Italian Language and Culture in Perugia:
A Taste of Italy
6 credits in World Studies and Italian
30 June 2018 – 3 August 2018
$3,750 (includes tuition) + airfare
15 April 2018
The School of World Studies and the Global Education Office at Virginia Commonwealth University in conjunction with the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, Italy are pleased to offer an innovative summer study-abroad program in Italy. The program offers an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in Italian language and culture during your month in beautiful medieval Perugia. Participants will have a classroom-based language-learning experience with Italian natives, as well as a cultural learning experience through lectures, tours, weekend excursions, and traditional Italian activities. As part of the WRLD 391 course, students will take four Italian cuisine cooking classes at a Perugian agriturismo, a rural farm converted into a culinary education site.
Course and Credit Options
All participants will be registered for WRLD 391: Aspects of Italian Culture
(3 credits). Please note: Since course assignments are completed primarily in English, WRLD 391 does not earn students ITAL credit. However, this course can count toward the Italian Studies minor, since the minor allows up to 6 credits earned in English.
Students will take an intensive Italian language course
at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia. Students will take a placement test in Perugia to determine which level ITAL course at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia is appropriate for the students. (Beginning, intermediate or advanced courses are offered).
- ITAL 101: Elementary Italian (3 credits) = student must successfully complete A1
- ITAL 102: Elementary Italian (3 credits) = student must successfully complete A1+ or A2
- ITAL 201: Intermediate Italian (3 credits) = student must successfully complete A2 or A2+
- ITAL 202: Intermediate Italian Readings (3 credits) = students must successfully complete A2+
- ITAL 205: Intermediate Italian Conversation (3 credits) = student must successfully complete A2+
- ITAL 300: Advanced Composition and Conversation (3 credits) = student must successfully complete A2+ or B1 or B1+
- ITAL 330: Themes in Italian Literature (3 credits) = student must successfully complete B1+ or B2
- ITAL 391: Topics in Italian (3 credits) = student must successfully complete B2 or higher
Students will receive transfer credit for all coursework completed in this program. In order to receive credit, students must earn the equivalent of a C or better.
In WRLD 391: Aspects of Italian Culture, students will be introduced to aspects of Italy’s rich history and culture, from its origin to the modern age, through activities in class, various excursions and cooking classes. Course activities will be conducted in both Italian and English. Students will participate in many unique public events, local fairs and art exhibitions which are representative of Italian culture and civilization. Students will also experience firsthand the culinary diversity of Italy by participating in four Italian cuisine cooking classes and eating the meals they prepare in these classes.
Please note that this intensive program involves a great deal of mandatory travel as part of the WRLD 391 course. Students spend every weekend outside of Perugia, and one weekday each week is dedicated to excursions.
Day trips to Assisi , to a loom factory and a glass factory are included. There will be a visit to the traditional Italian Perugina Company (chocolate factory) in Perugia. Weekend trips will include Milan, Naples, Pompeii and Capri, Venice including Murano and Burano, Florence and Rome.
Students will also take an intensive Italian language course
for four weeks through the Università per Stranieri di Perugia. The University is a world renowned institution, founded in 1926 exclusively for international students and sits in an 18th-century palace right in the city center. Students will spend 20 hours per week in class and will attend four mandatory tutoring sessions. Additional tutoring with the program director may be required for students who need extra help. Students should be prepared to take a placement test, a midterm and final exam.
Courses are offered for students at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Three credits are available in Italian language and literature. Beginner, intermediate and advanced courses require attendance in grammar, syntax, reading, conversation and literature classes. Prerequisites apply.
This program is open to those who have a strong interest in Italian, regardless of major, who have at least a 2.0 GPA. Students who have previously enrolled in Italian language courses must have passed their most recent course with at least a C. Those students who have not yet taken an Italian course have no prerequisites.
An academic letter of reference is not required. Students may be contacted for an informal interview with the program director. This program is open to non-VCU students and members of the community.
Participants should be prepared for a great deal of walking and fast-paced group travel. Strong time management skills are required to balance personal time and language study with a demanding travel schedule. This program is mentally and physically demanding.
Accommodations and Meals
Participants will share private, furnished apartments with cooking facilities, single rooms with internet access and shared bathrooms. Apartments are within walking distance of the university. Meals, which are not included in the program cost, may be taken at the university cafeteria for approximately $5 per meal or in any of the beautiful small Italian cafes scattered around the city (prices vary). Once a week, students will have the opportunity to eat the meal which they have prepared during cooking class.
The program is directed by Gabriella Valsecchi, a native of Italy with over 25 years of teaching experience, who joined the VCU School of World Studies in 2010. At VCU, she teaches several Italian courses and directed the Perugia study abroad program in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Gabriella was born and raised in Milan where she received her master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Education at Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore. She recently earned her second Master’s degree in Teaching Italian to Foreign Students at the Università per Stranieri in Perugia. Her academic interests range from Art History to Theatre to Literature. She developed a passion for travelling while studying Spanish Literature in Cadiz, Spain and English in Cambridge and Canterbury, UK. Throughout her career she has gained extensive experience taking students on study abroad programs in many cities in Italy and the UK. She strongly believes in the enriching value of studying abroad, and she always succeeds at engaging students with her enthusiasm and dedication.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive one charge to their student accounts for this program reflecting the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee). This bill will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.