Program Overview

This program will explore questions around the social justice of food equity in relationship to food production and the consumption chain along with enhancing your critical thinking skills on the subject of ethics in the food system in consideration of human, animal, and environmental well-being. A special focus of this program will allow you to explore the impact that humans have on the food system and vice versa from a social justice perspective and by comparing the European and American systems. You will also be exposed to current topics relating to food science, including climate change, biodiversity, and food production technology.

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

The following academic credit is available to UO students:

  • The Food, Science, and Sustainability course has been approved for 300-level credit and Area 3B for ENVS majors and minors and for the Sustainable Design elective. This course has also been approved for the Food Studies minor.
  • The Food, Law, and Social Justice course has been approved for 400-level credit and Area 4 (Environmental Issues Course) for the ENVS major and minor, and the Food Studies minor.

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

Academic Details

You will take three required courses for this program:

  • Food, Law, and Social Justice (5 UO quarter credits, 4 semester credits)
  • Food, Science, and Sustainability (5 UO quarter credits, 4 semester credits)
  • Cross-Cultural Communication (2 UO quarter credits)

To round out your academics, you will take any of the other courses offered in Siena to create full-time enrollment (required). Please refer to the Courses tab for all course offerings. 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.

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

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. 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.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Fall - EXTENDED!20203/15/20208/23/20209/17/202012/5/2020

Travel Advisories

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

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.