Who We Are & How We Can Bring You to Florence!

What is AIFS?
Founded in 1964, the American Institute for Foreign Study is one of the oldest, largest and most respected cultural exchange organizations in the world. AIFS partners with schools throughout the world to create meaningful and accessible foreign study experiences for people who endeavor to learn and enrich their personal experiences. The professional and knowledgeable staff of AIFS are integral to a successful live-study abroad experience.

What is NCSAC?
The Northern California Study Abroad Consortium works with AIFS and the College of San Mateo, Cosumnes River College, Diablo Valley College, and Santa Rosa Junior College to provide unique college or general life learning experiences.

Who Is Eligible to Participate?
The AIFS / NCSAC partnership prides itself in providing affordable and high caliber learning opportunities for adults young and old. While the program is highly popular with college students, it also appeals to people who have already completed college and seek the unique experience of living and learning abroad. Florence, Italy has something to offer people of all ages and all interests.

Participants are not required to have any background in Italian language (though this is highly recommended), nor are they required to be students at the participating schools prior to registering for the Spring 2011 semester. Eligible participants will meet the following requirements:

• must be 18 years of age
• must have completed 12 units of college credit at some point prior to Spring 2011
• must have a 2.25 GPA prior to the Spring 2011 semester

All participants must enroll in a full-time schedule for Spring 2011. The Italian Life & Culture class is required of all students. The remaining three classes can be selected from any of the semester’s offerings (see class descriptions below).

Have questions or want more information?
Visit http://www.aifspartnerships.com/ncsac/
Or contact the DVC Study Abroad Coordinator: Harue Takanashi, 925.685.1230, ext. 2735 e-mail: htakanashi@4cd.net

Applications are available at the AIFS website: LINK
Early registration is highly recommended and benefits the applicant.

What's New

Italy is known for its remarkable artistic past, but it is also a country of dynamic, new cultural offerings. Students participating in NCSAC’s Spring 2011 Florence semester will be fortunate enough to arrive in Italy during the year of the internationally renowned Venice Art Biennale and fresh on the heels of two acclaimed recent contemporary art museum openings: the Punta della Dogana in Venice and Rome’s long awaited art museum Maxxi.

Both museums are as notable for their architectural innovations (compliments of Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid) as their thought-provoking, avant-garde exhibitions.

It’s highly recommended that students take the train to Rome to visit Maxxi and the Punta della Dogana in Venice, and students are well advised to extend their stay to visit the Venice Biennale (June 4th - November).

Closer at hand, Florence’s recently established FOR Gallery has quickly established a reputation for its exhibitions of compelling contemporary photography. There is also the Florence Biennale, which will be held in 2011. FLORENCE BIENNALE

Visit the following linked articles:




Spring 2011 Courses

The following courses, listed in alphabetical order of host school, will be offered for students participating in the NCSAC Florence Spring 2011 program. Students must take a minimum of 3 classes chosen from the following options, and all students must enroll in the Italian Life & Culture class. You must enroll in one class from your host school. E-mail addresses for Professors Lisa Palmer, Bill Doonan, Ruth Miller and Jeanette Benfarhat are listed below. You may also post open comments and questions on the Florence Facebook page. Course transfer information is posted under each class, and you may also refer to the following attachment to see transfer information for all classes: COURSE TRANSFERABILITY CHART


English 110 / Composition, Literature and Critical Thinking
E2b or E2c - Language and Rationality; or E5c - Humanities; CSU: A3 and C2; UC; IGETC: 1B.Units (Letter grade) 3; Prerequisite(s): ENGL 100.

Description: Taking love, Italian style as its theme, this course traces the footsteps of famous lovers, real and imagined, of Italian literature. We will read stories of love as inspiration (Dante and Beatrice) and love as adulterous passion (Francesca and Paolo) as described in Dante’s Divine Comedy; earthly notions of love depicted in Boccaccio’s Decameron; courtly love as developed in Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier; and the tragic lovers Romeo and Juliet. The course incorporates visits to relevant sites such as Dante’s home in Florence and the mythical home of Juliet, in Verona. We will also take in current theatrical productions to compare the classical stories with how love is portrayed in contemporary Italian fiction. DAYS / TIMES: TTH 10:30 am - 12:20 pm

Literature 101 / Twentieth Century Literature
E2b or E2c- Language and Rationality; or E5c - Humanities; CSU C2; UC; IGETC 3B Units (Grade only) 3; Prerequisite(s): English 101.

Description: This course will take us out and about in Florence, visiting street theater and performance. We will study the history and current incarnations of Commedia dell’Arte, the great tradition of public, political, profane, and humorous Italian street performance. Students will study both classical forms of Commedia dell’Arte as well as the recent productions of Dario Fo and Franca Rame. We will also make a side-step to Luigi Pirandello, whose innovative work in the theater serves as a precursor to contemporary drama. DAYS / TIMES: MW 8:30 - 10:20 am

Literature 220 / Introduction to World Literature
(AA: Area E2b or E2c - Language and Rationality; or E5c - Humanities, CSU: C2- Humanities; UC: Area 3B)

Description: Study of world literature and texts (poetry, prose, drama, and film) from antiquity to the present. This course brings Renaissance Florence back to life through the reading of literary masterpieces. We will descend into the Inferno with Dante, escape the bubonic plague by reading tales from the Decameron, and wander the streets of Renaissance Florence under the expert guidance of Renaissance goldsmith, braggart, and wild man Benvenuto Cellini. DAYS / TIMES: MW 2:10 - 4 pm


Anthropology 300 / Physical Anthropology
(3 units; Pass/No Pass or Letter Grade)
Recommended: completion of ENGWR 51, Developmental Writing, or ESLR 50, Intermediate-Mid Reading, with a grade of “C” or better; or equivalent skills demonstrated through the assessment process CSU/UC; AA/AS Area IV - Natural Sciences; CSU Area B2 - Life Science; IGETC Area 5B - Biological Sciences CAN ANTH 4

Description: This course is an introduction to the science of physical anthropology. Topics to be covered will include: the field of anthropology; the scientific method; genetics and inheritance; natural selection; principles and mechanics of evolution; evidence of evolution; modern human variation; living primates; and the fossil evidence for human evolution.

No student of anthropology can ignore the importance of biological classification to the development of evolutionary thought, and Florence is where biological classification was first conceived. Even before Linnaeus outlined the kingdoms and orders we use today, the herbarium at the Botanical Museum at the University of Florence established the first rules for biological classification in 1563, and it’s still open to students!

One of my favorite museums in the world is the History of Science Museum, which houses the telescope that Galileo used to reframe the trajectory of modern scientific thought. And we’ll have the opportunity to see that telescope. DAYS / TIMES: TTH 2:10-4pm

Anthropology 320 / Introduction to Archaeology and World Prehistory
(3 units; Pass/No Pass or Letter Grade) CSU/UC; AA/AS Area V(b) - Social & Behavioral Sciences; CSU Area D2 - Social, Political & Economic Institutions and Behavior; IGETC Area 4A - Social & Behavioral Sciences

Description: This course is an introduction to the field of Archaeology and a survey of World Prehistory. Students will be introduced to the theories, concepts, and methods employed by archaeologists in the study of the human past. By examining the archaeological record of cultures in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, this course explores the trajectory of human cultures from the Upper Paleolithic onward, using a range of case studies from around the world.

Florence’s Archaeology Museum is world class, housing antiquities from every corner of the Classical world, and the National Museum of Anthropology & Ethnology is one of the most important anthropology museums in all of Europe. We’re also just a stone’s throw away from Perugia where some of the finest examples of surviving Etruscan architecture stand. For students who want to travel a bit further, Pompeii and Herculaneum are worth a visit. So much of what we know about the Roman world comes from there. DAYS / TIMES: MW 10:30am - 12:20 pm

Anthropology 330 / Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion
(3 units; Pass/No Pass or Letter Grade)CSU/UC; AA/AS Area V(b) - Social & Behavioral Sciences and VI - Ethnic/Multicultural Studies; CSU Area D2 - Social, Political & Economic Institutions and Behavior; IGETC Area 4A - Social & Behavioral Sciences

Description: This is a cross-cultural study of the forms and functions and supernatural beliefs and associated rituals in various societies of Africa, Asia, aboriginal Australia, Oceania, South America, native North America and elsewhere. The emphasis of the course is on understanding beliefs and rituals within their social contexts, and on broad comparison to derive insight into the general functions of beliefs and rituals in human life.

Florence is the ideal place to vest our studies. The birthplace of Humanism, home to the Medici popes, it was here that Dominican priest Savonarola presided over the Bonfire of the Vanities so that Florentines would not be tempted to sin. DAYS / TIMES: MW 2:10 - 4 pm


Humanities 105 / Arts & Ideas SYLLABUS
(3 units; pass, no pass or letter grade, CSU-C2-Humanities /UC-3B-Humanities / IGETC 3B-Humanities /AA-III.B. Humanities / Recommended English 122)

Description: This is a non-chronological course that introduces students to the integration of creative arts and the world of ideas. Students will learn to analyze, interpret and relate masterworks selected from literature, music, painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, and film, to trends in philosophy, religion and political and scientific thought.
The class will examine arts and ideas from a variety of cultures drawn from various historical periods, but special attention will be given to the arts and culture of Italy. From Futurism to feminism, from Catholicism to communism to consumerism, Italian culture provides unique opportunities to examine the relations between its arts and ideas. At the same time, students will be encouraged to relate Italian cultural production to works and movements from other cultures.
Students will analyze both the role of art and the role of the artist in selected works. Class themes include art as expression of tradition and continuity, art as an agent of social change and resistance, arts and censorship, public versus private art, popular culture as both reflection and forger of society, the role of architecture and design, advertising, and a section on Italian – U.S. artistic connections. DAYS / TIMES: TTH 2:10 - 4 pm

Humanities 111 / Middle Ages & Renaissance (500 A.D. - 1700 A.D.) SYLLABUS
(3 units; pass, no pass or letter grade, CSU-C2-Humanities /UC-3B-Humanities / IGETC 3B-Humanities /AA-III.B. Humanities / Recommended English 122)

Description: The focus of this class is what Florence is best known for – the visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture), music, literature, drama, architecture, philosophy, religion, science and technology, as they developed from the Medieval through the Renaissance periods. Our primary focus will be the visual arts, and specific works will be examined in an integrative method, one which encourages students to forge connections between different art forms and the ideas that provided their cultural context. From the intimacy of portrait paintings to the bold pronouncements of public sculpture we will examine how the arts, architecture and urban fabric constitute a "portrait" of Florence. Students will benefit from the unique opportunity to examine the objects of their study directly on site, and classes will take full advantage of the surrounding environment of Florence. The architecture, museums, galleries, gardens and other artistically significant sites in Florence will animate the historical subjects of this class. DAYS / TIMES: TTH 8:30-10:20 am

Humanities 118 / Film, Fiction & Criticism SYLLABUS
(3 units; pass, no pass or letter grade, CSU-C2-Humanities /UC-3B-Humanities / IGETC 3B-Humanities /AA-III.B. Humanities / Recommended English 122)

Description: This class will examine literary works, films that have been made from those works, and the branch of philosophy called aesthetic criticism. More specifically, the class will focus on Italian films and fiction (with English subtitles or translations) drawn from a range of genres. The interdisciplinary and critical analysis of film and fiction will enhance our understanding of these forms, which are often considered in isolation. Students will gain an understanding of Italian film history, will learn how to analyze both the form and content of literary and cinematic works, and will consider ways in which both express aspects of Italian culture and both regional and national identity. DAYS / TIMES: MW 4:10-6:00 pm

HIST 4.1 / Western Civilization to 1648
(3 units; Pass/no pass or letter grade) Recommended Preparation: Eligibility for ENGL 1A or equivalent AA/AS Area E – Humanities CSU GE Transfer Area C2 Humanities IGETC Area 3B Humanities CAN Hist2

Description: In this survey course, students will be introduced to the political, social, cultural, and economic events that shaped Western Civilization from its Near Eastern roots to the Thirty Years’ War (1648). Major topics include ancient Near Eastern civilizations, ancient Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation. We’ll pay particular attention to these developments in Florence, from the fall of the Roman Empire, through the black plague and the battles between the Guelfs and Ghibellines during the Middle Ages, to the rise of humanism and the birth of the Renaissance. We’ll walk in the footsteps of literary giants like Dante and Boccaccio, visit the office of Machiavelli, the Godfather of “Realpolitik”, explore the palaces, churches, and offices built by the Medici dynasty, and marvel at the innovations and contributions of artists, architects and scientists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Da Vinci, and Galileo. DAYS / TIMES: TTH 10:30 am -12:20 pm

POLS1 / Introduction to United States Government
(3 units; Pass/no pass or letter grade) Recommended Preparation: Completion of ENGL 100 or ESL 100. AA/AS Area D – Social and Behavioral Sciences; Area F – American Institutions CSU GE Transfer Area D Social Science, D2 Economics, D4 Gender Studies, F2 Constitution and American Ideals IGETC Area 4H – Political Science, Government and Legal Institutions CAN Govt2

Description: Explore the way the U.S. government functions through a comparative lens. This course offers a unique perspective on the American political process as we compare the American and Italian experience in negotiating the central questions in politics: Who governs? Who benefits? And how do the rules of a country's political game affect this? In this class, we will examine the interplay among the United States’ main political institutions and evaluate how this influences the ability of the public to control policy and the country's ability to respond to pressing economic and social problems. Where appropriate, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between the U.S. and Italian political systems, and compare how each country deals with public policy issues such as health care, food safety, education, immigration, welfare, and criminal justice. DAYS / TIMES: TTh 8:30 am - 10:20 am

POLS25 / Introduction to International Relations
(3 units; Pass/no pass or letter grade)Recommended Preparation: Eligibility for ENGL 1A or equivalent AA/AS Area D – Social and Behavioral Sciences CSU GE Transfer Area D Social Science, D2 Economics, D5 Geography, D6 History IGETC Area 4H – Political Science, Government and Legal Institutions POLS25 SYLLABUS

Description: Studying international relations in Florence offers a unique vantage point from which to follow current debates on pressing international issues such as global warming, terrorism, free trade, refugee crises, world hunger, and the politics of food. This course has three aims: to introduce fundamental theories and problems in IR; to explore principal contemporary international issues; and to teach you to think and argue critically about issues of international relations. We begin the course by defining international relations and looking at some of the analytical tools, concepts, and theories IR scholars use to study the behavior of states in the international system. We’ll pay particular attention to realist theories associated with thinkers like Machiavelli and explore critiques of realism. In the second section of the course, we’ll examine contemporary and future problems in the international system and investigate the feasibility of implementing policies that will improve the human condition in all nations. DAYS / TIMES: MW 10:30 am - 12:20 pm

SOCSC 383, 499, 162 or 48.14* / Italian Life & Culture

ILC Class Schedule (ALL STUDENTS)


Description: The required Italian Life & Culture class (ILC) provides an interesting mixture of guest lectures, occasional field trips, relevant reading on modern Italy, and some introduction to Italian language. Part of the ILC requirement is that all students have 2 hours a week of Italian language. All students will be required to meet twice a week for an hour each session. Your hourly session will be held either MW from 1-2 or TTh from 1-2, and students will be placed in either the MW or TTh session based on their level of language skills (level 1, no background in Italian; level 2, some background in Italian). The Italian instructor will assign both a midterm and a final exam. Those grades are provided to the faculty member of your host school. Beyond the two hours a week of language, there will be additional meetings when guest lectures / activities will be scheduled. Your host school faculty member determines a final grade for this class based on a combination of your Italian language grade and your grade for the lecture / reading assignment components of the class. * Note that the class number and transfer information for the ILC class differ according to your host school.


The classes described above will be held in the historic Piazza della Repubblica situated in Florence's city center and within close walking distance to all student housing.