A Welcoming Community

Umbra views diversity as a powerful contributor to academic, personal, and professional development. Central to our mission is creating an environment that encourages exploration, creativity, and academic success. This can only be achieved by ensuring that all students feel welcome and fully supported by our entire academic community.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion while abroad, please contact us and we will be pleased to assist.

Embracing your Race, Ethnicity & Nationality

Until recently, Italy itself was a country of emigrants. As a peninsula in the Mediterranean, it is a natural stepping-stone to the arrival of refugees and migrants coming to Europe. As a result Italians, particular in Perugia, are accustomed to interaction with people from all walks of life. But like all nations it still has much more to do in embracing diversity, equity and inclusion.

Umbra takes careful attention to assist our students, particularly African-American, Asian-American, and other minorities in being prepared for their experience abroad. To learn more about what to expect as a foreigner in Italy, please contact us.

Perugia’s LGBTQ+ Community

Did you know that Perugia hosts 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.

Intersectionality?

Intersectionality 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. Study abroad is a formative experience that throws students outside 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 counselors and student services team is trained in addressing these issues and the many challenges related to intersectionality while studying abroad.

 

Navigating Dietary Restrictions

Italian culture places a high value on healthy wholesome food with simple natural 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 will 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 Florence, especially, has large Jewish, Muslim and international communities with plenty of places to find kosher, hallal and ethnic foods.


Disabilities in Italy

Our faculty are trained and experienced in accommodating learning disabilities and work closely with each student to make the appropriate accommodations. Individuals experiencing mobility issues however may find Italy to be difficult to navigate, especially within a city’s historic center where updating public areas and historic buildings is limited. However, there are city ordinances that have been put in place to require most venues and new urban planning projects to take these issues into consideration.


Faith-Based Practices and Considerations

Italy is a secular state but hosts a prevalent Catholic culture. Churches seem to be on every corner and bells ring throughout the day, especially on Sundays. This is a deep-rooted aspect of the culture that can be noticed in banks, post offices, hospitals, police stations, shops, and even schools. That said, nearly all religions are represented in Italy, and major cities (like Perugia) in particular offer a greater diversity of faith. You can also find temples, mosques as well as Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopalian, and Methodist churches.


Diversity  & need-based Scholarships,
grants and work-study programs

To apply for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid, applicants must first submit a completed application form and contact an admissions specialist to discuss funding options. Awards are based on academic performance, financial need, and diversity. Click the link below to explore the financial aid options that may be available to you.

SCHOLARSHIPS & FINAID