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

Immerse yourself in the political landscape of Italy, in a historical and philosophical sense, with exposure to contemporary Italian politics and the relationship between Italy and the European Union. The beautiful Tuscan city of Siena will provide a backdrop for the course, which will be supplemented with a visit to Florence. Several excursions to other cities and towns in Tuscany, and elsewhere, are an integral part of this program.

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 Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Spring 2024 12/15/2023 1/15/2024 3/28/2024 6/8/2024

Discount for Pell Recipients

To expand access to study abroad, GEO is offering a $400 discount for this program to UO students who currently have the Pell Grant as part of their federal financial aid (FAFSA).

Academic Details

You will enroll in the three required courses listed below, along with at least one elective course. 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.

The Politics in Italy program is designed for all students, regardless of class standing or major. The curriculum includes two courses taught by a University of Oregon political science faculty member, as well as two other courses taught by local Italian faculty.

The political science courses count toward the major or minor in Political Science at the University of Oregon. For other majors or universities, please check with your departmental advisor for more information.

Required courses:

  • Politics in Italy (5 UO quarter credits, political science)
  • Machiavelli's Italy (5 UO quarter credits, political science)
  • Cross-Cultural Communications (2 UO quarter credits),

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 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.
Faculty and Staff
Priscilla Southwell is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Oregon. She is the author of over seventy articles or book chapters on political parties & elections, primarily focused on European and U.S. politics. She previously taught in UO study abroad programs in Avignon, France, Siena, Italy, and, most recently in London in 2018-2019 & 2020-2022. She served as Associate Dean for the Social Sciences from 2001-2008, and as Department Head from 1998-2001 and 2010-2016. She has travelled extensively in Europe and South America, as well as Antarctica and Cuba.
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.