A Tradition of Academic Excellence
The Umbra Institute was founded in 1999 in Perugia in cooperation with Arcadia University as a center for higher education offering academic programs for students of U.S. colleges and universities. Arcadia has been a leader in study abroad for over sixty-five years and in 2009, its existing Center for Education Abroad was elevated to College status, thereby creating The College of Global Studies. It is the first College of its kind dedicated to the delivery and development of education abroad. Arcadia University and the Umbra program are recognized by the Ministry of Education in Italy, a member of AACUPI (the American Association of College and University Programs in Italy), and accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.
The Umbra Institute is located in the historic center of Perugia on the grandiose Piazza IV Novembre. It occupies the main floors of a fifteenth-century palace and the cloisters of the centuries-old Duomo di San Lorenzo. Umbra offers a wide array of courses and program options, hosting nearly 400 students from more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities each year, including Italian students from local universities. Many students enroll individually; others participate through cooperative (faculty-led) programs, accompanied by professors or staff from their home institution. The vast majority of the student body has achieved junior status with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at their home institution.
Since its inception, Umbra Institute has grown steadily and developed a well-respected reputation as a provider of consistently high-quality academic programs, becoming an innovative leader in experiential academic programs in Italy. In 2006, the Umbra Institute was officially recognized as an approved provider of credit-bearing (tirocinio) courses for the University of Perugia (Università degli Studi di Perugia) and in 2015 it added the University for Foreigners (Universitá per Stranieri di Perugia). As a result, the Institute enrolls a number of local Italian students attend Umbra each semester for transferable credit together with our American study abroad students.
The Umbra Institute is the only year-round independent American program based in Perugia, offering semester, year-long, and summer programs with a variety of academic courses. We provide a unique educational opportunity for students both in and outside the classroom as our faculty and staff strive to incorporate a genuine Italian experience into all elements of both the academic curriculum and student life. Whether students choose to pursue a curriculum taught by Umbra faculty or enroll directly through Umbra at one of the local Italian university partners, they will take courses with Italian students and engage with the Perugia community on a daily basis. The stage is set for cultural and linguistic discovery.
Our Focus on Community Engagement
Beyond our unique location, Umbra is among the few institutions in Italy that focus heavily on community engagement activities. We offer course with service learning components, academic internships, seminar and practicums, volunteer programs, independent research, and other activities that bring Umbra students together with the local Italian student population and the community at large. We strive to connect our community with the city of Perugia through curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular community engagement initiatives. After studying at the Umbra Institute, students consistently say these are the experiences that had the greatest most meaningful impact on their time abroad.
See Academic Programs for more details on the curricular options and course details.