The Umbra Institute is committed to making every student’s experience in Italy a special one. Our wide variety of courses coupled with the diverse expertise of our faculty allows Umbra to offer a unique learning experience that includes several options: a broad, diverse set of courses that can open students to new areas of study; curricular concentrations with a strong thematic focus; or independent field study courses which make possible individualized research.
One of the advantages of studying abroad is that students have available learning opportunities that they would not find on their home campus and that would enrich their undergraduate educational experience. Among the many possibilities is to select a curriculum of subject-related and mutually supportive courses – in short, a curricular concentration. For those students seeking to integrate further their studies within a certain concentration, the Umbra Institute offers a separate 3-credit independent field study course that can be woven into their curricular selection. Click here to view some of the possible curricular concentrations (both with and without an independent study component included).
Students are also encouraged to work with their advisors at their home institutions and develop their own customized curricular concentration that best fits their needs and interests. For example, an Italian Studies may consider developing the following concentration on Culture, Literature and Film:
- ITAL XXX Italian Language (mandatory) – 4/6
- ITLI 400: Contemporary Italian Literature in Translation – 3
- SOIT 360: Contemporary Italy: Culture and Society – 3
- THIT 380: Italian Cinema: 1945 to the Present – 3
- LIIT 420: Il Racconto Italiano: The Italian Short Story (taught in Italian)
Should a term paper or project be required for both Italian Cinema and Contemporary Italy, the student may ask both instructors to accept a single, more ambitious assignment that combines elements, or themes, from both courses – for instance, Elements of Italian Culture through Film.
Alternatively, the student may replace one of the five courses listed above with a 3-credit independent field study course researching, for example, Literature and Film in Italy, and focusing on the relationship between literature and film adaptation related to the historical, political and cultural evolution of contemporary Italy. Research may include interviews with local scholars, writers and directors; visits to Cinecitta’; and more. The possibilities are endless!
Students who choose an independent study will be assigned an advisor from among the Umbra faculty, after an initial consultation with the Academic Director. They will participate in a weekly seminar to monitor their research progress and will be provided guidance in navigating the Italian terrain – i.e., identifying local resources that will help in their research, finding local experts and/or scholars in their area of interest, and, if needed, setting up translation support for interviews. Umbra’s goal is to ensure that students take full advantage of what Italy has to offer. At the end of the semester, students’ research papers will be published in an Umbra anthology, documenting their academic accomplishments while studying abroad.