Why should I choose Umbra?
There are plenty of reasons to choose the Umbra Institute for your study abroad experience. The Umbra Institute offers a wide variety of superior academic programs to meet your individual needs, and Perugia – the university city of Italy – is the ideal place for a study abroad program. Additionally, our program is limited in size so you are not just a number. You are also fully supported in your academic and personal endeavors while studying here. The Umbra Institute offers a rich cultural experience where students can fully immerse themselves in the local Italian community and buzzing student life of Perugia. Students from the highest-ranked colleges and universities in America have chosen Umbra for a reason. We suggest you check out the Why Umbra? section of our webpage and see for yourself. If you still are not convinced, don’t hesitate to ask past students about their Umbra experience.
Will this program be approved for credit by my home university or college?
Most likely, yes. The Umbra Institute is an Arcadia University Center for Education Abroad program and is accredited and recognized by nearly all U.S. colleges and universities. For more questions about accreditation, check out Transcripts & Credits or email us at [email protected].
What are the admission requirements?
The Umbra Institute programs were designed for motivated college and university students who are eager to immerse themselves in all aspects of Italian life, language, and culture. If you are an American student applying through Arcadia University, you must be at least a rising sophomore with a minimum 2.75 GPA and matriculated at a U.S. college or university. If you are an Italian student, you must be matriculated at the Università degli Studi di Perugia or another approved Italian university, complete a prescribed application, and pass a proficiency of English exam. If you would like more information, do not hesitate to contact us.
Do I need to speak Italian?
No. In fact, in the General Studies program nearly all courses are taught in English. However all students are required to take Italian language as part of their curriculum. Umbra offers 4- and 6-credit beginner courses, and 4-credit language courses at higher levels. Even students in the Direct Enrollment Program at the Università per Stranieri are not required to have previously studied the language: level one is designed for students with no prior Italian Umbra also offers courses at the intermediate and advance levels (200, 300, 400), as well as abundant opportunities to perfect your italiano outside the classroom.
What is Perugia like?
Perugia seamlessly combines old and new, offering you all the glory of ancient Italy with all the modern conveniences of a capital city. It also has a thriving international student population of nearly 40,000 thanks to its two main universities. To read more about this charming city, find out why you should make a Life in Perugia.
Will I be able to travel with friends while studying?
Certainly! Traveling is a significant part of your experience abroad. However, do keep in mind that the Umbra Institute is a study abroad program, not simply a travel abroad one. We expect students to commit to the academic program first and foremost. Day trips in the region and overnight trips to larger cities are part of several courses at the Umbra Institute and all students should restrict overnight travel to the Fridays and weekends during which there are no course obligations. Additionally, Umbra offers a week-long break around mid-semester and you can travel as you wish! If you are looking to make an extensive European trek or if you want to invite all your friends to come visit, schedule your activities during that period. Check the Visitor Guide for dates.
Which academic program is best for me?
That depends on your curricular needs and personal interests. The most popular and flexible option is the General Studies Program, but our other programs offer additional opportunities to challenge and immerse yourself while abroad — including our newest addition, the Food Studies Program!
Here is a helpful summary:
→ General Studies– This program is suitable for just about everyone. It offers 4- to 6-credit Italian language courses and a wide variety of electives taught in English, as well as honors courses and several classes taught in Italian.
→ Food Studies– Our newest curricular concentration program employs an interdisciplinary approach to the study of food. The program consists of three courses in food studies, an Italian language course, and an optional elective. Areas covered include the history of food and Italian culture, politics, business, environment and sustainability, food technology, slow food and green (zero emissions) production.
→ Independent Research or Honors Program – This program is ideal for students interested in pursuing an in-depth research project while in Italy, perhaps to get a head start on a senior thesis or to simply explore a field of particular interest. Significant time is allocated for independent, self-motivated work in the chosen field. An Italian language course (or another course taught in Italian for advanced students) is required as part of the curriculum, and honors courses may also be chosen.
→ Direct Enrollment: University for Foreigners Program– This program offers an unprecedented opportunity for students who want to be fully immersed in Italian language and cultural studies. A full academic year of language study is completed in one semester. Students study directly at the Universita’ per Stranieri and their classmates are students from around the globe. This is a great option for Italian majors and minors, although it is best to check with your home school to ensure that the fixed curriculum will be approved.
→ Direct Enrollment: University of Perugia Program- This option allows students to directly enroll at Perugia’s main university, and therefore is only available only to those already fluent in Italian. This program also requires an understanding that the Italian educational system is different than the American one. Semester course choices are limited; students who study for a full-academic year will have more curricular options.
If my Italian is advanced, do I still have to take language classes?
Students who are above the 300-level proficiency may waive the language requirement, but they must still enroll in one or more courses taught solely in Italian. These courses usually include LIIT 420: Il Racconto Italiano; SOIT 380: Civiltà Italiana; SOIT 402: L’Italiano: Storia, Sviluppo, e Sociolinguistica; and IT 399: Independent Study in Italian.
My home school wants to view the syllabi for my Umbra classes before they accept them for credit. Can I get copies?
Absolutely. Contact us and we will direct you to our documents download page or send them promptly by email to you or your advisor.
How much does it cost?
See the Tuition & Fees page.
How much will I spend while studying in Italy, apart from program costs?
In all honesty, you could never have enough to spend while abroad! Making a budget can be difficult, and of course, the amount will depend on your daily lifestyle and how much travel you intend to do. We have estimated that the average student spends between $3,000 and $5,000 per semester while abroad. Still, some get by on much less, while others go through nearly twice that amount. We have approximated the amounts of what the average student should expect to spend for the 4-month semester program:
- Meals: approx. $1,200 (cooking at home can substantially lower this estimate)
- Textbooks: approx. $100 (depends on course enrollment)
- Course Lab Fees: approx. $500 (depends on course enrollment)
- Entertainment in Perugia: approx. $500
- Travel (local and international): $1,000
- Miscellaneous: $500-$1,000
Again, these are general approximations to help you with your decision. After your first month here, you will have a sense of how much you spend and can budget as needed.
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What are course lab fees?
Some courses have mandatory travel components which include overnight excursions to places like Florence and Rome. For other classes, on-site study at monuments and museums is essential, and some even feature trips to countryside inns and wineries. The fees for these activities are extra and depend upon the course. Students enrolled in Food Cultures, Renaissance Art, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Roman Empire, Early Christianity, Archeology, Creative Writing, and Studio Art should expect course fees ranging from 25-400 Euro. See individual course descriptions for exact amounts.
What is the best way to carry and retrieve money?
Try to carry as little as possible, use credit cards whenever possible, and retrieve money with an ATM card as needed. ATMs are everywhere and allow you to retrieve money in increments similar to those in the U.S. Always having some travelers checks on hand is a good idea too, since you can recover the money if they’re lost or stolen. Do not bring large amounts of cash. Helpful hint: Make copies of everything in your wallet in case of emergency.
What’s the deal on student housing?
Most students are housed with other Umbra students in apartments throughout the historic center. Each apartment is equipped with a kitchen and a common space for studying, and all housing is within walking distance of the Umbra Institute. For students seeking a new cultural experience, we offer the option of being housed in apartments with either native Italians or international students, and home stays are also available upon request. It’s up to you to indicate which option you prefer on your housing selection form.
Should I bring my laptop? Is there internet available?
Yes and yes! If you are looking for maximum internet connectivity while abroad, please bring your laptop. All Umbra sites, including apartments, have ethernet cords and wireless access, so if you have a laptop you’re good to go.
Is there a meal plan available through Umbra?
No, but as an Umbra student you have lots of options for cheap meals. The university cafeterias offer great food for just a few euros, and we have agreements with a lot of local restaurants that offer great student discounts. Many students use their kitchens to make frequent meals at home, providing a great opportunity to soak up a little of the Italian culinary genius and get together with friends. And if your cooking skills are not up to par, ask an Italian student to dinner; it is a great way to make friends, and you’ll probably get some culinary advice!
What do I need to prepare for attending the program?
If you have successfully completed the application and been accepted into the program, you are now ready for the next level of preparation. You will be sent a Student Handbook that will contain everything you need to know to prepare for your experience abroad, but we cannot emphasize enough the need to:
- Read the Student Handbook carefully and fully;
- Save as much money as possible – you can always use extra while abroad;
- Make copies of your passport and all important documents and cards in your purse or wallet in case they are lost or stolen;
- Make a budget that considers all expenses while abroad – books, meals, course lab fees, personal travel, Permit of Stay, etc;
- Get a laptop and bring it with you if possible;
- Understand that there will be challenges as well as amazing opportunities while studying abroad – keep an open mind and make a firm commitment to complete the program.
Great! How do I apply?
Glad you asked. Click here to apply now. We hope to see you soon!