Extra- & Co-Curricular Activities, Field Trips & Independent Travel
If anyone tells you study abroad is solely about your experience in the classroom, they could not be more wrong. That’s why at Umbra, we care a lot about your time outside of class as well. For study abroad to truly transform you, you must integrate your academic achievements with your cultural discoveries and personal development.
The Umbra Institute taps into the rich cultural resources of the Italian community, supplementing the academic program with an exciting list of activities and events. We’ve got the tandem language exchange, cooking lessons, aperitivo social mixers with international and Italian students, intramural soccer games, a night at the opera, local fairs, food tastings and cultural workshops, and so much more. Each semester the list expands as new activities are added based on what’s happening around town. Most events are optional but highly recommended—these are excellent opportunities to immerse yourself more fully in Italian life.
And that’s not all. The Institute offers many ongoing opportunities for volunteer work, service learning, and community-based experiences in Perugia. These projects give you hands-on experience and extraordinary exposure to the culture, language, and people of Italy. Umbra courses are experiential and rely on out-of-the-classroom learning in the form of field trips, excursions, workshops, practicums, internships, and service-learning and community-based activities and assignments. Additional immersion opportunities are offered in education, journalism, environmental care, museum studies, working with the disabled, and many other fields sure to inspire and fulfill you.
Nearly all courses have field trips designed to enrich students’ appreciation for the material studied in the classroom. Students may visit churches, museums. vineyards and olive groves, small artisan companies, and more.
Umbra hosts pizza dinner, gelato tastings, karaoke, sports events, and other social activities, connecting and engaging with their classmates and the Umbra staff and faculty.
Tandem is an informal social gathering with Umbra students and local Italian students for mutual language exchange in in both English and Italian. Tandem helps students meet locals, improve their language skill and make lifelong friends.
Community engagement at the Umbra Institute has organically evolved into the guiding principle behind all academic initiatives. It informs and inspires our practicums, community-based research, service learning, and volunteer opportunities.
The Umbra Institute offers a weekend trip each semester, in addition to a variety of day trips to nearby site sites of interest. Overnight trips may include destinations such as Capri, Sorrento, Venice, or Cinque Terre. Day trips include Florence, Siena or hiking or biking in the verdant hills and mountains surrounding Perugia.
Students are offered a wide variety of cooking and cultural activities to participate in each semester. Activities include, but are not limited to: Cooking Class and Visit to San Gemini and Carsulae (Terni), Aperitivo at Local Wineries, Tour and Tastings at Tenuta Castelbuono Winery and Lunch.
Students are offered a wide variety of cultural workshops to participate in each semester. Each workshop introduces a different aspect of Italian culture. Students are also invited to several practical workshops during the semester to help guide them with useful information on travel in Italy and Europe, presentation skills, reentry into the U.S., and more. Workshops include, but are not limited to: Coffee Workshop, Travel Workshop, How to make a Brick Oven Pizza, Re-entry and Dealing with Returning Home
At the end of each semester, the Umbra Institute hosts a farewell festa and a week of special academic events including the student art show, community engagement presentations, research poster sessions, and a creative writing open-mic night. It’s a time of celebration to toast a semester of success—a triumphant way for students to say goodbye to Perugia, and hello to everything that comes next.
Finally, as great as Perugia is, we know you’ll also want to wander. That’s why you decided to study abroad in the first place – to see new sights and savor new delights. Good news: Perugia is a perfect staging point for weekend travel in Umbria and Tuscany, and the bus and rail system means you are only a couple hours away from popular destinations such as Rome and Florence.
When its time to get out of dodge, you will likely take the minimetro to the local train station in Perugia (Fontivegge). From there, you can travel to almost anywhere in Italy or mainland Europe. Check the Trenitalia website to explore the rail system, destinations and fees.
Just a few kilometers away from Perugia is the newly renovated Umbria International Airport (San Francesco D’Assisi). From Perugia, planes leave for London, Brussels, Sicily, and Sardinia. The airports in Florence and Rome are accessible by bus or train and connect to literally hundreds of destinations globally. Traveling from the Florence or Rome airports will put all of Europe at your doorstep. The post mid-term break which is offered in both the fall and spring, lasts for 10 days and is the ideal time to travel beyond the Italian peninsula.
If you plan to travel to a winery, bed and breakfast, or an agriturismo for a few days, it would be best to rent a car. Local trains and buses will get you to even the smallest towns, but not to remote wineries and farmhouses. You can rent a car from the train station in Perugia.