Syracuse Academy
Maymester 3 weeks 2020
4 credits

SAI students have the opportunity to complete a Maymester program at Syracuse Academy in beautiful Sicily. Students enroll in one of two courses, earning 4 credits during the 3 week session. Students select from The Volcanology of Sicily: Mt. Etna Revealed or Mediterranean diet: Tradition, Nutrition, and Innovation. Courses at Syracuse Academy focus on experiential learning and feature multiple field-learning lectures at some of the most iconic sites in Syracuse and Eastern Sicily.

Application: closed

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Personal statement (300-500 words)
Official transcript
Passport scan (photo page)
Italian privacy consent form

NOTE: Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, SAI has cancelled Summer 2020 programs with start dates prior to June 15. Please consider SAI’s programs that start after June 15.

Program Dates
May 8, 2020 – May 30, 2020

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic Year: High school graduate or above.

Cumulative GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)

* contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Natural Science

Natural Science

4.0 Credits
Nutrition | Course #: ESAG250 | Open
Instructor: TBA
This interdisciplinary course will focus on Food and Culture, and particularly on how lifestyle affects psychophysical performances and human health.

Students will learn the basics of human metabolism and the main features of the Mediterranean diet. Scientific information aims to explain why the Mediterranean diet is better adapted to the needs of the human body. In addition, this course will provide students with the chance of exploring the region and getting to know the local people by cooking and eating with them. This course relies on cultural exchanges among students, food producers and the local community to provide a more impactful learning experience. The course takes place in Sicily, a land that during the past centuries was ruled by many different civilizations (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, etc.). Sicilian food style was deeply affected by this rich mixture of different cultures. After learning about Mediterranean diet features and its relationships with human health, students will get the chance of cooking and tasting typical Mediterranean recipes along with Italian people and learn about how food can be an expression of people's history, character and identity. Students are directly engaged in these topics by participation in field trips.

The course aims not only to provide students with valuable scientific health-related information: being based in Sicily, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean area, means having the best chance to experience the wealth of colors, tastes and flavors that comprise the Mediterranean diet. Syracuse Academy is located in the heart of Syracuse and the resources available in this province of South-Eastern Sicily are unparalleled in the Mediterranean with regards to research facilities, producers and institutions focused on food quality certifications, slow food, organic productions, allowing this course to be taught in a way that would not be possible in many other parts of the world.
Contact Hours: 60
4.0 Credits
Volcanology | Course #: ES 250 | Open
Instructor: TBA
This course explores the many aspects of volcanism on Earth, from the formation of magma below or within the crust to its eruption at the surface, focusing on the volcanism of Mt. Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the World and a perfect natural laboratory thanks to its peculiar characteristics. The different types of eruptive styles of volcanoes will be briefly described and explained within their geological and tectonic contexts, with several case studies. Specific attention will be devoted to the impact of volcanic eruptions on human activities and life, unveiling the close interplay between man and volcanoes around the world and throughout history. The classes will then be introduced to modern volcano monitoring techniques, with a particular focus on geo-chemical methods. A large part of the course will be entirely devoted to the volcanism of Sicily and in particular of Mt. Etna, describing its history, types of eruptions, products erupted and the long-term beneficial effects of its activity on human life.

Course includes the following site visits:
- Mt. Etna: Trip 1
- Catania
- Mt. Etna: Trip 2
Contact Hours: 60

Courses Registration & Schedule
Students register for courses during the SAI application process. Course schedules are confirmed 4 weeks prior to the program start. Finalized schedules with class days and times are provided at orientation.

Service Learning & Volunteer
Syracuse Academy holds service learning as a pillar of academic excellence. Courses are intimately connected to the needs of various aspects of the community; they work in tandem with the community to create new ideas and new visions for future improvement. Students attending Syracuse Academy have various unique opportunities to get involved in their community beyond their classroom, including cultural and language exchange programs, classroom and youth engagement programs, and much more. Students receive information about all service and volunteer options upon arrival in Sicily.

Pre-Departure Calendar
February 23 2020
Application Closes
Applications accepted after closing as space permits.
Within 1 week of acceptance
SAI Deposits Due
$500 Confirmation Deposit (applied toward program fee)
$300 Security Deposit (refundable)
February 8 2020
50% of Total Program Fee Due
Students who are accepted and submit SAI deposits after this date will have an amended pay schedule. Either 50% or 100% of Program Fee will be due within 5 business days, based on the deposit payment date.
March 9 2020
Balance of Total Program Fee Due
March 9 2020
SAI Financial Aid Verification Deadline
Students wishing to defer payment until financial aid disbursement must submit the financial aid verification forms to SAI by this date.
March 15 2020
SAI Scholarship Application Deadline
Students wishing to apply for an SAI scholarship must have all application items submitted by 11:59pm Pacific Time on this date.
April 8 2020
SAI Pre-Departure Form Due

On-Site Calendar
May 8 2020
Arrival & Housing Check-in
Students arrive into Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA). SAI airport pickup is provided between 10:00am and 3:00pm, and students are transferred to SAI housing.
May 9 – 10 2020
Orientation & Welcome Events
May 11 2020
Classes Begin
May 29 2020
Classes End & Final Exams
May 30 2020
Program End & Housing Check-out
Students must move out of housing by 10:00am to return home or pursue independent travel.
SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $100
Security Deposit
Refundable at the end of the term.
Program Fee
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI Signature Services (see What’s Included).
Optional / Additional Fees:  
Optional Private Room Housing Supplement
Private room in a shared apartment, with a shared bathroom.
Optional Homestay Housing Supplement
Option to live with a local host family in a private room; includes breakfast daily.
Optional Homestay Housing Supplement With Full Board
Option to live with a local host family in a private room; includes breakfast & dinner 5 days/week.
International Mailing Supplement
When applicable, students are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.

*prices are subject to change

Note: certain SAI-affiliated US universities require specific payment arrangements. These may require that some fees are paid by the student directly to SAI, and other fees are paid to SAI by the affiliated university on behalf of the student. If you attend an SAI-affiliated university please contact your study abroad office or speak with your SAI Admissions Counselor for details.

Budget Low Est. High Est.
Airfare to/from Sicily
$900 $1,800
Books, Supplies & Course Fees
$25 / course $50 / course
Combination of cooking at home and eating out.
$600 / month $800 / month
Personal Expenses $250 / month $350 / month
Transportation in Syracuse area
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$50 / month $100 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI Signature Services Program; it includes our full services!

  • Program tuition and U.S. academic credit
  • Accommodation in carefully selected student housing
  • Airport pickup and transportation on arrival day
  • Welcome reception and events
  • Orientation to the host city and school
  • Staff on-site dedicated to providing personal assistance
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • Access to and assistance with international cell phone plans
  • Frequent cultural activities and day trips
  • 24-hour on-site emergency support
  • Farewell event with all students

Pre-departure and Re-entry services

  • US-based admissions counselor assigned to you, providing friendly assistance
  • Helpful pre-departure tools and resources
  • Online student groups to acquaint you with other SAI students
  • Assistance with student visa application
  • Assistance with financial aid processing
  • Need-based SAI scholarships
  • Paid registration fees for national re-entry conferences
  • SAI Ambassador Program for SAI alumni, with paid internship opportunities
  • SAI alumni network

SAI offers activities, at no extra cost, for students to get to know their community, city and country. Following is a sample of the activities included in this program. Please note that actual activities may differ.

Welcome Event
All students are invited to a typical Italian meal welcoming them to the program and their host city.

Welcome Tour of Syracuse
Students tour Syracuse, including stops at popular shops, supermarkets, and places of entertainment, as well as important landmarks such as main squares, post offices, bus stops and taxi stands.

Day Trip to Pantalica: Prehistoric Sicily
Students visit the historical Neolithic settlement of Pantalica and admire the breathtaking views of the cliff-side necropolis. After taking a step back in time, students will have the opportunity to cool off in the pristine lakes of the Anapo river nearby. After a swim, the day will end with a taste of traditional Sicilian delicacies in a local “agritourismo”.

Day Trip to Noto and Vendicari: Baroque Sicily
Students go on a guided tour of the Baroque town of Noto, UNESCO world heritage site for its architectural splendor, followed by a Sicilian wine tasting in a traditional Val di Noto cantine. The day continues with leisure time at the pristine beach of the Vendicari marine reserve, laying grounds of sea turtles and of other Mediterranean wildlife species. This is followed by bird watching to view one of the largest pink flamingo colonies in Europe. Students then visit the Spanish tuna farm and the ancient Roman summer estate Villa Tellaro, famous for its brilliant mosaics. The day ends with a sunset aperitif in the charming fisherman village of Marzamem.

Day Trip to Mount Etna: Mythological Sicily
This excursion takes students on a unique hike to the craters of Mt Etna, the tallest active volcano of continental Europe. Students visit the volcanic caves, led by an expert volcanologist, and learn about the mythology and traditional storytelling inspired by the volcano. Students then have leisure time to take in the narrow streets and majestic views that were the setting of the Godfather movie scenes and inspired the works of DH Lawrence, Oscar Wilde and many more.

Tandem Language Aperitif
Meet local students while enjoying an aperitif during Syracuse Academy’s weekly language exchange program.

Outdoor Cinema Nights
Students enjoy the beautiful Sicilian evenings as they gather on the school’s lawn for an outdoor movie.

Farewell Event
Before heading home students and staff share in a celebratory final meal to reflect and say goodbyes.

Standard Housing: Student apartment
SAI student apartments are convenient and well equipped, with shared occupancy bedrooms (option to upgrade to private bedroom, if available). Typical residences house 2 – 8 students and contain a combination of private and shared bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and living areas. Furnishings, a washing machine, basic kitchen supplies, bed linens and towels are provided. All apartments are equipped with wireless Internet. Housing assignments are single gender; other housing configurations may be available under limited circumstances.

Optional Housing: Family homestay (additional fee applies)
Students choosing the family homestay option are placed with a local family, which could be an older married couple or a family with children. Homestay families are typically within a short walking distance to the school. Homestay housing includes a private occupancy room and either weekday breakfast or weekday breakfast and dinner.

Passports should be valid for 3 months after planned departure from Italy.

Student Visas
In accordance with Italian law U.S. students studying in Italy for 90 days or less are not required to obtain a student visa. Therefore all U.S. students do not require a student visa for this program. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for information on student visa requirements.

About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.