At Umbra, we believe that study abroad is an opportunity to embrace cultural differences and learn to recognize political, historical, and social factors that influence prejudice and privilege; all while being open to people, views, and practices that may be different from one’s own experiences. This belief is what drives the work that we do to foster a welcoming environment and promote inclusivity and active learning.
It is a framework that supports an understanding of how an individual’s visible and invisible identities (social, political, etc.) combine and impact their daily lives. International Education offers a formative experience that throws students out of their comfort zone and introduces them to new cultural norms. While this is part of what makes study abroad a journey of self-discovery, it can also lead to predictable and unpredictable challenges on an individual basis.
Our Student Services team is trained to address these issues and the many challenges related to intersectionality while studying abroad.
Until recently, Italy was a country of emigrants. Today, its location on the Mediterranean makes it a natural stepping-stone for the arrival of migrants and refugees to Europe. The result is that Italians, particularly in Perugia, are accustomed to interacting with people from all walks of life. That said, like all nations it still has much to do when it comes to embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Umbra works to assist our students, particularly African-American, Asian-American, and other minorities in being prepared for their experience abroad. Should you wish to discuss more about what to expect as a foreigner in Italy, please contact us.
Did you know that Perugia and cities across the country host vibrant pride parades and festivities every June?
Gay communities in cities like Perugia are active and welcoming. For example, Omphalos in Perugia has been advocating for inclusivity for over 25 years, offering meetings and cultural activities to help members of the community find their voice and a comfortable support group that often leads to lifelong friendships.
Did you know? The Italian language is binary-gender based like most Latin languages. We realize this may pose difficulties for those who identify as non-binary but our language professors are at the forefront of the effort to teach Italian with inclusion, diversity, and gender equality.
Italian culture places a high value on healthy, wholesome food with natural and simple ingredients. As a result of this health consciousness, Italians also will often go the extra mile to respect any dietary restrictions.
Students may not have all readily available dietary options they are accustomed to in the States, but those with dietary restrictions should manage just fine while in Italy.
Gluten-free and vegan options are common in Italy so you can find menus if not entire restaurants adapted to these needs in cities and towns throughout the country. In addition, major cities like Perugia have Jewish, Muslim, and other international communities with plenty of places to find kosher, hallal, and ethnic foods.
Our faculty are trained and experienced in accommodating learning disabilities and work with each student closely in order to make the appropriate accommodations.
Individuals who experience mobility issues may find Italy to be difficult to navigate, especially within city centers where updated public areas in historic buildings are limited. Though, there are city ordinances that have been put in place to require most venues and new urban planning projects to consider these issues.
Our faculty and staff are on hand to offer assistance and advise for both visible or non-visible disabilities. We would be happy to discuss what can be expected while abroad and how we can assist to ensure your experience is successful, rewarding, and enjoyable.
Italy is a secular state but it hosts a prevalent Catholic culture. Churches appear to be on every corner and their bells ring throughout the day, particularly on Sundays. This is based in a deep-rooted aspect of the culture that can be spotted in hospitals, banks, police stations, post offices, shops, and even schools (though students can opt-out of religious classes).
Nearly all religions are represented in Italy. Cities like Perugia offer a particularly broad range of diversity in faith where you can find mosques as well as Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and other churches.
Youth group culture also exists in Italy. Perugia is home to a large Catholic youth group full of university students, as well as a local Muslim youth group. They tend to create study groups, host free & inexpensive dinners, and sponsor activities like dancing flash mobs or other cultural events.
To apply for grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid, applicants are asked to first submit a completed Umbra application form and to contact their admissions advisor to discuss funding options. Awards vary and can be based on academic performance, financial need, and diversity.
Our Institute is on a mission to maintain and grow an environment that encourages exploration, creativity, and academic success. This can only be achieved when we ensure that all students, faculty, and staff feel welcome and fully supported by our entire academic community.
If you or someone you know has questions regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and access while abroad, please use the form below to contact us and we will be pleased to assist.