Lucky you! As an Italian major or minor, it goes without saying that you should spend some time in Italy. Whether you choose to experience the snow-capped peaks of Torino, the artistic splendor of Florence, the ancient pulse of Rome—“The Eternal City,” or the slower paced and less touristy charms of towns like Perugia or Viterbo, you are sure to return with a deepened understanding and appreciation of the Italian language and culture. Whether you go for a summer, a semester, or a year, you won’t want to come back!
When you choose to study abroad is really up to you: there are plenty of study abroad programs that do not require Italian fluency. That said, you will benefit more from your time in Italy—and have more fun—if you have a solid grasp on the language before you go, and some of the programs that we recommend most highly do have language prerequisites.
Since the majority of study abroad programs are not designed for Italian majors, most study abroad courses in Italy focus on culture, rather than language, and are taught in English. Therefore, in order to complete the Italian major at Iowa, most Italian language courses must be completed here. You might be surprised to find higher level Italian courses here than in Italy! Some study abroad programs, however, offer students the opportunity to live with an Italian host family, which can be a wonderful way to increase your fluency in Italian.
Keep in mind that since the Italian department at Iowa is quite small, some courses here are only offered every other year. You will want to make sure that going abroad does not mean missing certain courses that you want or need to take at Iowa for your major or minor. General education requirements, on the other hand, will be easily fulfilled abroad.
A complete list of study abroad programs in Italy is available at the University of Iowa Study Abroad office. The following programs are just a few that we recommend:
Buffalo State Siena Program
(Siena Exchange at the University of Siena)
Dates: Fall semester, spring semester, academic year
Subjects: Art. Architecture, Ceramics, History, Italian Culture and Language, Linguistics, Literature, Painting
Eligibility: Sophomores, juniors, seniors, required 3.0 GPA, 2 years college level Italian
Instruction: Italian, English
Housing: Host family or student housing
Deadline: Fall, April 1. Spring, October 15.
University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC)
(University of Turin and Università della Tuscia)
Site: Torino, Viterbo
Dates: Late August to December and/or early January to May; late May to late June; late June to late July
Subjects: Art, Architecture, International Business, Internships, Italian Studies (depends on location)
Eligibility: Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors. Required 2.5 GPA.
Instruction: English and Italian
Housing: Apartments and homestays
Deadline: Fall and yearlong: March 1; Spring, November 1.
Please make an appointment with the Italy study abroad advisor to request a paper application form and instructions. Online applications from UI students will not be considered by USAC.
Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
Site: Milano (Also Roma and Siena)
Dates: Early September to late December; mid-January to mid-May; early June to mid-July
Subjects: Art, Art History, Business, Communications, Culture Studies, Film Studies, History, International Business, Italian, Literature, Music, Photography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
Eligibility: Sophomores, juniors, seniors. 18 years or older. 3.0 GPA required.
Instruction: English, Italian
Housing: Apartments and student housing
Deadline: Fall, May 1-April 1 (depending on university); Spring, Oct. 15; Summer, April 1.
Boston University in Padova
(Language and Liberal Arts Study Abroad Summer Program)
Dates: June 17-July 29
Subjects: Italian language, Literature, Art History, Architecture, History, Politics
Eligibility: Ideal for students with 1-2 years of college level Italian, but also open to those with no previous Italian language study. 3.0 GPA required.
Instruction: Italian, English
Housing: Homestays or dorms
Deadlines: March 2