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 a 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):

  • Tuesday, July 23, 2024: Depart for Siena
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2024: Arrive in Siena
  • Thursday, August 22, 2024: 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 23, 2024).

IntroDUCKtion: For Summer 2024, 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.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2024 4/15/2024 7/24/2024 8/22/2024
Academic Details

This is a four-week summer program for incoming fall 2024 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
  • Medieval Culture in the context of Siena and Today’s Reality (four credits towards UO Arts & Letters requirement)
  • The Art of Neuroscience (four credits towards UO Science requirement)

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 23, 2024.

All participants must be enrolled at the University of Oregon starting fall term 2024, as of May 1, 2024. 

Application process

Application Instructions: To create an application for this program, please click the “Start an Application” 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

This program has a rolling admission application processGEO staff (and the program faculty leader, if applicable) will complete a review of the application materials of complete applications in the order that they are submitted (“first come, first serve”). Decisions about acceptance will be made shortly after you submit a complete application. There are some programs that fill fast, some even before the deadline. Students are encouraged to complete applications and commit to programs early.

Faculty and Staff

Nicole Dudukovic (Ph.D., Stanford) is the Director of the Neuroscience Program at the University of Oregon, where she teaches in the Clark Honors College and the Psychology Department. She has considerable experience with academic advising and incorporates her scholarship on learning and memory into her classes and advising sessions. Dudukovic has traveled extensively in Italy and considers her time studying abroad there as one of the most formative experiences of her college career.

Daniele Di Lodovico (Ph.D., University of Washington) grew up in Italy and graduated from the University of Perugia in 2003 with a dissertation on Medieval Art. In 2008 he received his Master's in Italian Studies at the University of Washington (Seattle). After his MA he received his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in art history, specializing in Late Medieval and Renaissance art. Since 2019, Di Lodovico teaches courses in art history and architecture from prehistory through the twentieth century, and intermediate and special topics courses in Medieval and Renaissance Art at Oregon State University. 

Housing Description

You will be housed in double-occupancy rooms in a hotel in the heart of Siena’s historic city center, which is part of the ancient compound containing the Sanctuary of Saint Catherine located in the "Noble Goose Contrada" district. It is only a 5-minute walk to "Piazza del Campo," the main city square.

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. If you are not able to attend dinner for any reason, please notify the GEO staff in advance.