Learning Abroad in Italy

"Learning a new language implies learning about a new culture and expanding one's perspective. As a former study abroad student, I know how precious this is."—Ombretta Frau

Learning abroad in Italy will provide unique study and/or research opportunities that will greatly expand a student’s understanding of the Italian language and culture. A stay in Italy can provide students with a unique perspective on culture, customs, traditions impossible to experience fully on our campus. Seniors with demonstrated achievement in language learning, cultural immersion, global perspective-taking, and cross-cultural learning may also qualify for the Global Competence Award.

Study Abroad

For a list of where past and present majors have studied and a summary of the courses they have taken abroad, check this searchable database.  Note that this is not a definitive list of what is possible and should serve only as a useful guide and planning resource.

Where to Study
The Italian program at Mount Holyoke College approves the programs below for a semester or an academic year stay. We strongly recommend students to consult the Italian faculty about which program best suits their needs. For more information about study abroad programs, how to apply, financial aid, and credit transfer, see the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives Study Abroad

Laurel Fellowships (need-based financial aid) are readily available to qualified students.

Academic Year/Semester Programs
Below are the programs most recommended by the Italian program, but there are programs in Europe and elsewhere that can be explored.  Students can apply for need-based funding for some of these programs. In addition to the selected language programs below, students take other courses from the university.

  • Bologna Consortial Studies Program (Indiana University Consortium)
    Students take classes both at the center taught by Italian professors and at the University of Bologna. Students live in apartments with other Italian students & have great internship opportunities. Year, fall and spring semester options available. 
  • Boston University in Padova
    The Padova Language and Liberal Arts Program offers a semester or academic year of intensive language and culture study and coursework. Students live with a host family.
  • Middlebury College in Florence
    Students studying in Florence will have an international experience. Among the numerous programs for U.S. students in Florence, Middlebury's is noteworthy for the linguistic proficiency of its students who are appreciated by the Florentine community for the seriousness of their commitment to experience Italian life fully and to live in the culture.
  • Middlebury College in Ferrara
    *Not for everyone*; the local office is in Florence is about two hours away. Students are completely independent (i.e., on their own) for everything that concerns classes and accommodation.

When to Study
Most students elect to study in Italy in their junior year. The department strongly encourages all majors or potential majors to spend at least one semester abroad. 

Credit Transfer
Courses applied to an Italian major or minor do not have to be restricted to Italian literature. They may include courses in Italian culture, history, or politics. The term ‘culture’ is open to interpretation, but classes that concentrate on topics such as food and wine, fashion, local history, or folklore may not be used to fulfill major or minor requirements unless the class has a socio-historical perspective, a proper syllabus, and proper assignments. Students should keep syllabi, books, copies of exams/papers, reading lists etc. since the department will always review this material upon a student's return from Italy.

Students who want to use classes taken in Italy to satisfy their language requirement should contact Professor Ombretta Frau before studying abroad. 

Summer Internships

A summer internship in Italy allows students to use the Italian language and explore possible career paths. It is also a wonderful opportunity to engage with other Italian speakers in a different cultural context.

Please contact Morena Svaldi for advising around logistics for the two programs below.

  • Office of International Partnerships Development, Ca' Foscari University of Venice: in coordination with the Office of International Relations, the intern participates in the orientation, curriculum planning, and welcoming activities for international students. The intern also gains substantial experience in translation. For more information and how to apply.
  • CISabroad: interns work for the program as liaisons for students studying abroad in Rome and Florence. Interns gain experience in digital communications and marketing, implementing cultural activities and regional travel. For more information and how to apply.

Join the Intern Network to connect with current and former interns, and employers and talk to the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and the Career Development Center about additional student evaluations of past international internships.

  • Funding is available through the Lynk Universal Application Form (UAF). For more details about internship opportunities and funding, please contact Kirk Lange, Director of International Experiential learning at the McCulloch Center.  

Next Steps

Students interested in exploring possibilities for learning abroad are encouraged to contact the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.  April Stroud is the primary advisor for study abroad, and Kirk Lange can offer guidance on internships or research abroad. Students should also consult with their advisor about how they can best connect and integrate learning abroad with their work in the major.