Learning Abroad for Italian Majors

The Department of Classics and Italian strongly encourages all of its majors and minors to take advantage of a learning opportunity abroad in Italy. Learning abroad will provide unique study and/or research opportunities that will greatly expand a student’s understanding of, and engagement with, the language and culture.

Want to change your life? When planning your study abroad, choose Italy! The Italian department at MHC has approved the programs listed below. A student, however, should still consult with Professor Frau about which program best suits her needs.

Learning a new language implies learning about a new culture and expanding one's perspective. As an ex-study abroad student, I know how precious this is.

--Ombretta Frau

Study Abroad

Where to Study

The Department of Classics and Italian recommends the following programs in Italy to students who wish to study for a full academic year, a semester, or a summer:

Academic Year/Semester Programs

  • Bologna Consortial Studies Program (Indiana University Consortium)
    Students take classes both at the center (American-style syllabus taught by Italian professors) and at the University of Bologna. Students live in apartments with other students & have great internship opportunities. Year, fall and spring semester options available. Here are pictures, taken by Professor Frau during her recent trip to Bologna.
  • Boston University in Padova
    The Padova Language and Liberal Arts Program offers a semester or academic year of intensive language study and coursework.
  • 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 –about two hours away. Students are completely independent (i.e., on their own) for everything that concerns classes and accommodation.
  • Sarah Lawrence College in Florence
    The program office is located in the heart of Florence (near Santa Croce); students live in homestays.

Language Study

  • Siena School for Liberal Arts
    Ideal for language classes and for students planning a career in art/art history or education, politics, history. The school has state-of-the-art facilities. (Many classes are taught in English.)

Summer Programs

  • Consortium in the Ligurian Riviera
    Based between Rapallo and Santa Margherita. Students live in a 3-star hotel not far from the school. Afternoons and some weekends are spent in lecture halls/ theaters/ trips. Only for language classes, but a year-long tailored program is also available for students who are interested in taking classes at the University of Genoa.

Students may also choose to apply to one of the other approved programs in Italy.

For a list of where past and present Italian majors have studied and a summary of the courses that they took 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.

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 an entire year abroad. Some double majors may elect to spend only 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 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.
  • As stated in the college catalogue, language classes and classes below Ital 209, Advanced Conversation and Composition, do not count towards an Italian major or minor.
  • Credits at the 300-level will be awarded only for classes with a substantial reading list and either a long/comprehensive oral examination (often the case with Italian universities) and/or a number of written 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 the chair of the department or Professor Frau before studying abroad.

Summer Internships and Research Abroad

A summer internship or research project in Italy allows students to use the Italian language and to apply what they have learned to explore possible career paths. It is also a wonderful opportunity to engage with other Italian speakers in a different cultural context.

Office of International Partnerships Development, Ca' Foscari University of Venice:

The Office of International Relations is tasked with supporting the process of internationalization and promotion and coordination of International Relations of the University of Venice (Cà Foscari). The intern is expected to: assist the office staff in organizing and coordinating projects with other universities in Europe; support the management of collaboration with foreign universities and provide support to people requesting information in developing international partnerships. Required skills: Experience with project management; Strong communication and social skills; Sense of discretion; Knowledge of MS Office software, internet, and email; Ideally the highest Intermediate Level (Ital 209) or above of Italian. For information, please contact Professor Morena Svaldi.

Internships

Students have the option of developing their own summer internship or research project. Support for unpaid opportunities is available through the Universal Application Funding (UAF), which offers students access to funding from a variety of College fellowship sources to cover travel and living expenses for the duration of the project. Students with a family contribution of less than $5000 may also receive a $500 grant to apply towards their summer earnings contribution. Both the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and the Career Development Center have student evaluations of past international internships on file.