Intensive Italian through Culture – Summer Program

Marymount Ladies--w logoEach summer (June and July), the Umbra Institute offers the Intensive Italian through Culture summer program directed by Dr. Robert Proctor, Professor of Italian at Connecticut College in New England, Connecticut. This six-week immersion program in Italian language study is perfect for students of any language level who want to learn and practice as much Italian as possible. Students actively participate both in-class and during interactive co-curricular cultural activities, many of them with Italian students. They include language exchanges, cinema nights, day trips, concerts during the Umbria Jazz festival, museum visits, and guided tours in Italian. 



Course Offerings
Students can choose from the following four courses:

Italian 111S Intensive Elementary Italian – 8 credits (for students with little to no prior Italian studies)
Italian 211S Intensive Intermediate Italian – 8 credits 
Italian 311S Intensive Intermediate-Advanced Italian – 8 credits 
Italian 411S Intensive Advanced Italian – 8 credits  

**Students will take a placement test upon arrival to determine their appropriate Italian level.



Program StructureUmbria Jazz

The six-week Intensive Italian through Culture program is conducted entirely in Italian and is open to students of all levels of language proficiency. Students meet four or five days per week, totaling 100 contact hours. Student also participate in co-curricular cultural activities for additional 20 contact hours. In total, the program contact time is 120 hours.


The organization of the daily program includes:

• Language Instruction (comprehension)
• Language Exercises (application)
• Conversation (integration)


In the Language Exercise and Conversation sessions, the emphasis is on speaking, oral comprehension, and vocabulary. Each session is conducted with a limited number of students per class to allow for individualized attention. Periodically, the two sessions will be combined into one to allow for the viewing and discussion of a film in Italian, excursions to local galleries, cultural exhibits, or language exchanges with international students who are studying the Italian language. 


Students have access to an extensive support network throughout the program. Umbra Italian faculty offer daily office hours during which individual students can seek additional tutoring. The Italian library facilities contain specialized texts, popular Italian magazines, and various multimedia materials including DVDs, music CDs, dedicated computer language programs, and more. The Umbra Institute also organizes Tandem, a language and cultural exchange between American and Italian university students to promote inter-cultural and social engagement through a variety of activities such as dinners and games.


See Academic Calendar for program dates and the tuition page.

“Intensive Italian through Culture”

by Robert Proctor, Ph. D. (Professor of Italian Language and Literature and Program Director)


“Intensive Italian through Culture” combines intensive language instruction at the Umbra Institute with a rich immersion in Italian culture, past as well as present. The program has two components: Italian language classes and speaking opportunities, and liberal arts cultural events conducted in Italian.


Students take Italian language courses at the level that best suits them, from beginning to advanced Italian. In addition, the Umbra Institute organizes scambi di lingua, “language exchange”, get-togethers with Italians, in order that students from their very first days in Perugia have the opportunity to meet Italians with whom they can practice the language. Liberal arts events include tours of Perugia and Assisi conducted in Italian; a wine-tasting in Italian; instruction in Italian in the art of making ice cream; a guided tour in Italian of the famous Osvaldo Grazia ceramics showroom and factory in the nearby town of Deruta, and guided tours in Italian of local museums, and galleries.


Most of our Italian guides have also been trained in teaching languages. At the beginning of each cultural tour or event our guides pass out vocabulary sheets ordered according to the sequence of the event itself, so students can follow the words as the guide is going from one building or painting or statue (or piece of pottery, type of wine or flavor of ice cream!) to another.


The Italian language classes are intense and rewarding. On occasion, the Umbra Institute hosts their students at local restaurants—with the understanding that only Italian is to be spoken during the meal! At the end of six weeks, students will have put in the class-time equivalent of two semesters’ work in the States. The Italian teachers at the Umbra Institute are excellent. They are experienced in teaching Italian in Italian at all levels, from beginning to advanced, to people of all ages from all over the world.


From an educational point of view, Intensive Italian through Culture brings together an oral proficiency pedagogy of language teaching and a liberal arts commitment to broad, interdisciplinary learning. The liberal arts tradition, our oldest educational tradition, has particular relevance today in our hurried age of specialized study. Its sees reality as an ordered whole (kosmos in Greek), the individual as part of this whole, and all the intellectual disciplines as complementary ways of experiencing this whole. It emphasizes a balance between work and leisure, public service, and contemplative study.


The experience of Italy can be a liberal arts experience of the highest order. Italy’s natural beauty, combined with her rich history and culture, embodies the interrelation between all the branches of learning, and between the fine and liberal arts. The Umbra Institute’s commitment to the liberal arts tradition uses the beauty of Italy to inspire students to learn the Italian language, and uses their growing command of Italian to draw them more deeply into Italian life.