Italian Language and Culture in Siena
Combine the study of Italian language (for absolute beginners to advanced) with courses in fields including anthropology, art history, communications, economics, food and culture, history and political science. You can elect to enroll in Italian semi-intensive language courses for 50 contact hours at the beginning, intermediate or advanced levels. You will enroll in the intercultural communications (ICC) course and, combined with a community placement, can elect to earn service learning credit. If you opt to enroll in service learning, you can select from a variety of opportunities, including placements at a pottery arts program for the disabled, a day care center, an elementary school, the Social and Rescue Services or with a retirement center. In addition to Italian language and the ICC course, you can enroll in one to three additional courses offered on-site to round out your Italian cultural experience. In addition to the GEO courses offered on-site, you can also opt to enroll in an extra-curricular Italian cooking course (for an additional fee).
** 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.
You will enroll in approximately two to three courses in addition to the Italian language and Cross-Cultural Communications/Cross-Cultural Perspectives courses, which are mandatory. 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. The service learning experiences are not offered for credit, but are an optional extracurricular activity of the Cross-Cultural Communications/Cross-Cultural Perspectives course.
Courses are taught by Italian faculty who have experience teaching US students, including supplementary language tutoring offered by the site director. In addition, visiting US faculty may teach two courses. You will attend classes with other US students, and as part of the Cross-Cultural Communications/Cross-Cultural Perspectives course, you will meet with Italian students from the Università di Siena at the Language Lab. 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. Students should pay special attention to the Italian language level offered by term, as the courses are offered in sequence (i.e., Fall 101, Spring 103). However, Italian 101 is also offered spring term to provide students without Italian language experience the opportunity to start learning as well. Courses are held Monday–Thursday, with Fridays reserved for longer group excursions as well as time to commit to your service learning placement. There is also usually a mid-term break over a long weekend for personal travel.
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.
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.
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 a bedroom with one or two other students, as well as the 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 and each apartment has access to a washing machine and drying rack.
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