The Freshman Fall Abroad Program

The Freshman Fall Abroad (FFA) program is a signature experience of Sacred Heart University. During the FFA program, we challenge our students to be fearless in their curiosity by making the world their classroom. A semester studying abroad is an exciting and intellectually stimulating way to begin one’s college career. FFA students spend their first semester enrolled in SHU classes, in either Italy or Ireland, and then enroll in classes on the SHU Fairfield campus in the spring semester.


The FFA program provides students with an international foundation early in their academic careers. With programming the supports a broad range of educational, professional, and person objectives, there is no better way for students to learn about themselves, expand their worldviews, acquire marketable skills, and develop the habits of mind, heart, and spirit that will prepare them to engage purposefully in a global world.

This program provides:

  • An opportunity to forge strong bonds with SHU freshman
  • Small class sizes and specialized curriculum tailored to SHU core graduation requirements
  • Carefully-chosen, university-managed living arrangements
  • The opportunity to travel, volunteer, and to participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities
  • Full-time staff members, in both Fairfield and abroad, to assist with your transition to college life abroad

Students may be a good candidate for the Freshman Fall Abroad program if they:

  • Wish to study abroad immediately, rather than waiting
  • Possess intellectual curiosity and are ready for a transformative experience
  • Love to learn though seeing and doing
  • Having a keen interest in international travel
  • Are open to immersing yourself in a different culture
  • Have the maturity to balance academics, travel, and living abroad



FFA students spend the first semester of college in one of two places – Dingle, Ireland or Rome, Italy – before enrolling in classes on SHU Fairfield campus in the spring semester.

Freshman Fall in Dingle

At our Dingle campus, students have the unrivaled opportunity to dive into Irish culture in the heart of the Irish-speaking Dingle ‘Gaeltacht’ region. They not only read about Ireland; they live the Irish experience through hands-on seminars led by accomplished scholars and local experts using Dingle as the campus classroom. All of our courses feature active participation and immersion – both in and out of the classroom.

Freshman Fall in Rome

Our partner campus in Rome is at John Cabot University (JCU), located in the historic center of Rome along the Tiber River. Take a tour of the Trastevere neighborhood! JCU has a long history of hosting study abroad students from the U.S. and around the world, and offers the small classes and hands-on education that SHU students are seeking. It is an American University, as such students have access to all campus resources in English, and all classes are taught in English as well. Campus facilities include a library, Wi-Fi, digital media and studio art facilities, computer labs, a cafeteria, and a student center.