Siena Italian Studies
The International Center for the Study of Italian Language and Culture is in the heart of Siena, one of the most beautiful towns in all of Italy. It offers a unique program based on a combination of Italian language and culture, service learning, and academic courses in the arts and the humanities, taught mostly in Italian, with some English used in the classroom.
The SIS's philosophy is that of gentle but full immersion in local language and culture. The program offers Italian language classes for highly motivated beginners, as well as for intermediate and advanced students, using a teaching method based on Full Immersion: Culture, Content, and Service (FICCS). A gradual and gentle process of discovering a new culture through interactive language learning, this teaching method is designed for all types of students whose reasons for studying abroad may be based on a wide range of motivations, including acquiring a mastery of the Italian language, using the language in the study of Renaissance art and music, travelling in Italy, or working alongside the locals in a variety of service learning situations.
Whatever the motivation for studying in Italy may be, the Siena Italian Studies program is guaranteed to provide each student with an unforgettable experience abroad.
"Historic adversaries, the Siena–Florence rivalry continues to this day, as every traveler seems to strongly identify with one over the other. It often boils down to aesthetic preference: while Florence saw its greatest flourishing during the Renaissance, Siena’s enduring artistic glories are largely Gothic – though there’s also the eternal question of who has the best patron saint (Siena, obviously). One of Italy’s most enchanting cities, Siena’s medieval center bristles with majestic buildings. Its profusion of churches and small museums harbor a wealth of artwork, though equally your day can be effectively filled by simply wandering the snarled lanes of the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spending nary a euro on admission fees" (lonelyplanet.com).
About The Program
Orientation & Airport Pick-Up
The first three weeks of the semester are dedicated solely to learning Italian, visiting service sites, and getting to know the host families. The rest of the core curriculum begins in week four.
All students in the program live with local host families. The home-stay experience is an essential and integral part of the program, offering students the opportunity to make life-long friends, practice the language skills acquired in the classroom, and experience modern Italian culture first hand. Whether the students’ host families consist of a single mother, a young married couple with children, or an elderly widow, all are carefully selected and all are experienced with hosting American students. They view this experience as a form of cultural exchange and are eager to share their version of Italian culture with their houseguests.
Living accommodations vary; most students will probably have a roommate, while some may have a single room.
Food & Laundry
Students receive breakfast at home, a sack lunch, and dinner with the family every day.
All students receive a bus pass valid for all city buses for the duration of the program.
Banking & Cell Phones
It is recommended that students keep their American bank accounts and simply use the ATM's instead of opening a local bank account. It is imperative, however, to inform your bank of your upcoming time abroad and to learn more about your bank’s policy for making withdrawals in order to best avoid any banking problems. Usually, you should expect a fee for withdrawals (usually about $3 or $4). More information regarding banking will be discussed during the BW Pre-Departure Orientation Session.
As for cell phones, it is recommended that you do purchase one in country and that you buy phone cards for both your local and international calls.
The academic program consists of:
- Italian Language & Culture Course – 9 credits (3 credits qualify for Diversity Core)-this course is mandatory for all students.
- Service-Learning – 1 credit
- Two other 3-credit courses of the student's choice (based on availability; some courses may require additional lab fee).
Some courses may have prerequisites. Examples of courses offered may include: History of Italian Folk Music (Italian and English), Cinema italiano (Italian and English), Music History (English), Art History (Italian), Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Italian), History of Italian Cooking (Italian), Religious Culture and Traditions (Italian), and Legislative and Business Italian (Italian).
- Additional courses like individual music lessons are available at an extra cost.
In many of the courses, learning is not limited to the classroom. Whenever possible, field excursions are integrated to enhance comprehension and provide students with a multifaceted experience.
Each semester program includes half-and full-day excursions, and an overnight trip designed to give students the kind of authentic and meaningful experience of Tuscany and other regions of Italy that tourists rarely have. Excursions include: a walk through the Tuscan countryside along ancient byways and through woods where locals search for mushrooms and gather herbs; a 3-day ski/beach trip depending on the season; visits to farms that produce wine, olive oil, and pecorino cheese; relaxing in one of the region’s many natural hot springs; and experiencing traditional Tuscan festivals such as the Carnevale in Foiano della Chiana.
Current BW Status
You must be a current BW student and have completed at least one semester of on-campus study at BW before you may submit an application.
Your cumulative grade point average has to be 2.7 or above (the host institution might have a higher GPA requirement.) If lower than a 2.7, students may appeal with the permission of the Explorations Director.
Student Conduct Record
Serious or multiple violations of college policy may jeopardize your eligibility for Explorations/Study Abroad programs. You will not be eligible for a program if you have been found in violation of any of the following policies within the past 12 months: alcohol, drugs, assault (any type), harassment, stalking, vandalism, theft and more (this list is not all-inclusive).
Your account must be paid in full, or at least, making current payments to the University for the current term.
All BW students are required to have international health insurance. Students will be automatically enrolled in this insurance. More information regarding insurance coverage will be provided once you begin an online application or contact Explorations for more details.
In order to receive transfer credit from your classes abroad, you need to receive a "C" grade or better.
How Much Does It Cost?
Students can expect to pay charges as a BW residential student--current tuition, room and board, for the respective semester. All of your financial aid and scholarships will apply. Students should expect to pay out of pocket for airfare, passport, visa, and in-country expenses. These typically run between $2,000 and $4,000. However this will depend on your personal spending habits.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you are eligible for federal aid or receive insitutional scholarships, you may use these resources to help fund BW recommended off-campus programs. Once the cost of your program has been determined, the financial aid office will help you apply your aid package to your trip.
In addition to federal aid, other forms of financial assistance may be available. Public and private organizations, businesses, and churches often award grants, loans, and fellowships to students traveling abroad. Scholarships may be awarded on the basis of personal attributes (ethnic or religious background, parents' field of employment,etc.). For more information about available scholarships/funding, please visit my.bw.edu/Academics/Study-Abroad/Pages/Financial-Aid-and-Scholarships.aspx