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ITALY - AIFS Florence + Internship

Study art, art history, Italian language and culture and more during a semester in Florence, Italy. It would be exciting for you to live and study in Florence and experience all that this historic Italian city has to offer.

The compact city center puts the history, art, and architecture of the Renaissance right at your doorstep. Be a part of the community, not just a tourist, living in your own Florentine apartment and enjoying restaurants and cafes throughout the city. Experience the culinary side of Italian culture with wine tasting and cooking classes. Explore Italy’s artistic heritage with visits to museums, art galleries, and monuments, all while completing an internship.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 for students with at least 18.75 LFC credits by the start of the program; 3.0 minimum GPA for students with 12-18.5 LFC credits (3.0 for all students seeking placements in finance)
  • Students must complete an internship in this program. This program is not for courses-only.

This program is taught by faculty of Richmond, The American International University in London. The University is an independent, non-profit international university of liberal arts and professional studies. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Director of the Richmond Florence Program is appointed by Richmond and supervised by the Richmond administration in London. Professors in the Richmond study abroad programs are appointed by the University both from its own faculty and from cooperating institutions. With its elegant, gracious rooms, the Center serves as a convenient, attractive, welcoming environment for students and teachers.

The program faculty is used to working with American and other international students that are from liberal arts institutions.

The Internship Program consists of mandatory Italian language for a total of 8 credits (including orientation), a 6-credit, unpaid, résumé-enhancing internship and one additional 3-credit course related to the chosen internship. Students may also choose an additional 1-credit optional Introduction to Italian Art course, taught primarily during the field trips to Rome and Venice, for a total of 18 credits or 4.5 Lake Forest credits.  Students must take a minimum of 15-semester credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.

The Center in Florence is equipped with classrooms, offices, a library, a computer lab and a student lounge. WiFi is also available during office hours to students with laptops.

Information on the courses available can be found here.

Student Life

To help you get a true taste of Italian culture, AIFS-Richmond staff organize an excellent program of cultural and social activities and advise students on how to get the most from life in Florence. Past activities have included:

  • Italian cooking classes
  • Wine tastings
  • Pizza making class
  • Italian chocolate tastings
  • Italian cheese tastings
  • Gelato tour (discover the best “gelaterie” in town)
  • Concerts/theater (operas and ballets)
  • Dinners with Italians
  • Lectures and workshops
  • Museum visits
  • Art galleries
  • Costume jewelry making

Class related field trips and extracurricular trips have included visits to:

  • Milan
  • Vinci
  • Pisa
  • Lucca
  • Cinque Terre
  • Tuscan farm
  • Fashion factory
  • Ferrari Museum
  • Vespa factory (Piaggio Museum)
  • Backstage visit to the famous Pitti Immagine Uomo fashion show

Information on other attractive locations in Italy is made available to students.

  Internship Opportunities

Alongside their Italian Language course, students have an internship placement plus review meetings with workplace supervisors and Richmond faculty for a total of 270 hours (6 credits), plus one course that must be related to the Internship.

Students intern in companies based in Florence for 12 weeks. Students taking the internship are also required to attend specially designed seminars throughout the semester. The Internship program combines workplace learning with classroom-based study and regular review sessions with workplace supervisors and Richmond faculty. Credit is awarded only after successful completion of all aspects of the program. Internships are unpaid and monitored by the workplace supervisor and a Richmond faculty member.

In addition to working and attending the internship seminars, students are required to submit a journal recording duties and learning, as well as an analysis of specified aspects of the work experience. They must also submit a final research paper describing and analyzing the workplace, the industry and goals achieved. Students give a presentation on their internship. Assessment is based on the above criteria. Grades of A to F, with pluses and minuses, in accordance with the University grading policy are assigned and recorded on your Richmond transcript.

Take a look at the AIFS Internship Video!

  Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer work is offered to those who wish to take an active role in their local community. Placements are offered in a variety of different environments – schools, hospitals, museums and daycare and recreational centers. This is a great opportunity for students to improve their Italian language ability, to gain the confidence of the locals and to experience the heart and soul of Italian culture.

Housing and Meals

Typical accommodations might be with an Italian host family (a single person or retired couple) in a residential section of Florence or in a carefully selected apartment shared with up to 9 other students. If in an apartment, approximately 325 euros for the semester should be paid directly to the landlord in cash upon arrival as a deposit for utilities. Housing is located within a 30-minute walk from the Study Center.

The meal plan is one of the highlights of the Florence program, with almost 100% of students rating it “excellent” or “good.” Valued at approximately $1,700, as well as being incredible value for money, it gives you a unique opportunity to become part of the Florentine culinary culture, dining alongside locals in selected restaurants and trattorias or shopping in neighborhood grocery stores. You will receive 10 vouchers per week (five breakfasts plus five lunches or dinners excluding during excursions) that can be used in restaurants, coffee shops, delis, and supermarkets, giving you the flexibility to eat out or pool resources and cook in your apartment with your fellow students.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for the AIFS Florence program includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, cultural activities, excursions to Rome and Venice, and insurance.  A stipend is provided to help cover the cost of some meals.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item



Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office