The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers a Spring semester program of Italian Studies in Siena, a remarkably preserved medieval city that is one of the richest cultural and historical centers of Tuscany. The program is offered in collaboration with the Università di Lingua e Cultura Italiana per Stranieri, whose emphasis is on language acquisition and cultural literacy.
Location: Siena is a classic medieval hill town in Tuscany and has one of the best preserved city centers in all of Italy. The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the red brick town square, is the heart of Siena and is the home of Siena's famous summer horse-race, known as Il Palio. Surrounded by architectural treasures, the Piazza del Campo is also the site of numerous restaurants and cafes and the center of social life in the city. Cars are strictly prohibited within the walls of town, and the roads and alleys create a labyrinth through the city. The University of Siena is one of the oldest in Italy, founded in 1240, and is one of the first publicly funded universities in Italy. Siena is only 60 km south of Florence and 200 km north of Rome, and the land in between the cities is famous for producing some of the finest wine in Italy.
Academics: Students earn 15 credits per semester, at least 6 of which comprise intensive, daily Italian language courses; an additional 3 credits may be taken in language or the student may opt to take all the other 9 credits in English-language culture courses. The culture course offerings for spring 2009 include art history taught on-site in various historic places in Siena (Architecture, Painting, Sculpture in Italy from the XIII to the XVII century), Italy in the 20th and 21st centuries, and an Introduction to Italian Cinema (films in Italian with English subtitles). Students accepted into the program will be placed in language sequences at the appropriate level following placement testing in Siena.
The program is organized and overseen by the Italian Studies program faculty at UMass Amherst in conjunction with an on-site director, Dr. Elena Monami, in Siena. Language courses are taught by native-speaking faculty from the Università per Stranieri. The language courses are composed of students from around the world, giving the UMass students an opportunity to expand their cross-cultural connections during the program. The culture courses are taught either by UMass faculty in Siena or by Siena faculty contracted by UMass.
Eligibility: UMass Amherst applicants from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts should have completed at least one year of college-level Italian or the equivalent (3 semesters are recommended) by the time the program begins. However, students from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, wishing to fulfill the Global Education requirement through successful completion of the Siena Program, may apply with no prior knowledge of Italian. Students from other faculties and other institutions should consult the Italian Studies Program concerning eligibility requirements. All applicants should have a "B" average in college Italian (where applicable) and a GPA of 3.0. Students will be interviewed either in person or by telephone.
Living Arrangements: Apartments scattered throughout the inner city provide housing for students in the program. Students mostly share double bedrooms and have kitchen facilities for meal preparation.
Application: Students from both UMass and other universities are invited to apply to the Program through the International Programs Office.
Costs: The 2009 program fee is $9,500 for in-state UMass Amherst students, $10,500 for out-of-state UMass Amherst students and $11,500 for all other students. The fee includes tuition, housing, specified group excursions (as a minimum, weekend excursions to Roma and Venice), and a catastrophic health plan provided by the Italian Government (ASSITALIA). A $500 non-refundable deposit will be due upon acceptance to the program. A required housing deposit of 100 Euro is due upon arrival in Siena.