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SAI students enrolled in a semester at SIS can go from absolute beginner Italian speakers to advanced, all while taking language and subject coursework. During the first weeks of semester courses, lessons are conducted in a mix of English and Italian and students are given English language readings and supporting materials to ensure that the content is not compromised. As students’ linguistic competencies improve, more and more Italian is used and by the end, not only are lessons held in Italian, but also final papers are written in Italian. The semester program is a combination of 9 credits of language courses and 6 - 9 credits of electives.
Complete online application
Personal statement (300-500 words)
Academic letter of recommendation
Passport scan (photo page)
Italian privacy consent form
NOTE: Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, SAI has cancelled this on-site program. Please reach out to SAI Admissions to discuss your options.
September 6, 2020 – December 20, 2020
Academic Year: Freshman (1st year) or above
Cumulative GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)
* contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements
The special part of the course is devoted to the European integration, with a strong focus on economic and business developments. The European Union with almost 500 million citizens faces serious challenges in its role as a major player in the global economy. After a brief historical overview, students will be introduced to several core issues on European institutional asset, economic politics, and decision-making processes.
Over time, communities of Italian origin integrated themselves into the social fabric of the Americas until they became an essential and lively part, not only of the culture and economy, but also of the political realities of these countries. Numerous Italian immigrants became noteworthy figures in politics, such as members of parliament and presidents, while others distinguished themselves in the arts, sciences and professional sports of their new countries.
This course has the objective of reconstructing historic, socioeconomic, and political premises from which Italian emigration resulted in the Americas while identifying geographic areas of emigration and following the integration process of Italians in these areas. The course will have a bilateral approach: it will examine both the impact of Italian culture on the Americas and the influence that the American continent, with its millions of immigrants, has had and continues to have on Italian reality today.
The syllabus outlines the study of the historic events linked to the political, religious and social contexts of the ever-changing Italian reality without ignoring the essential European panorama in which Italy is located. Additionally, more specific themes will also be explored that will offer more cultural context to the historical chronology of facts. There will also be several excursions to relevant points of interest during the course.
The second part concentrates on the masterpieces of one of the great Italian directors, Luchino Visconti. After learning about the main characteristics of his work and comparing him to other important Italian directors like Fellini and Antonioni, we analyze, compare and contrast his most significant films. During the course, we will discuss themes relating to the planning and realization of films, including screenwriting, acting and cinematography. In addition, students may participate in seminars offered by Italian directors currently working in the film industry in Rome.
Students are asked to write two short papers during the course. Films are shown in Italian and accompanied by the instructor's explanations.
Service Learning & Volunteer
Students in all SIS programs perform service in the community through the IC partner Ulisse Cultural Association. This service can range from 1-5 hours a week, with opportunities in a variety of service sites. Students might set tables at the city soup kitchen, visit with the elderly at a nursing home, teach English to local elementary school children or volunteer on the city ambulance. Volunteering in the community is an important way to improve language skills, get involved in the local social fabric and make a genuine contribution to the host community. For more information on volunteering see SIS Service Learning & Volunteer.
Academic Year Program
Motivated students can enroll in back-to-back Fall and Spring terms to create a full Academic Year program. This combination program is offered at a big discount, and allows students ample time to be fully immersed in Siena and their language study. Students enrolled in the Academic Year program move out of SAI housing between terms, for independent travel. Students interested in this program should choose the Academic Year program at application.
Courses & Schedule
SIS courses run Monday – Friday. SAI students enroll in a 3 week intensive language course (3 credits) that takes place at the beginning of the semester. After the intensive language course students take one Italian Language course (6 credits) along with 2 or 3 elective courses for a total of 15 – 18 credits. A typical schedule includes Italian Language in the mornings Monday through Friday and elective courses in the afternoons three days a week.
Students complete their course registration during the SAI application process by selecting their primary course choices as well as required alternate courses. Course schedules are confirmed in Siena after students have been given an introduction to the courses and finalized which courses they will take.
|July 1 2020
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)
|June 1 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.
|June 1 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.
|July 1 2020
||Balance of Total Program Fee Due|
|July 1 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.
|August 1 2020
||SAI Pre-Departure Form Due|
|September 6 2020
||Arrival & Housing Check-in
Students arrive into Pisa International Airport Galileo Galilei (PSA). Students must arrive by 2:30pm for the group shuttle to Siena where students are transferred to family housing.
|September 7 – 8 2020
||SIS Academic Orientation
SIS holds several days of orientation activities and events including walking tours and group social events.
|September 8 2020
||Fall 3 Week Intensive Language Classes Begin|
|September 30 2020
||Regular Semester Courses Begin
These courses include semester language and electives.
||3 Day Group International Excursion to Brussels|
|October 31 – November 8 2020
||Fall Break (no class)
Students must vacate their host family’s home for this time period unless other arrangements are made directly with the family.
|December 15 – 18 2020
|December 20 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|
Refundable at the end of the term.
|Program Fee: Fall Semester
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI 360° Services (see What's Included).
|Optional / Additional Fees:|
|Add Spring to complete an Academic Year
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI 360° Services for Spring term. Must be added before enrollment confirmation to receive discounted rate.
|International Mailing Supplement
Students residing outside the U.S. 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 Pisa
|Books, Supplies & Course Fees
||$25 / course||$50 / course|
Majority of meals are included in cost.
|$100 / month||$150 / month|
|Personal Expenses||$250 / month||$350 / month|
|Transportation within Siena
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
|$100 / month||$150 / month|
Cost varies greatly by student.
|$300 / month||$1,000 / month|
This is an SAI 360° Services Program; it includes our full services!
Pre-departure and Re-entry services
SAI offers all students the Viva Experience: frequent cultural activities, at no extra cost, for participants 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.
Upon arrival, new students, host families and SIS faculty and staff unite at a welcome reception to kick off the semester.
Natural Hot Springs Spa
Students visit the San Giovanni Terme Spa in the town of Rapolano Terme and relax in the therapeutic waters. The spa features a series of large pools fed by the nearby natural springs and overlooks the rolling Tuscan hills.
International Excursion to Brussels
In order for students to get a better sense of Italy within the European Union, SAI students participate in a four-day trip to the diplomatic and organizational capital of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium. During the trip, students attend a guided tour of the European Parliament headquarters and visit museums as well as other EU organizations, NGOs, and cultural attractions. This all-inclusive trip is both fun and informative, and offers students time to explore the city and get to know another location.
Italian Weekend Excursion: Sulmona & the Apennine Mountains
Students have the opportunity to explore Italy off the beaten path for an unforgettable weekend. The excursion begins with a stop in Assisi for a visit to the stunning city center, before continuing on to Sulmona in Abruzzo. Students explore the city that is nestled in a valley surrounded by the regional and national parks of the Apennine mountains. The group joins a guided hike through the mountains and enjoys local delicacies. To complete the trip, students stop at Rocca Calascio, the highest fortress in the Apennines, and then in Spoleto before returning to Siena.
Hiking: Tuscan Coast
Students explore the breathtaking Tuscan coast by hiking to a secluded cove or relaxing on the dunes along the Mediterranean Sea. After beach time, the group heads to the breathtaking medieval town of Castiglione della Pescaia to explore and sample the best gelato around.
I Bottini: Siena’s Underground Aqueducts
Students tour the Bottini with a local guide, exploring a portion of the miles of galleries that run underneath the city of Siena. Carved during medieval times, the Bottini were used to gather Siena’s drinking water for centuries, feeding the many fountains scattered throughout the city.
Wine Tasting: Montalcino/Montepulciano
Students visit a winery, learn about the wine-making process, and enjoy various tastings.
Assisi and Perugia: Nestle’s Perugina Chocolate Factory
Students visit the city of Assisi, the home of St. Francis of Assisi. The group learns about his life and works and tours the famous Basilica di San Francesco. Following Assisi, students take a tour of the Perugina Chocolate Factory in Perugia that produces the delicious Baci (kiss) chocolates.
Day Trip to Florence
SIS Art History professor accompanies students on a day trip to Florence to visit the Uffizi Gallery and explore the city.
Typical Products: Cinta Senese Prosciutto & Pecorino Cheese Tastings
Students visit a nearby farm that raises the Cinta Senese – a local breed of pig unique to the Siena region that has survived since medieval times. After the farm, students take a tour of a pecorino cheese-making farm followed by an abundant tasting of a variety of cheeses and local meats.
Students dress up and attend an Italian opera performance in Florence or in Rome.
Tuscan Cooking Lessons
Students learn the art of Italian cooking in two complete, hands-on, Italian cooking lessons, including appetizers, main courses and dessert. Lessons conclude with a tasting of all that is prepared!
Visits to Tuscan Hilltowns
Students explore the Italian countryside, visiting one or more of the quaint towns tucked in the Tuscan hills, such as San Gimignano, Pienza, Montepulciano or Cortona.
Museum Visits in Siena
Students visit various museums in Siena as part of Italian class and other content courses. These include the Duomo, OPA Museum, the Museo Civico, the Santa Maria della Scala, as well as others.
After the exams are completed and final papers handed in, the students, faculty and staff share in a celebratory final meal to reflect upon the program experience and to say final goodbyes before departure.
Standard Housing: Family homestay
All participants are accommodated with local host families. Homestay accommodations include breakfast and dinner 7 days a week. Students are also provided with a meal plan for weekday lunches at a local restaurant near the school each day. Depending on the particular family placement students could be in a shared or private room. Homestays are an integral and indispensable part of all SIS programs, offering students the opportunity to make life-long friends, reinforce the language skills acquired during daily lessons and to experience modern Italian culture from “the inside.” SIS’s carefully selected families, whether a single mother, a young married couple with children or an elderly widow, are all experienced in hosting American students. The host families view this experience as a form of cultural exchange and are eager to share their version of Italian culture with program participants.
Passports should be valid for 3 months after planned departure from Italy.
In accordance with Italian law students studying in Italy for 91 days or more are required to obtain a student visa. Those with Italian/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for information on student visa requirements.
Students must appear in person at the Italian Consulate to present their student visa application. Our Student Visa Office is available to assist students in getting ready for the appointment; SAI provides student visa consulting for all our students at no cost.
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.