Cultural Engagement

AIA puts students and visiting faculty in direct contact with host communities through an emphasis on culturally-based language courses, interaction with local peers, and through concrete and constructive workshops and service projects that give back to the host community.

Service Learning

AIA’s community service activities have included direct and indirect services as well as research and advocacy projects for worthy local constituencies. This service is either integrated into for-credit program curricula or serves as extracurricular activity. AIA students have assisted at a cultural festival, taught English to refugee youth, assisted at a refugee family housing center, completed research proposals in cultural heritage management, community development and handicap accessible planning for the City of Rome and noted advocacy groups. Read more about AIA Service Learning.

Italian Language Instruction

AIA Italian courses are university-level instruction taught by language professors with decades of experience teaching American university students. Language instruction at AIA is highly interactive and utilizes contemporary popular media, such as film and music, to expose students to authentic living language. Classroom techniques utilize full immersion in the target language with native speakers and exposure to the general public in real-life situations.


“This highly interactive Italian course is key to our students’ exposure to the local culture as well as their self confidence and enthusiasm – and after just four weeks the learning outcomes are dramatic.”

Lauren Pouchak
Associate Director Honors College
Northeastern University

Additional Cultural / Extracurricular Activities

AIA programs include additional cultural activities such as: optional excursions to cultural sites in and around the city, cross-disciplinary lecture series, exhibitions, concerts, film festivals, diverse religious holidays and ceremonies, etc. We help students discover diverse city parks, take trips to the seaside and mountains, rent bicycles, etc. AIA also organizes social functions such as mixers, cooking lessons and dinners in each region of Italy we visit to introduce students to the diversity of local cuisine.

Contact with Italian Peers

AIA students meet their local peers in both academic and extracurricular activities, such as joint academic workshops, peer learning in Italian courses, and organized and improvised soccer matches.