Food, Culture, and Sustainability in Italy

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

Experience Italian food and culture in the contexts of beautiful Siena and Tuscany. Italian cuisine has influenced food culture around the world and is viewed as a form of art by many. Participating in this program will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of complex food-related issues and develop new insights into the ways in which food mediates social, political, cultural, environmental, and economic processes. Study renowned gastronomy while enjoying the picturesque surroundings. You will even take a series of professional cooking courses with a true Sienese chef!

All courses are taught in English, and there is no language requirement. All majors are welcome to participate. Courses may be appropriate for students in food studies, business, environmental studies, sociology, international studies, humanities, and anthropology.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Winter Quarter 2023 10/15/2022 11/15/2022 1/9/2023 3/24/2023

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.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Academic Details

You will enroll in the following courses listed below (all courses are required). The courses are taught in English by Italian faculty who have experience teaching students from U.S. colleges and universities, including supplementary language tutoring offered by the site director. Courses include:

  • Food, Law and Social Justice (5 UO quarter credits)
    What is food sovereignty, and who owns seeds, species, and recipes? Who grows and prepares our food, and how has this changed over the last 100 years? How should we consider human health, animal welfare, and environmental impact when it comes to food production and consumption? In this course we will raise more questions than we answer, as students take a holistic, critical approach to evaluating some of the regulations, processes, and injustices that are connected to producing our foods. 
  • Wine in Italy and the Western World (4 UO quarter credits)
    In the context of the history and culture of Italy, wine is not only a beloved drink but forms an essential part of Italian civilization. From the study of wine students will learn about the practices of earlier cultures, about Italian values and our own. This course will explore various aspects of wine civilization in Italy: mythology, religion, economy, society, history, art, literature, in order to provide students with a unique perspective on wine and Italy today. 
  • Art History Rediscovery of Humanity: Renaissance in Central Italy (5 UO quarter credits)
    This course offers you a journey through the rich pageant of Renaissance art and culture, giving you the critical tools with which to analyze, understand and appreciate more fully the works of art produced in central Italy from the mid-thirteenth to mid-fifteenth centuries. We will look closely at the way in which changing styles in art reflected contemporary history and cultural attitudes. Through in-class presentations and also visits to museums, churches and other places of historical or artistic interest in and around Siena and Florence, this course gives you every opportunity to place your studies from the classroom in context and to see works by the great masters in the original.
  • Cross Cultural Communication (2 UO quarter credits)
    Living in Siena offers you two important learning experiences. The first (more obvious) one concerns Italian life and culture, specifically as it is lived out around you in Siena day by day. What is important to people here? What patterns are woven into their lives? What about their history, their hopes, their daily dilemmas? The second learning opportunity involves coming to understand the cultural baggage that you have (inevitably) brought with you to Siena and the implicit assumptions that you use in understanding Sienese life. The juncture of these two learning experiences for students living and studying in Siena, and for students enrolling in a service learning placement in Siena, is the focus of this course.

You will also have a series of professional cooking courses (5) to help round out your experience! You will be able to handmake different types of pasta, gnocchi, and traditional sauces with a true Sienese chef that owns a restaurant and cooking school. Che buono!

There will be several day excursions to local sites in and around Siena and the surrounding area. Students will receive more information closer to the start of the program.

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 in apartments with other GEO and/or International/Italian students or students’ residence (small dorm) with other American, Italian or international students throughout the town of Siena. Some apartments are within walking distance of the GEO classroom within the old city walls, while others are in neighborhoods just outside and accessible by public transportation. No matter where you live, close by, you can find small local grocers, restaurants, and cafés unique to your neighborhood. Each apartment is fully furnished with beds, desks and a kitchen table and chairs.

You will share common spaces (bathroom, kitchen, etc.). The kitchens are equipped with utensils, plates, glasses, cookware, an electronic oven and a gas stove. You will also receive two sets of linens (students bring their own towels from home or buy them on-site), and each apartment has access to a washing machine and drying rack.

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.