Ciao, Siena! History, Art, and Ecology

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore or above
Location: Europe, Italy
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

Embark on a transformative academic journey in Siena, Italy, exploring captivating courses that delve into diverse facets of history, culture, and societal bonds.

Discover the lesser-known historical ties between Siena and the Silk Road networks that have bridged Europe and Asia for centuries. Unveil the cultural imprints on Italian cuisine, art, and fashion stemming from both European and Asian influences.

Contemplate the intricate relationship between humans and animals, reflecting on the question: do animals define our humanity? Witness urban dog walkers and park-side bird watchers, gaining insights into societal and cultural patterns that evolve over time. Dive into Italian art's portrayal of creatures across different historical periods within local museums.

This comprehensive program allows participants to immerse themselves in the vibrant history, cultural intricacies, and contemporary relevance of Siena, through a blend of academic exploration, experiential learning, and engaging field experiences.

Program ScholarshipApplicants to this program have the option to apply for a program-specific scholarship. Award recipients are chosen based on academic merit, financial need, and overall quality of their essay. Individual awards range from $500 - $1,000. To be considered, the Scholarship Essay must be completed by the program application deadline. Please refer to the Scholarship Essay instructions in the program application or speak with your GEO advisor for more details.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Fall 2024 4/15/24 9/19/2024 12/7/2024
Academic Details

This program will focus on intricacies of Italian food, culture, fashion, and history pertaining to trade on the Silk Road, as well as the bond between humans and animals in Italy’s rich artistic and literary history. Click on the “View All Courses” button in the sidebar to view detailed course descriptions.

You will enroll in at least four courses: 3 required courses and 1 elective. These courses are open to all students of all interests, and the professor can provide additional projects and assignments to help fulfill specific department requirements. Classes are seminar format.

Required Courses:

  • Siena On the Silk Roads: From Marco Polo To Xi Jinping (4 UO quarter credits)
  • The Animal-Human Bond In Italian Society, Art, And Literature (4 UO quarter credits)
  • Cross-Cultural Communications/Cross-Cultural Perspectives (2 UO quarter credits)
  • One elective course:
    • Wine in Italy and the Western World (4 UO quarter credits)
    • Italian Language (101, 201) (5 UO quarter credits)
    • Art History: Rediscovery of Humanity (5 UO quarter credits)

Siena on the Silk Roads fulfills Honors College 400-level Social Science Colloquium requirement; Core Education Social Science or Global Perspective requirements; and may be approved for upper-division History, European Studies, Global Studies, Geography, or Political Science credits (department approval required).

The Animal-Human Bond fulfills Honors College 400-level Social Science Colloquium requirement; Core Education Social Science or Global Perspective requirements; and may be approved for upper-division Art History, Environmental Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, WGSS, or Journalism credits (department approval required).

Optional Service-Learning Placement:

Students are welcome to participate in a service learning placement as part of the Cross-Cultural Perspectives course. If you opt for the service learning placement, you will be required to make both a personal and a professional commitment. As part of the Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Service Learning course, you will design a project in partnership with your organization host, conducting a needs and skills assessment. Over the course of the term, you will continue to develop your project while reflecting on your involvement and the cross-cultural context in which you are participating. At the conclusion of the program, you will present a portfolio of reflection papers, resumé, and project analysis. A service learning placement requires flexibility and commitment to the internship schedule and entailed responsibilities. Because of the time commitment required, you may sometimes have to forgo a program activity or excursion in order to fulfill your responsibilities to the organization.

An optional service learning placement is an exciting opportunity for students studying in Siena, Italy, during the fall or spring to immerse themselves in the local Sienese culture. Placements vary by term. In the past students have volunteered at local retirement homes, ceramic arts programs for community members with disabilities, pre-school and elementary schools, and rescue and social services.

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.

Application process

This program is less than 90 days. Students with a US passport will be traveling to Italy under the Schengen Visa waiver program and do not require a travel visa for this program, and GEO is unable to assist US citizens in obtaining a visa. If you are not a US Citizen: Notify your GEO Advisor. Students who are not US citizens should contact the Italian consulate in their country of residence about visa requirements, no matter the duration of the program of study.

Faculty and Staff

Roxann Prazniak has been Professor of History at the Clark Honors College since 2002 and has taught in Siena with the UO several times. Her main area of research and teaching is Eurasian culture and history with publications that include Siena on the Silk Roads and Sudden Appearances: The Mongol Turn in Commerce, Belief, and Art (UP Hawaii Press, 2019).  She is very enthusiastic about her new courses for Ciao, Siena! fall 2024, which are global in perspective and local in research base, using comparative analysis to develop critical historical thinking. She has taught the subject matter in both Ciao, Siena! courses many times and at different universities.

Housing Description

Experience life as part of an authentic Italian neighborhood, living within the medieval city walls of Siena. Residences are spread out within the city center. All are within easy walking distance (~15 min) of the GEO Center, and you will have small local grocers, restaurants, and cafés nearby.

You have two housing options, each with its own perks. You will be able to provide your preference, though we cannot guarantee that we can accommodate everyone in their first choice.

Apartments: Apartments are fully furnished with beds, desks and a kitchen table and chairs. No two apartments are the same. Generally, there are 2-3 rooms per apartment, and you can expect to share a bedroom with one or two other GEO students. The kitchens are equipped with utensils, plates, glasses, cookware, an electronic oven and a gas stove. You will also receive two sets of linens and each apartment has access to a washing machine and drying rack (dryers are very uncommon in Italy).

Student Residence: You can live in a residence with other international and Italian students, fully immersing yourself into the community. The student residence has single and double rooms, some with ensuite bathrooms and some with shared bathrooms (no more than 3 people/bathroom). Each room has a TV, fridge/freezer, safe, desks, nightstand, and sink. Kitchen and living areas are shared with your floor (~8 people/kitchen, students often enjoy cooking together or share meals with each other). Linens and towels are provided, and your rooms are cleaned weekly.