I think could be improved is the lack of Wifi in the rooms, the fact that we had to pay for laundry when we are already paying for our travels. I also think it would be great if Mensa hours could be extended. There were days when I would be out exploring all day and by the time I returned to campus, Mensa would be closed. Giving the student SIM cards would also be a great idea because the burner phones we had were not the best working phones.
Default avatar
Nina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved my time here!!!

I can honestly say that this semester did not disappoint. I loved everything about this semester. I enjoyed going two weeks early before classes started in order to be able to have a structured travel time within Italy. I would even say that I experienced some of the best food while on the school sponsored trips.
The SLA's my year were wonderful and I felt like I could actually approach them if I needed anything from them. Honestly, the whole staff is pretty great. And it's not just American teachers or American staff either, this program has a bunch of different people from a variety of countries which made things very interesting.
I also loved loved loved the Calcio tournaments every Wednesday. I have not played soccer since I was a child, and I can honestly say that I'm not the best, but I had a really great time. And Beer & Pizza afterwards made it an amazing time as well!!
The only thing that I really had a problem with here is that I am from a school that is not Loyola University of Chicago, and I think that I was not as prepared for this semester as someone who went to Loyola Chicago would have been. I had to create a new school email for Loyola and had to interact with their new system while I was abroad. This turned out to be alright, but I really did not know how to use it before I got to Rome where other students could help me figure it out. Since I did not know how to use the Loyola e-mail while I was still in America, I was not really prepared for the semester ahead and it was really tough.

What would you improve about this program?
This program should utilize more events happening in Rome. There is constantly stuff to do and ways to interact with actual Italians, but I feel like we never heard about them as students. I wish I could have interacted more with Italians and should have interacted with the Italian language more thoroughly.
Default avatar
Kim
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best. Year. Ever.

When my parents found out I was doing an academic year abroad, they looked at me like I was crazy! However, when I got home from my adventure, they realized it was the best thing that I could have done.

The Rome Center is about 30 minutes from Centro in a nice neighborhood called Balduina. The city is very accessible, with multiple bus stops just a few minutes' walk from campus. The neighborhood itself is lovely, quiet, and has restaurants, a grocery store, a bookstore, a clothing store, and LOTS of gelato, all located within walking distance. The campus is gorgeous, with a courtyard in front and an olive grove in back. In the spring, the orange trees in the courtyard grow fruit which you can take! The classroom, dorms, gym, bookstore, library, cafeteria, and cafe are all located in one building. I stayed in a double dorm room both semesters and the room was just big enough and comfortable. The building was an old convent, so the walls are pretty thin, but if your neighbors do quiet hours, there's nothing to worry about! The campus is gorgeous, and the amenities are awesome. You get two free meals a day at the cafeteria (which is almost always delicious), and I recommend paying the 250 extra euros to get the cafe card!

Academically, I had a great experience. The classes are fairly easy and if you put in a little work, you can get great grades. I especially loved my on-site classes, which is one of the BEST things about the Rome Center! I took Dr. Nicholson's Art in Rome class and, even though it was tough, it ended up being my favorite class because I got to see ALL of Rome. The professors are all great, very knowledgable, and they make the material fun and interesting. I also did an internship, which was fantastic and really bolstered the ol' resume. By the way, no class on Fridays!

The Rome Center gave me a ton of amazing experiences. Once a semester, class is cancelled on Wednesday to go to the Papal Audience. Throughout the semester, they give out tickets to mass at Saint Peters. If you get the chance, TAKE IT! I got to go to Mass at Saint Peters with the Pope in February. JFRC really tries to get you into the city. One day in orientation, they take you to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill and give you the rest of the day to explore Rome. There's also a scavenger hunt at the beginning of every semester!

JFRC has a lot of travel options. Every semester, you take a weekend trip with the other students, staff, and your SLAs. In the fall, we went to the gorgeous region of Umbria. In the spring, we got to go to the South and stay on the Amalfi Coast. They feed you well and you get to go to a water buffalo farm! There are also study trips offered every semester. I took two: the Greece trip for fall break and the Balkans trip in the spring. These are costly, but are amazing experiences and payment plans are available. For the Greece trip, we spent 10 days exploring Greece, learning how to dance, drinking, and exploring Mykonos. In the Balkans, you tour Belgrade and Bosnia. They have so much history and are gorgeous, and I definitely recommend this trip! I also went on the Assisi pilgrimage in the fall. Father Al and Father Ted, two of the best people ever, take you to the small medieval town for a day of prayer, reflection, and great food. I'm not religious but I still loved it.

Even aside from the study trips, Rome is so easy to travel from; you can get anywhere, and there's always someone willing to go with you or at least split a cab. While I was abroad I went to Greece, Iceland, Prague, Paris, Belgrade, Bosnia, Croatia, Florence, Pompeii, and London. Traveling in Europe is SO cheap when you're over there and it's so easy.

I absolutely loved my time at the Rome Center and wouldn't trade it for anything. The academics are great, the city is gorgeous, and the staff (especially Dr. Mike Beazley) are always willing to help you out. I had a hard time with my mental health second semester and Dr. Beazley was willing to talk to me and even took me to off-campus doctor's appointment. Not to mention, the Beazley girls are adorable! If you want to study abroad, I definitely recommend the Rome Center.

What would you improve about this program?
Wifi in the residence halls and air conditioning! PLEASE!
Read my full story
Default avatar
Joseph
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Dream Semester Abroad

I remember having this distinct feeling of "Holy cow. My life is going to change once I step foot off the plane in Rome." While, admittedly, it did not change right then and there, looking back I do see that moment as the start of what would be an incredible three month journey that would be some of the happiest, saddest, toughest and insightful moments of my life.

If I could tell future participants anything about the study abroad program at the John Felice Rome Center it would be this: allow yourself to be vulnerable abroad. Take that long bus ride with your friend into a part of Rome that might be a bit "off the map." Use your broken Italian to try and have a conversation with a stranger at the bus stop. Allowing yourself to take these small risks will open up your abroad experience to unbelievable measures and past the traditional experiences tourists have when they come to the city for only a week.

Default avatar
Daryn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

STRAORDINARIO!

Loyola’s diverse and accessible study abroad programs compelled me to study abroad at the John Felice Rome Center in Fall 2016. While in Rome, I dove headfirst into many exciting opportunities: interning at an Italian film company, coaching as a co-captain in the JFRC soccer league, writing a travel blog, giving the Student Reflection Speech at the End of Semester Banquet…and travelling throughout Europe! Overall, my study abroad experience made me a more cultivated, resourceful, and fearless individual! I loved JFRC so much, that I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an extraordinary ("straordinario" in Italian) study abroad experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I would offer more electives for art majors.
Default avatar
Anthony
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

JFRC Spring '17

I had an incredible semester in Rome. The campus was super accommodating, the teaching staff was full of brilliant, passionate professionals, and the support from the Student Life Assistants made it really easy to get comfortable in a foreign environment and have fun. The academics were extremely engaging yet not overwhelming--there was still plenty of time to explore the city and travel around Europe. I would recommend the JFRC to anyone interested in studying abroad in Rome.

Default avatar
Ellen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

JFRC rome

i studied at the jfrc, but was studying under Xavier university professors. We had fantastic trips to florence, Siena, assisi, and reggio Amelia. Very affordable. Jfrc campus is far from downtown (25 minute bus ride)

What would you improve about this program?
I wish the campus was closer to downtown.
Default avatar
Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Decision You'll Ever Make..

Apart from Rome being an amazing city, not many study abroad programs offer rigorous courses. However, at the JFRC, I was able to take many of my upper level Political Science courses with incredible, highly acclaimed professors. Their wonderful internship director even set me up with an internship at a huge international corporate firm. Living in Balduina gives you a small town Roman vibe and also forces you to get out and explore. Not once did I ever feel nervous or unsafe at the JFRC or out in Rome. The staff at JFRC truly care about you; they will become your family- you will NOT get that with any other program. Such an amazing experience. I would choose the JFRC tens times over again.

What would you improve about this program?
Definitely wifi in all the rooms; as a university, that's unacceptable.
Including monthly bus/metro passes in tuition.
Default avatar
NHM
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

John Felice Rome Center- Rome, Italy

This was by far the most amazing summer of my life. If I could have spent the whole year at the JFRC in Rome, I would have. The campus is absolutely beautiful and in a great location! Rome itself can be kind of overwhelming with the amount of tourists and activities going on, but the JFRC is located in a great spot just 30 minutes outside of the city center, which is easily accessible via public transportation. The academics here are great, along with the professors--who are kind and helpful. My friends and I were able to travel during the weekends which was great! These places included: Spain, Greece, France, Northern Italy (Venice, Florence, Amalfi Coast), UK, and Germany. It is so worth the experience and if you are unsure, DO IT! The JFRC is a perfect place to partake in the study abroad experience. I hope I can go back to visit one day!

What would you improve about this program?
The wifi should be accessible everywhere. Also rooms need A/C during summer (although there are fans and you don't spend that much time in your room anyways)
Default avatar
Fall
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Definitely Less Immersive

There are a lot of programs in Rome to pick from. J-Force is definitely among the best, but be warned that the experience is less immersive than some others. The location in Balduina, a nice suburb northwest of the Vatican makes it much safer and quieter than most, but cuts you off from a lot of opportunities for interaction with locals. Campus ministry is the best part of the program, with numerous outings and programs throughout the year that provide a unique look at the city's Catholic Identity.

What would you improve about this program?
Less hands-on from administration, especially regarding alcohol, which is legal. Location could be better.
Default avatar
Corbin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You Cant Beat This

Rome has so much to do. And the JFRC gives you all the tools to make your study abroad unforgettable. Whether you want to travel every weekend or immerse yourself in Roman/Italian culture the staff here will provide unparalleled wisdom and support. The teachers here are the type that you want to grab a beer with after class, or a glass of wine in this case. Campus is a little far from downtown, but situated in an extremely safe neighborhood in a very cute and functional campus. You truly can't beat the JFRC!

What would you improve about this program?
Not possible
Default avatar
Sahar
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

La dolce vita

There is no need to sell the idea of living in Roma for a semester or full year because the beauty of the city is enchanting on its own. They say you have not lived if you have not lived in Italy, and I agree.

I loved living in a small town outside the main center because we were able to be fully immersed in an authentic Italian town which sometimes can be lost in a major city. However, we were still close to the center that we were able to go in on a whim.

There are no words that can fully describe the experience at JFRC. You sign up in order to explore a new culture and challenge yourself but what you get in return is so much more. The community serves as a safe haven and your professors, fellow students, administrators and SLAs become a second family.

The memories and friendships I have will no doubt last for a lifetime because there is a certain bond you build amongst the JFRC family that can never be broken.

Default avatar
Spring
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spring 2012

My study abroad experience was wonderful. The campus is located in a nice neighborhood about a 20-30 minute bus ride away from the heart of Rome. When you first arrive it can be a bit challenging to get back because the Italian buses do not announce the stops. However, you learn quickly and its straightforward for the rest of the semester.

Classes only meet M-Th so that students have time to travel on the weekend. I recommend taking an on-site class where you meet somewhere in Rome for each class. It is a great way to get out in the city and learn a different perspective on the buildings and monuments that you pass when you are exploring.

The staff and professors are great and the classes were always enjoyable. There is a JFRC Calcio (soccer) league that many students participate in that is a lot of fun.

I highly recommend the John Felice Rome Center for a study abroad experience in Rome.

What would you improve about this program?
The wifi can be spotty on campus.

Location

Location:
Rome
Currency:
Euro
Weather:
Jan-Mar
59 F / 37 F
Apr-Jun
82 F / 46 F
Jul-Sep
88 F / 61 F
Oct-Dec
72 F / 41 F
Airports:
Leonardo da Vinci
( FCO )
Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International
( CIA )

Italy in general is known for its "Dolce Vita" lifestyle that keeps people in a state of never-ending bliss while traveling here. In Rome you will experience ancient ruins, all of the pasta you can stomach, and timeless works of art.

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About Loyola University Chicago Global Centers

Global Awareness. It's an essential part of the Loyola experience and one of the five characteristics of a Jesuit education. From opening the John Felice Rome Center in 1962 to becoming the first American university in Vietnam, we've established a...
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