Food, Culture, and Sustainability in Italy

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore or above
Location: 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 the renowned gastronomy while enjoying the picturesque surroundings. 

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.

Winter Quarter 2021 ONLY:
Subject to UO Travel Approval, students will arrive in Siena on Thursday, January 7 and take classes remotely while in quarantine for two weeks. Students will begin attending classes in-person on January 22. 

Health & Safety
Students must quarantine for two weeks upon their arrival. Students will be housed in single rooms in a hotel for their first 14 days in Italy. They will be brought breakfast, lunch and dinner while staying at the hotel, all included in the program fee. After the two weeks in quarantine, students will move into their apartments for the rest of the term. Students will be required to maintain 6-feet of distance from staff and faculty at all times. They will also be expected to follow all other social distancing requirements with their peers including those that limit group sizes and certain social activities.

Academic Details

You will enroll in three to four courses for the term. Courses are taught in English by Italian faculty who have experience teaching international students, including supplementary language tutoring offered by the site director. Courses you are able to choose from include:

  • Food and Culture in Italy
    This course is an interdisciplinary analysis of foodways in Italy, with a special focus on Tuscany, using the tools of anthropology, history, geography, sociology, journalism and marketing. We'll examine the issues affecting the world's food today, how food production and consumption are changing and Italy's strategies for protecting its diverse food traditions. 
  • Food, Science and Sustainability
  • Food, Law and Social Justice 
    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
    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. 
  • The History of Italian Cinema from its Origins to the Present
    This course aims to provide a comprehensive but selective overview and analysis of the landmarks of Italian cinema from its beginnings in the Silent era to current production more than 100 years later. The course examines the ways in which Italian cinema reflects the evolution of modern Italy in terms of the changing social, political, economic and cultural developments which characterize 20th century Italian life.
  • Italian Language 101
    The first level course will introduce you to the Italian language, covering the basic communicative tools that are useful for everyday interaction in Italy. You will be taught the linguistic system, and given strategies and techniques that facilitate the learning process.

Depending on travel restrictions, there will be several day excursions to local sites in and around Siena. Students will receive more information closer to the start of 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.

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.

To comply with social distancing measures, you will have your own bedroom, but 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, and each apartment has access to a washing machine and drying rack.

Dates and Deadlines
TermYearPriority DeadlineDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Winter Quarter202110/1/202012/1/20201/7/20213/18/2021

Travel Advisories

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