Umbra at a Glance
We know that, as a study abroad or faculty advisor, you are inundated with countless brochures, websites, and promotional material advertising amazing study abroad programs for students. Opportunities for international study are increasingly numerous, but sifting through all the data can be tedious and overwhelming. To aid you in your quest to match students with the right provider, we’ve highlighted Umbra’s essential features for your review. We will be happy to provide you with more information and answer any questions you may have.
Proven Track Record
For over eighteen years, the Arcadia University Umbra Institute has offered quality study abroad programs led by a team of dedicated professionals with decades of experience. Since its inaugural semester in the fall of 2000, Umbra’s bold and ambitious vision has made it unique and one of Italy’s highest-rated academic programs for study abroad. We have served over 5,000 university students from the U.S. and Italy, offering full-service assistance and support from the moment students apply to the day of their return to the United States.
Accreditation and Recognition
The Umbra Institute was founded in 1999 by Arcadia University as a center for higher education and a provider of academic programs for students of U.S. colleges and universities. Arcadia has been a leader in study abroad for over 65 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 Institute 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. Umbra is also a recognized provider of courses for the Universita degli Studi di Perugia and the Universita’ per Stranieri di Perugia.
Dedicated Focus on Community Engagement and Outreach
True to the Umbra Institute’s mission of immersing students in the local culture, community engagement in Perugia offers hands-on interpersonal and intercultural experience. The Umbra Institute strives to provide a transformative, student-centered learning environment through experiential learning, including courses with service learning, practicums, volunteer projects, the opportunity to live and study with Italians, and more. Our chief objectives are to broaden students’ cultural perspectives, help them develop intercultural awareness and sensitivity, enable them to give something meaningful back to their host city, and equip them to see their own communities and society from a more comparative, global perspective.
Diverse Curriculum with Substantive Content
Umbra offers academic programs to satisfy a wide range of interests and needs. The General Studies Program provides students from any discipline or major the opportunity to choose freely from a selection of courses taught by Umbra faculty during the regular semesters or summer session. For those students eager to integrate into the community more fully, both seminar and practicum courses and independent research are available. Our Food & Sustainability Studies Program explores the past, present, and future of food with an emphasis on sustainability and new technology.
And finally, for the culturally ambitious, we offer the Direct Enrollment Italian Language & Culture Program at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia (University for Foreigners), Direct Enrollment at the local Università degli Studi di Perugia (University of Perugia), and our newest Direct Enrollment Program at the Accademia Belle Arte di Perugia (Italian Academy of Fine Arts). Our Direct Enrollment Programs are reminiscent of “study abroad as it used to be”—when students studied at an Italian university with local students, participating fully in Italian life, culture, and scholarship.
We are extremely proud of our consistent course quality. The Umbra Institute boasts an exemplary faculty of scholars who are dedicated to teaching and providing courses of substantive content and quality. Each semester we provide an updated Course Catalog, including both faculty credentials and course syllabi, so that you can review our academic programs in detail.
Selective Admission Standards
Admission into the Umbra Institute is selective: students must be sophomore status or higher and maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA, though Umbra’s student body has an average GPA of 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.
Umbra students define themselves by outstanding academic performance and an exceptional desire to be challenged, explore new paths, and delve into their surroundings. Visit our Umbra Student Body page to see a complete list of sending institutions. Each semester, the Umbra Institute also hosts local Italian university students, fostering an intercultural learning environment.
The Perfect Size and Authentic Location
Each semester, Umbra hosts between 100 and 150 students, 15 to 20 percent of whom are Italian or international students from the local university. The size of the Umbra Institute is one of our best assets—large enough to support a diverse student body and an ambitious academic program, yet small enough to provide an unparalleled level of personal attention. Perugia has a true “Italian feel” and boasts endless opportunities for language and cultural immersion. The city provides an incredible backdrop for study abroad: charming character, beautiful panoramas, and the distinguished status of being Italy’s “university city.” Each year, Perugia hosts approximately 40,000 local and international students, creating a vibrant college scene.
Library and Academic Resources
Above and beyond the libraries at the local universities, the Umbra Institute maintains its own library with over 3,000 texts, a collection that continues to grow. We also offer newspapers, journals, and a large multimedia collection. Students may explore our online databases and journals (JSTOR, Lexus, Wilsons, etc.) for in-depth research assignments.
Unparalleled Student Services
The Umbra Institute maintains an average 12:1 student-to-staff ratio, offering incomparable attention to students’ needs. The staff is readily available during the Umbra open hours and can be reached 24 hours a day by an emergency phone. We are committed to the welfare of our students and have developed comprehensive health and emergency policies and procedures to ensure their safety at all times.
A Truly Italian University Experience and Endless Immersion Opportunities
The Umbra Institute, the city of Perugia, and the local universities have all agreed to work together to provide an environment that fosters close interaction with the local Italian and student communities. Umbra students benefit greatly from studying with both Italian and international students, and together they organize cultural activities and events including art shows, talent shows, play readings, volunteer opportunities, trips and excursions, internships, and more.
Periodic Peer and Self-Assessment Review
Representatives from Arcadia University and other U.S. colleges and universities visit the Umbra Institute regularly to talk with staff and faculty and witness the program first-hand. Umbra also works closely with Arcadia University to perform periodic assessments by members of its National Advisory Board. Reviews are based on the criteria established by the Forum on Education Abroad, and we are pleased to report that the team found the Umbra Institute to be of exceptional quality in all fundamental areas.
We encourage all prospective students to contact current and former program participants directly. We want potential students to hear from their peers what the Umbra Institute and the city of Perugia have to offer. The same is true for you: we would be happy to provide you with the names and contact information of our college and university partners who will be pleased to discuss their experiences working with the Umbra Institute.
The Umbra Institute is priced approximately at or below the average cost for study abroad programs in Italy. The extensive and unique features that define the Umbra Institute make a semester abroad with us not only affordable but also of exceptional value. For details, see our Tuition and Fees.
We invite you to explore our website and learn more about the Umbra Institute. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] with any questions. We hope we can work with you to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experience for your students!