Exploring the Dolomites: Landscape, History, Ecology, and Literature in Northern Italy

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

During this 14-day journey, you will experience the best of the Dolomite Mountains of northeastern Italy, just south of the Alps. Enjoy conscious hiking, environmental and historical education, and documenting the experience through digital storytelling. The adventure of hut-to-hut hiking through tunnels created during WWI will acquaint students with the magnificent natural landscape, the contrast of the gentle curves of flowery meadows with the extraordinarily varied sculptural shapes of bare, pale-colored towering peaks. You will also encounter the diverse cultures and enjoy the various cuisines of the Dolomites. In the course of the journey, we will study two areas: 1) Landscape, History and Literature; 2) Geology, Ecology and Landscape. All the students will learn to read the ecology and the history of the Dolomites written in the landscape through open air museums and thematic trails. You will have the option of concentrating on one of the two areas listed above.

** GEO programs are under continuous review during this period of global uncertainty.  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 see what the program was like in 2019 from Hannah's perspective, please feel free to click on the following link to watch a 2 minute video: Exploring the Dolomites with Hannah!
For additional information see:


There are specific scholarships available for this program. To be eligible, students must meet the eligibility criteria for the program, and submit a completed program application as well as the scholarship questionnaire within the application by the final application deadline listed below. The scholarship application for the Dolomites program is a questionnaire located within the GEO application for this program (the questionnaire is a part of the online application). Awards range from $500-$1,500. Students will be notified of the outcome of their scholarship application after the final application deadline and after scholarship essays have been reviewed. Review of scholarship essays and program applications generally takes up to two weeks after the deadline, but in some cases can take longer.

Academic Details

Students will earn 6 credits through experiential learning during the 14-day program plus four mandatory and required pre-departure sessions in May before departing for Italy. This is an interdisciplinary course, with upper-division UO credit applicable toward a variety of majors. Students should speak with the relevant academic advisor in their major/minor for specific details. The following list of majors/minors have approved the program to count towards degree requirements: 

  • Core Education - Arts & Letters and Global Perspectives
  • German and Scandinavian Studies
  • Romance Languages (Italian and French)
  • Environmental Studies and Environmental Science under Area 4 Environmental Issues course requirement and as an option for the ENVS minor.
  • History under upper-division Europe field credit
  • International Studies as Block B (Professional Concentration) if a student’s concentration is Environmental Issues. Block C (Geographic Focus) if a student’s concentration is Europe. Credits can also fulfill specific language goals for INTL students.
  • Comparative Literature

The program begins with two days in the city of Bolzano for orientation and visits to local museums. The next eight days will be spent on the trail and moving through the mountains. The planned route may change before or during the program due to scheduling changes, inclement weather, or other factors. See a tentative map of the route this program will follow. You will spend the final two days of the program in the city of Bressanone, processing your experience on the trail through lectures by local professors at the University of Bolzano.

A note about supplies: students will need to bring a tablet and/or a smart phone with good camera resolution to complete assignments during the program.

Course Equivalencies

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.

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

Faculty and Staff

Massimo Lollini is Professor Emeritus of Italian at the University of Oregon. His research addresses in different ways the problem of Humanism in our time, and reflects on the crisis of traditional notions of human subjectivity and the emergence of Digital Humanities. He is particularly interested in exploring the idea of poetic geography and how human consciousness relates to and is influenced by the natural environment. His most recent publications include articles and essays on ecocritical approaches to culture and literature. He has written widely on eighteenth‐and twentieth-century literature.

Housing Description

You will stay in youth hostels and hotels in cities, and in rustic Dolomites mountain cabins along the trail. The cabins offer the traditional atmosphere of the area and taste of the local cuisine, a mix of Italian, German and Ladin. Each cabin has small rooms of 4, 6, or 8 beds, with bedding and towels included. Rooms may be shared with students of all genders. Private showers are available in all cabins; some are coin-operated. Laundry is available at extra cost.
You will only need to carry a day pack during the hikes. Your belongings will be transported by van between sites to each cabin.

Additional requirements

All students participating in this program must meet and agree to the following requirements:

  • Ability to carry a 15-pound day pack while hiking up to 6 hours per day on mountain trails at high elevations.
  • Ability to carry own luggage in the form of a backpack weighing no more than 50 lbs. (This will be transported daily by van to the next destination while students are hiking).
  • Mandatory participation in four pre-departure meetings in May 2020, which will introduce students to and prepare students for the program and logistics through readings and discussion.
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 U.S. citizens in obtaining a visa. If you are not a U.S. Citizen: Notify your GEO Advisor. Students who are not U.S. citizens should contact the Italian consulate in their country of residence about visa requirements, no matter the duration of the program of study.
Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2022 1/15/2022 2/15/2022 8/28/2022 9/10/2022

Travel Advisories

For current health, safety, and travel advisory information, search the US Department of State country webpage.