Food and Culture in Siena

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Third-term freshman
Location: Europe, Italy
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview
The Siena Food and Culture program allows you to develop fuller understandings of complex food-related issues and gain new insights into the ways in which food mediates social, political, environmental, cultural and economic processes. You will study Italian food and culture in the contexts of Siena and Tuscany, famous for their beautiful landscapes, quality of cuisine and wine, and as the birthplace of the agritourism movement. All courses are taught in English; there is no language requirement and the program is open to all majors.

The program includes ample excursions for field-based learning opportunities to many exquisite and less traveled towns and villages of Tuscany and neighboring regions.

The Food and Culture program will also include opportunities for classroom, field-based, and service learning. You will learn firsthand from everyday people: farmers, family cooks and professional chefs, and creative entrepreneurs who are building internationally recognized sustainable food businesses that preserve and celebrate regional heritage.

All majors are welcome; courses may be suitable for students in food studies, business, environmental studies, sociology, international studies, geography, humanities and anthropology.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Spring Quarter 2023 12/15/2022 1/15/2023 3/30/2023 6/10/2023
Spring Quarter 2024 12/15/2023 1/15/2024 3/28/2024 6/8/2024

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Academic Details

You will typically enroll in two to three courses in addition to the required Food and Culture and Cross-Cultural Communications courses. All courses offered in Siena are recognized and approved for academic credit by various GEO partner institutions. 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.

Courses are taught by Italian faculty who have experience teaching US students, including supplementary language tutoring offered by the site director. You will attend classes with other US students, and as part of the Cross-Cultural Communications course, you will meet with Italian students from the Università di Siena at the Language Lab or in classes at the university. Courses make use of a variety of materials and texts, all of which are provided as part of the program fee. Italian language courses are held in the afternoon.

Required courses:

Electives available:

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 flexiblity 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 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.
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.

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.