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Faculty-Led Semester Abroad

​​Fall 2023: Flor​​ence, Italy
Spend this fall living and learning in the thriving city of Florence! RCCD will offer a semester long study abroad program in Florence, Italy in fall 2023. Florence is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany region. Florence was a center of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered by many academics to have been the birthplace of the Renaissance, becoming a major artistic, cultural, commercial, political, economic and financial center. Seven hundred years of cultural and artistic blooming are tangible today in the 14th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi gallery, and the Palazzo Pitti. The city's history is further evident in the artistic works of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo.

Travel Dates
      • ​Wednesday, September 6 - Thursday, November 30, 2023​

      • Six classes will be offered by RCCD faculty in Florence (3 in Chemistry and 3 in Communication Studies)

      • Students will enroll in 12 credits (four (4) courses at three (3) credits each) taught by RCCD faculty​

      • A guest speaker exploring the history of Florence​

      • ​Optional Beginner Italian Language Course

      • Academic support from dedicated staff​

      • Riverside Community College District will issue the credit for these courses
Program Fees
      • Price reduced to:​ 
        $8065 per student, minus $500 (CEACAPA scholarship) for each applicant​​​​​​

      • Total New Program Fee
        $7565 per student (paid to CEACAPA) + $1300 airline ticket fee (paid to RCCD) - Must be paid by May 17​, 2023​​
Program fees includes student housing, classrooms, cultural activities, and in country health insurance.​

How to Enroll

If you are interested in the program and would like to know more, please fill out the program interest form to be invited to the next information session. 

Program Interest Form
Florence Program Application (Apply befor​e April 28, 2023)
Meet Your Faculty & Courses Taught in Florence
Emily Spencer

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Riverside City College, MTSC 427

CHE-2A - Introductory Chemistry I (4 units) UC, CSU Prerequisite: MAT-52 - Lecture and Lab

Introduction to the nature of chemicals, their properties, chemical bonding, reactions, mixtures, environmental topics, and nuclear chemistry. Appropriate for students going into one of the allied health fields (nursing, dental hygiene etc.), for students advancing to general chemistry, and even for non-science majors. Italy is country with a rich culture of fine food, music, and art which is why the course will use the concepts of food chemistry, chemistry of art, and the chemistry of music as a platform for learning.

CHE-10 - Chemistry for Everyone (3 units) UC, CSU - Lecture Only

This is a survey course emphasizing historical and modern chemistry and chemical issues. With the chemical industry in Italy being the 3rd largest in Europe as well as petrochemicals and plastics being the main sectors, environmental impacts of this type of commerce are ripe for exploration. Processing of raw materials into finished products and the impact that has on the environment will be part of this discussion. This course is designed to provide a general overview of how chemistry applies and contributes to society. Topics include, but are not limited to, atoms and molecules, acids and bases, organic and biochemical compounds, genetics, and nuclear chemistry. Students will utilize the available cultural treasures of Florence to experience chemistry.

CHE-17 - Introduction to the Development of Modern Science (3 units) UC, CSU - Lecture Only   

A survey of the rise of modern science in Western civilization from the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries through the biological and earth science revolutions of the 20th century. The historical forces that led to major scientific developments and the impact of science and science-based technology on society will be examined. Special emphasis will be placed on exploring the roll that Italian scientists such as Galileo Galilei (astronomer, physicist, and father of modern science), Evangelista Torricelli (physicist, mathematician, and inventor of the barometer), Marcello Malpighi (biologist, physician, founder of microscopic anatomy), and Giovanni Borelli (physiologist, mathematician, biomechanics) had in the evolution of scientific theory.

mark lewis


Mark Lewis
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Norco College

​​​COM 1 - Public Speaking (3 units)

Students prepare, present and evaluate a variety of speeches. Our informative and persuasive speech topics will be rooted in local culture and history. As we engage the experience of Florence, Tuscany, and Italy we will discover topics that can be researched electronically and through firsthand visits and interviews. Informative speech topics could be gelato, the fake David statues, the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence fashion trends, the impact of study abroad trips on the city of Florence, etc. Then we will grow our persuasive speaking skills with an emphasis on Roman orators, Cicero and Quintillian, as we seek to persuade our audience.

COM 11 - Storytelling (3 units)

Students learn the role and history of the oral tradition of storytelling and how to select, prepare and present stories from a variety of genres and cultures. We begin our journey by rediscovering the joy of being a storyteller and relating personal discoveries, fears, challenges, and triumphs through stories of our travel experiences. Then we turn to the simplicity of the folktales and fairytales discovering the values of our host culture through the tales collected from the Italian oral tradition by Straparola, Basile, Gonzenbach, and Calvino. Next, we explore the world of myth and legend drawing upon Roman/Italian tales while comparing motifs and values found in other cultures as we employ Joseph Campbell's work on the Hero's Journey. Finally, we focus on fact-based tales and the personal tale giving students the opportunity to draw upon their experiences they've had while studying abroad or other life experience as they shape their own Hero's Journey.

COM 12 - Intercultural Communication (3 units)

This class focuses on communicating across cultural differences. Our study will support us to navigate the culture we will be living in, and appreciate and flourish in the diversity of our fellow travelers' cultures. Each foray into the world of Florence, Tuscany, and beyond becomes our opportunity to employ the concepts of the class. As we observe and interact with our host culture, language, and social patterns and we hope to notice, first-hand, how members of groups relate among themselves and with members of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Through field trips, local volunteer opportunities, and access to the public spaces of Florence we will emphasize self-evaluation and skill development. The classroom will become our safe-space to process the normal discomfort we encounter while we actively engage the world of Florence as active participants in intercultural communication.