Advancing Your Academic Success: Pre-Freshman Studies in Siena

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Incoming UO Freshman
Location: Europe, Italy
GPA: 3.0
Program Overview

Can’t wait for college to begin? Get a head start on your University of Oregon academic career while studying in the picturesque Tuscan hillside town of Siena. Located in the heart of Tuscany, about 35 miles from Florence, Siena is home to the world-famous Palio, a horse race that takes place twice a summer, and where you will begin your college experience on Global Education Oregon’s study abroad program: Advancing Your Academic Success: Pre-Freshman Studies in Siena.

Watch a Zoom info session with a past Pre-Freshman student and faculty leader!

Upon arrival in Siena, you’ll quickly become acquainted with this beautiful medieval city, the Piazza del Campo, and the Siena Duomo as the city becomes your classroom. Your classes will meet at the GEO Siena Center, a beautiful building located inside the medieval city wall in the heart of the city. As you take courses, you will be inspired by the environment around you, as your classrooms are adorned with fresco paintings on the ceilings.

In addition, you’ll join your professors on excursions to the UNESCO World Heritage site San Gimignano, learn about and experience the Palio firsthand, and explore art and culture in historical context. You will also get to enjoy one of the best parts of studying in Italy (the food!) as you partake in a private Italian cooking class. All program-related textbooks, excursions, performances, and local transportation are included in the program fee.

Program Itinerary (subject to change):

  • Wednesday, July 20, 2022: Depart for Siena
  • Thursday, July 21, 2022: Arrive in Siena
  • Thursday, August 18, 2022: Depart Siena

In addition, we are excited to offer a similar Pre-Freshman Studies program in London this summer! Students can apply to both programs however can only attend one due to overlapping dates.

Minimum Age Requirement: Please note that due to Italian laws, students must be 18 years or older by the Siena program departure date (July 20, 2022).

IntroDUCKtion: For Summer 2022, students going to Siena may participate in any IntroDUCKtion session before or after the Pre-Freshman program that does not conflict with the Siena program dates. Please register for IntroDUCKtion at this site:

*Please note credits earned on this program are earned through the University of Oregon's Community Education Program. Therefore this program is not eligible for federal financial aid, including federal student or parent loans.

Application Instructions: To create an application for this program, please click the “apply now” button. If you are on a computer, this will be in the upper right hand of the screen, and if you are on your mobile phone, it will be at the bottom. You will be brought to the login page, where you can create an account. Please take the following steps:

  • Choose “I do not have login credentials to this site.”
  • Choose “I am not currently registered at an institution. You are not yet a UO student, and therefore should not plan on using any UO information.
  • Fill out the following form requesting your name, date of birth, gender, and email.

When you submit this form, an account will be generated for you, and an email will be sent to you with your login and password information. If at any point you have issues with this process, please contact

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2022 3/15/2022 4/15/2022 7/21/2022 8/18/2022
Academic Details

This is a four-week summer program for incoming Fall 2022 first-term Freshmen students that allows you to earn nine credits towards your University of Oregon degree in an international setting.

All courses are taught in English.

Courses include:

  • Advancing Your Academic Success
  • The Palio and the Contrade of Siena (four credits towards UO Arts & Letters requirement) - View Syllabus
  • The Art of Observation (four credits towards UO Arts & Letters requirement) - View Syllabus

Students should be prepared for a rigorous academic experience. You will be expected to demonstrate maturity and critical thinking both inside and outside the classroom. Courses will meet for several hours at a time, four times each week, with additional mandatory excursions. You should be prepared for class meetings on all weekdays. 

We also encourage you to follow the GEO Siena Center social media page to see what current Siena students are learning about throughout the year!

Course Equivalencies

UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Additional requirements

Program participants must be 18 or older as of July 20, 2022. Please note this program has a Priority Deadline. Complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee.

All participants must be enrolled at University of Oregon starting fall term 2022, as of May 1, 2022. 

Faculty and Staff

Kate Mondloch (PhD, UCLA) is a professor of contemporary art history in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Oregon, where she holds a joint appointment as Faculty-in-Residence in the Clark Honors College. She has extensive experience with study abroad programs, including teaching Italian Cinema and Contemporary Art in Siena as well as the GEO Advancing Your Academic Success: Pre-freshman studies in London.

The Palio and the Contrade of Siena course will be taught by local faculty Dr. Giovanni Mazzini. Professor Mazzini is currently considered the greatest expert in the History of the Sienese Contrade and the Palio, about which he has published many relevant works. He frequently appears in documentaries and TV programs about the Palio. Since 2018 he has been the co-anchorman of the live TV broadcasting of the Palio for the Rai TV (national public broadcasting television of Italy).

Housing Description

You will be housed in double-occupancy rooms in a hotel north of the pedestrian area of ​​the historic center of Siena. Located within the city walls it dominates the medieval part of the city, in one of the oldest districts, the Contrada della Lupa – the She-Wolf district. The hotel is located just a few minutes walk from Piazza del Campo, the heart of the historic city center where you can admire the magnificent Fonte Gaia, the wonderful Palazzo Pubblico and all the historic buildings in the shadow of the Torre del Mangia.


Breakfast and dinner are included in the program fee. Breakfast will be provided by the hotel, and dinner will be provided by local restaurants in close proximity to the GEO Siena Center and the hotel. You will be on your own for lunches, which are easily bought at local cafes and eateries, or the local grocery store.

Travel Advisories

GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty and limited travel. All program details outlined on this page, including program cost, are subject to change if global or location-specific conditions require modifications to program structure.

To learn more about COVID regulations while studying abroad, visit our FAQ page.