School navigation

Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Italy: Siena

Semester: Spring
Offered: Every other academic year, odd years
Estimated Dates: Mid-January to late April
Program Focus: Regional Area Study
Prerequisites: FL 101: Italian (offered semester prior to participation) 3.0 GPA in course.                        
Housing: Host Families
Spring 2019
Program Leader:

Michael Broide
Associate Professor of Physics, 503-768-7581

Program Design

Using Siena as a base, students will explore Italy through the study of its language, history, literature, and art.  Excursions to regional areas of interest, particularly Tuscan hills towns, Florence, and Perugia that will include a walking tour of major sites with an art historian.


Requirements Fulfilled: This program fulfills the world language requirement, the two-course international studies requirement, and the creative arts requirement (when IS 273 Topics in Art History is offered). Art majors may not use IS 273 to fulfill the Creative Arts General Education requirement. 

4 courses per semester/16 credits

FL 102:  Beginning Italian
FL  201: Intermediate Italian
IS 272: Modern Italian History OR IS 273: Topics in Art History

Choice of:

IS 274  Religious Cultures and Traditions in Italy 
IS 275  Introduction to Sociolinguistics
IS 276  Emigration in Italy and Europe

IS 272 Modern Italian History
On March 17, 1861 the Italian Parliament convened for the first time.  That date, symbolic of Italian unification, could also be taken as the beginning of the long process, which ended in the creation of a government and a nation. By looking at the most significant periods of Nineteenth and Twentieth century Italian history (Unification, birth of Sovereignty, the Great War, Fascism, the Second World War, the Resistance, the constitution of the Republic), we will trace the profound social, political and economic transformations that changed the face of the population and its sense of national identity throughout over 150 years of history.

IS 273 Topics in Art History
This course offers on rotation a series of different topics of Italian Art History.  Based not only on specific time periods but also on themes that tie various historical or cultural eras together, each semester offers an opportunity to explore topics ranging from a brief but exhaustive panorama of Italian Romanticism, to a specific theme-based topic such as the use of the portrait in the Renaissance.  For each historical and cultural era or topic, we’ll examine major themes and artists, thus opening windows onto the cultural and historical worlds of each topic or period.

IS 274  Religious Cultures and Traditions in Italy  

Foundations and contributions of Christianity in the cultural development of Italy, in particular in the Tuscany region, from the Roman Empire to the twentieth century. Exploration of how religion is expressed and shaped through art history, literature, and popular media.
IS 275  Introduction to Sociolinguistics
History, regional variety, and structure of the Italian language through a study of sociolinguistics; Latinate origins of the language; study of dialects and diastratic variation; Italian in mass media and as an “ethnic language” abroad.
IS 276  Emigration in Italy and Europe During the Globalization Era
Wide overview of the migratory processes and movements from and to Italy in the past thirty years. Analysis of the reasons and consequences of this transformation; Italian emigration in the twenty-first century; extra-European emigration; the impact of movement on Italian society.
Suggested Readings:

Tim Parks, Italian Neighbors
Tim Parks, An Italian Education, Avon Books, 1995
R.W.B. Lewis, The City of Florence, Henry Holt & Co., 1995
John Hale, The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance, Atheneum, 1994


Fee Breakdown:

Total Fee (includes Tuition & Program Fee): $32,334

Tuition: $25,287

Program Fee: $7,047*

*Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, field trips, administrative fees, and supplemental health insurance. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to PSA): $800 - $1,500

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,275.50*

*All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding Health Insurance Information & Overseas Programs.  

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Student must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application one year before the start of the program. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their secondary application to SIS and will receive a separate notification letter of admission.  Please keep a digital copy of your essays and other application materials as you will need to submit these similar materials to SIS. Please note that this secondary application process can be as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

The semester before the program, students who have been accepted will meet regularly for orientation. This orientation is meant to prepare the students for life in Berlin by exploring literature and culture, and provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the logistical details of the program.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into the Pisa airport (PSA), where they are met by SIS staff and will travel to Siena as a group.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Italy.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Italy page.

Italy, Siena

Blog Feed: Italy

  • March 16, 2017 at 9:56am
    I have now been in Italy for exactly 2 months and its been a whirlwind time. One of the best things about living here is how easy it is to travel! Our school schedule worked out where we have three day weekends every week, which means lots of time to explore the world around us. […]
  • March 12, 2017 at 2:14pm
    I have really enjoyed my time in Italy so far. My host family has welcomed me in as their own, but they also give me space to be on my own. I live a few miles outside of the city center, which has its perks and challenges. While the infrequent bus schedule causes me to come […]
  • November 29, 2016 at 4:35pm


43.317229; 11.328347