Direct Enrollment: University for Foreigners


Program Overview

The Direct Enrollment Program at the University for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri di Perugia) offers the unique opportunity for students to focus exclusively on Italian language and culture. Participants enroll at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia for a semester-long program and study with university students from all over the world whose goal is to become fluent in Italian. It is intensive, international, and most of all, widely recognized as the best way to become  fluent in Italian and enjoy everyday life in Italy.


The program is taught entirely in Italian and is open to students of all levels of language proficiency. It includes approximately 27 hours per week at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia coupled with weekly recitation classes with Umbra instructors. The instructors’ role is to guide, assist, and assess students through their learning experience at the local university. They set weekly assignments, exams, and determine students’ final grades in the program.



Direct Enrollment students studying outside.

Direct Enrollment students studying outside.

The program yields 16 semester credits. At each level of language proficiency, the curriculum is fixed and may not be modified. For more information, download the Program Outline for more details on the structure of the program, the material covered, and the transcripts awarded for each level completed. Please note that Direct Enrollment students do not have a traditional fall or spring break but will enjoy holidays listed in the Italian academic calendar.


Students are encouraged to take this document to their faculty and/or study abroad advisor to gain permission to attend the program and ensure that proper transfer credit will be awarded. Advisors are encouraged to contact the Umbra Institute directly with questions or to learn more about the Direct Enrollment program.






This program is ideal for:

  • Any student who wishes to gain proficiency quickly in Italian through an intensive full-immersion experience in Italy;
  • Intermediate students who wish to perfect their lingusitic skills and move to the advanced level;
  • Advanced students who wish to practice and perfect their skills in a wide variety of courses taught entirely in Italian including subjects such as culture, linguistics, and social sciences;
  • Students who wish to complete the equivalent of two years of language study in one semester abroad;
  • Italian studies majors at the intermediate level who seek to become fluent enough to be prepared to return to their home institution and enroll in advanced level area-studies courses taught entirely in Italian;
  • Students who desire a traditional study abroad experience and to live with international students

Do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] should you have any questions or inquiries about this unique and special program. In bocca al lupo!


Università per Stranieri di Perugia
The Università per Stranieri di Perugia represents the oldest and most prestigious Italian institution specialized in Italian language instruction. Founded in 1921, today the Università is an important center for both the teaching of Italian and the development of new educational methodologies. It hosts approximately 5,000 students from over 100 different nations each term. The university’s principal location is in the beautiful Gallenga Palazzo located in the heart of the city, opposite the 2,000-year-old Etruscan arch of the ancient city and a short walk from the Umbra Institute. 


The Umbra Institute works closely with the Università per Stranieri to create a study abroad program that incorporates this stimulating international environment.  Participants in the Direct Enrollment: University for Foreigners program are registered as students at both the University for Foreigners and the Umbra Institute.


Calendar Structure

The program inserts the traditional American four-month semester into the Italian academic program as organized by the Università per Stranieri. For this reason, course organization follows two different models depending on the semester in which students enroll. The fall semester is comprised of a one-month course followed by a three-month course, and the spring semester is a three-month course followed by a one-month course.


Four-Month Fall Semester
September                      One-Month Course
October-December         Three-Month Course


Four-Month Spring Semester
January-March             Three-Month Course
April                                One-Month Course


During orientation in Perugia, students will take an assessment exam (test d’ingresso) and be placed in one of six levels of language proficiency. Students start a particular level, and depending on their performance, may advance to the next level or continue at the same one for the duration of the semester.  The six levels of instruction are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:


Level A1 (Beginner)            Level A2 (Advanced Beginner)
Level B1 (Intermediate)       Level B2 (Advanced Intermediate)
Level C1 (Advanced)           Level C2 (Mastery)


At the lower levels (A1-B1) the curriculum is fixed and may not be modified, whereas courses at the B2 level and above introduce a separate component on Italian culture and society.


Advanced courses, at the levels of C1 and C2, also include courses in a variety of subjects such as advanced linguistic studies, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, dialects and historical linguistics, as well as courses on Dante, Italian Renaissance Art, business writing, Italian literature, and more. These courses supplement the linguistic program and are used as tools to not only teach the subject matter, but also continue to improve Italian language skills. Each session, advanced students create their own program and may choose up to three elective courses from a variety of offerings in Italian studies in the humanities and social sciences.


Weekly Tutorials Sessions with Umbra Instructors
For some students the direct enrollment experience can be overwhelming, while others, particularly at the beginner level, may find it difficult to follow classes taught in Italian. The Umbra Institute provides each student with a weekly tutorial and special office hours for additional assistance when needed. Umbra instructors are experts in the fields of teaching Italian and assessing language acquisition. 


Students will cover grammatical and conversational topics and prepare for their exams at the Institute. Tutors will provide each week the necessary learning materials and may ask students to organize a weekly update of their Stranieri activities. Students will be given regularly assigned exercises, including short essays, and the students’ midterm and final oral presentations and exams will take place at the Institute. It is the Umbra instructor who is ultimately responsible for assessing the performance of all students and assigning the final grade for all students.


Extra-Curricular Activities
Program participants have access to all social and sports activities offered by the Università. These include: the Chamber Music Group, University Musical Association of Perugia (Agimus), University Social Center (concerts, shows, plays, exhibitions, and Italian films are shown; students can participate free of charge in the events and can also exhibit their artistic works), excursions (weekend trips organized by the Università to important Italian cities and historical and artistic monuments of Perugia and Umbria), and sports (all students have access to the University Sport Centre of Perugia, the CUS, which organizes athletics, baseball, basketball, football, swimming, judo, karate, tennis, cycling, volleyball, lacrosse, etc.).



Housing is provided for all students in shared apartments with either Italian or international students. There is no meal plan, but apartments are equipped with full kitchens. 


Transferable Credits with an Umbra Transcript
All Direct Enrollment: University for Foreigner program participants receive a transcript issued through the Umbra Institute for coursework at the Università. These transcripts convert the course equivalents and semester credits based on the American system of higher education. Specifically, the coursework and performance of students at each level of language proficiency are interpreted and re-configured into four principal courses of study. Each course is worth four credits. Transcripts of the C1 and C2 programs include the elective courses on Italian culture, linguistics, or business economics. These are indicated under “special topics.” See the individual program pages for details about courses and transcripts.


At the end of each three-month program students are eligible to take a CELI (Certificato di Lingua Italiana) exam and receive a certificate of proficiency from the Università degli Studi di Perugia. The CELI is recognized internationally and may be useful for students who hope to work in fields which require knowledge of Italian. The examination dates are set by the Centre for Assessment and Language Certification of the Università, often fall outside the semester schedule for Umbra students, and generally offered twice a calendar year.


See More!
To see a short video about Umbra students doing the Direct Enrollment program, click here.
To contact former Umbra students who have taken the program, click here.

To apply for this program now, click here!