Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Assisi, Italy; Eisleben, Germany; Erfurt, Germany; Florence, Italy; Geneva, Switzerland; Mainz, Germany; Rome, Italy; Wittenberg, Germany; Zurich, Switzerland
  • Program Terms: May Experience
  • Restrictions: Furman applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: May Experience
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
May Experience 2019 10/29/2018 11/14/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Faculty-led Language of Instruction: English
Minimum GPA: 2.5 Areas of Study: All majors welcome, English, Religion
Faculty Director or Program Advisor: David Fink - Religion, Margaret Oakes - English Applicable Financial Aid: Study Away Scholarship
Type of Course Credit: Furman course credit Credit Hours Per Term: 2 credits
Program Description:

Program-Specific Info Sessions:
Monday, October 23rd at 3:30pm in Johns 101
Tuesday, October 24th at 5:30pm in Johns 101

Icons and Idols: Material Religion in Reformation Europe


Assisi Basilica   Mainz Cathedral


Conducted on-site in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, this course will introduce students to the dramatic upheavals in the visual and material cultures of Western Europe brought about by the religious reform movements of the sixteenth century—the Renaissance and the Reformation. The course will begin in Rome, with a detailed consideration of the art, architecture, and material piety of late medieval Catholicism. From there, we will travel to Assisi and Florence, where we will explore sites associated with late medieval renewal and reform movements. From Florence we will fly across the Alps to Berlin and thence to a series of sites and cities associated with the career of Martin Luther, whose posting of the Ninety-Five Theses 500 years ago set off the Protestant Reformation. Here our focus will be not only on the biography of Luther and his associates, but also on how Luther’s movement posed radical challenges to the art, architecture, and literary cultures of early modern Europe. The final phase of our trip will finish in Zurich and Geneva, two cities in which these challenges were carried to their logical conclusion, as iconoclasm and other changes to traditional devotional practices resulted in a radical reconfiguration of the ways in which matter mediated the divine for early modern Christians—results which still shape the way in which Western Christians understand and experience religion five hundred years later.

To learn more academic, environmental, physical and health expectations for this program view our Icons & Idols Program Inventory.


Course Title: Material Religion in Reformation Europe
Course Number: REL 239
Course Description: Conducted on-site in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland, this course will introduce students to the dramatic upheavals in the visual and material cultures of Western Europe brought about by the religious reform movements of the sixteenth century. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.


May Experience programs are open to Furman University students of all majors, subject to any course prerequisites. Successful applicants will demonstrate a marked academic, vocational, or personal interest in the topic of the course. The faculty directors of this program will read all applications and admit the most qualified individuals. All things being equal, preference is given to upperclassmen who have not participated in a study away program previously.


The Rinker Center for Study Away and International Education reviews all study away programs on an annual basis, and more frequently as needed, to plan for and mitigate risks associated with the health and safety of participants while traveling. In this day and age, nothing is risk-free. Students and faculty are instructed to remain vigilant and cautious at all times and will receive additional instructions during a pre-departure orientation session and on-site orientation programming. When students commit to a study away program, they are asked to self-disclose personal information - which may include allergies, medications, disabilities, mental health conditions, medical concerns, and past medical histories. This information is shared with the faculty directors and study away staff for use during medical emergencies, and in an effort to be aware of and plan for situations that may arise or accommodations that are needed while students are away from Furman's campus resources. It is extremely important for students to be transparent and forthcoming about their concerns, needs, and medical histories prior to the start of the program as well as during the program. Furman University contracts with Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators (EIIA) to provide medical and emergency services to students while traveling abroad on Furman study away programs. Students participating in study away programs in the United States are required to show proof of medical insurance.


To confirm participation in a study away program, a non-refundable $500 deposit is due two weeks after acceptance. The final payment deadline is in early to mid-March and will be specified in the Financial Agreement associated with the program.

Study Away Need-Based Scholarships
Need-based study away scholarships are available. Priority is given to students who have not previously participated in a study away program. Students who apply by the May Experience scholarship deadline will receive a scholarship amount estimate ahead of the program deposit deadline. Townes, Duke, and Hollingsworth Scholars should alert the Rinker Center for Study Away to apply their one-time study away stipend to their study away program.

May Experience Study Away Program Fee Inclusions
        Roundtrip airfare from a designated city (for international destinations)
        Transportation for domestic study away programs varies by program
Tourist visas (if required)
Lodging for the duration of the program
Ground transportation for program-related activities/events
Entrance fees to programmed activities/events/venues
Tours included in the study away program
Group meals (students will know ahead of time how many group meals will be provided)
Emergency Medical Insurance (on international programs)

Program Fee Exclusions
Transportation to the designated departure city (for international programs)
Transportation for domestic study away programs varies by program
Meals not included in program fee (will vary by program)
Required books/materials/supplies/equipment/gear
Passport fees

Optional Program Expenses
Site-seeing during free time
International cell phone plan
Trip cancellation or interruption insurance 
Personal expenses and souvenirs

Please see May Experience Budget Sheet at the top of this page for estimated program costs.