First off, congratulations! You’ve taken the first bite of la dolce vita by deciding to study abroad. By setting your sights on glorious Italy, you’re headed toward one of the most rewarding adventures of your academic career. Now the question is: Which program should you choose?
We’ve been there. Scanning brochures, scrolling through websites, emailing former students for the full scoop. There are dozens of programs in Italy, so how do you know which is the right one? For over twenty years, we’ve heard Umbra students say, “I’m so glad I chose Perugia —I definitely made the right choice! Read on and decide if Umbra is right for you.
World-Class Students, Faculty, and Academic Programs
The Umbra Institute attracts some of the best and brightest students from the U.S. and around the world, hence why Umbra is widely accepted as the destination of choice for America’s top-ranked colleges and universities. Our focus on academic quality and extensive community engagement offers a new twist on study abroad, a way to ensure that you can “find your niche” and create a personally meaningful experience. We also boast a stellar international faculty composed of inspiring instructors and passionate leaders in their fields. Classes are small and course curriculum is innovative, challenging you to think and engage. As an Umbra alumnus/a, you’ll leave Italy with a new-found confidence in your abilities and a fresh way of perceiving the world.
Discover Real Italy
Studying at Umbra gives you a tremendous gift: you experience life in Italy as the Italians do. This is not Rome or Florence, where you would be buttressed by thousands of American college students and never speak a word of Italian. In Perugia you’re not a tourist—you get to know your neighbors and shop owners as a local resident. Every day unfurls in delicious new discoveries: ordering groceries in Italian, savoring culinary delights, making friends from all over the globe, and occasionally venturing off the ancient hilltop to visit the splendid and sweeping worlds below.
Perugia—Lots of Views, Lots of Students
At first, Perugia looks like something from a fairy tale. It sits high atop a hill flecked with charming pink and yellow roofs, encircled by an ancient crumbling wall. Look out on the verdant hills and valleys and you’ll be dazzled by their timeless beauty. However, Perugia is a mash-up of compelling contradictions, a place where lively bars hum beneath Etruscan arches and students dine al fresco on top of medieval cobblestones. Today’s Perugia offers an enchanting blend of ancient allure and modern vigor.
But that’s not all. Nicknamed the “University City,” Perugia boasts a thriving international student scene. Each year, thousands of Italian and international students flock to the city to attend the Università degli Studi di Perugia, the Università per Stranieri di Perugia, and the many studio and performing arts schools in the area. That means you’ll be learning Italian alongside Greeks, Germans, Taiwanese, Swedes, and many others. Everyday, you’ll meet new people you’ll forever call your friends. And every night on le scale—the stairs outside the cathedral—you’ll get a chance to hone your language skills with the hundreds of students who gather to enjoy the student vibe in Perugia.
Language is the Conduit for Cultural Immersion
Did we mention Perugia is the absolute best city for learning and practicing Italian? Unlike the larger cosmopolitan centers, Italian is spoken on every street corner and in every shop. If you want to fast-track your language acquisition, Umbra offers Direct Enrollment Programs where participants take classes at local universities with Italian and international students. This full linguistic immersion is widely recognized as one of the best ways to achieve fluency—students who choose this option tend to walk away with sophisticated language skills and a deeper appreciation of everyday life in Italy.
Even if language isn’t your main focus or you’re only just beginning to study Italian, you’ll be surrounded by opportunities to practice in an encouraging, non-judgmental environment. We’ve known students who come back from their time abroad in Rome or Milan and can only say “grazie.” That won’t happen in Perugia. When you study at Umbra, the city becomes your extended classroom—a language laboratory like no other.
Community Engagement Opportunities
Sometimes, the best way to immerse in a new community is to contribute something to it. True to the Umbra Institute’s mission of immersing students fully in the local culture, our Community Engagement Program offers hands-on opportunities to explore personal interests with a strong community connection. We draw you out of your comfort zone, challenging you to work closely with the locals. The program is teeming with endless immersion opportunities and initiatives, including chances to volunteer in museums, Montessori schools, synagogues, wineries, Unicef—that’s just the tip of the iceberg. At Umbra, you have countless opportunities to intern, serve, practice, and engage.
Unparalleled Student Services
The Umbra administration and Student Services staff provide all students with a strong system of support from the moment of arrival to the day of departure. What that means is that you get day-to-day guidance on living in Italy, navigating Perugia, traveling on the weekends, and adopting to your new home. At the Umbra Institute, we trust that you know best—only you can determine how best to shape your time abroad. Our job is simply to support you and lend a helping hand when you need it. One of our students said it best: “We joke that, although everyone on the Umbra staff has a job title, they all do everything. You can ask anyone for anything and they can probably do it!”
Umbra students distinguish themselves with a fervent desire to explore the less travelled paths and immerse themselves in their environs. For our students, its difficult to think of a more inspiring backdrop than Perugia – a city that attracts tens of thousands of Italian and international students. If the Umbra identity describes you, then you will be right at home studying with us.
One of the best things about Umbra is its small, intimate size. Students get to know other students, as well as our faculty and Student Services team. If you want to learn more, ask a former student. They’ll have plenty to say about their time at Umbra, and you’ll get the inside scoop! Ask Former Umbra students.