Siena Italian Studies
Maymester 3 weeks 2021
4 credits

SAI offers students the opportunity to study Italian language and culture in a condensed timeframe during a Maymester term. Students in the 3 week Maymester program can choose from three different 3 credit elective courses, each paired with a 1 credit Italian language course. Students choose from: International Business: Tuscan Agriculture and Craftsmanship (taught in English), Tuscan History through Art and Literature (taught in Italian), and A Green Renaissance: Sustainable Development in Siena and Tuscany (taught in English). Students live in family homestays and are able to have a truly authentic Italian experience while immersing themselves in a relevant course subject.

Application: now open
Closes: February 25, 2021
Apps accepted after closing as space permits

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


  • Volunteer in the community each week
  • Weekly cultural activities & events
  • Live with a host family

Program Dates
May 9, 2021 – May 30, 2021

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic Year: Freshman (1st year) or above

Cumulative GPA:* 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)

*contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Business Studies
Italian Language
Natural and Environmental Sciences
Tuscan History Program (in Italian)

Business Studies

3.0 Credits
Business | Course #: BU IB 420 | Open
Coming Soon
Contact Hours: 45

Italian Language

1.0 Credits
Italian Language | Course #: IT MA 150 | Open
Pre-requisite: 1 credit of Italian is mandatory for the Maymester
Introduction to Italian Language
Contact Hours: 15
1.0 Credits
Italian Language | Course #: IT MA 200 | Open
Pre-requisite: 1 credit of Italian is mandatory for the Maymester
Lower intermediate level of Italian language
Contact Hours: 15
1.0 Credits
Italian Language | Course #: IT MA 250 | Open
Pre-requisite: 1 credit of Italian is mandatory for the Maymester
Intermediate level of Italian language
Contact Hours: 15
1.0 Credits
Italian Language | Course #: IT MA 300 | Open
Pre-requisite: 1 credit of Italian is mandatory for the Maymester
Upper intermediate level of Italian language
Contact Hours: 15
1.0 Credits
Italian Language | Course #: IT MA 350 | Open
Pre-requisite: 1 credit of Italian is mandatory for the Maymester
Advanced level of Italian language
Contact Hours: 15

Natural and Environmental Sciences

3.0 Credits
Sustainability | Course #: SC GR 250 | Open
This course will analyze the main issues related to Sustainable
Development, based on the idea that no growth process can be considered authentically sustainable without considering the interactions between the evolution of the economic system and the evolution of the natural environment. Only after a careful analysis of traditional economic theory, of
ethical issues and of the contributions of ecology and thermodynamics, will it be possible to define the importance of safeguarding the stock of natural capital and the need for a transition from the traditional approach linked to the concept of growth to the new approach oriented towards
sustainable development. We will also briefly present the international debate, both in official institutions, such as the UN (with UN 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals) and the European Union, and in civil society. Everything will be seen in a positive light, thanks also to the
presentation of the case studies of Siena and Tuscany, taken as a feasible and exportable example of a virtuous relationship between community and territory. In this analysis we will try to clearly highlight the three economic functions of the environment: that of a supplier of resources, that of a
receiver of waste and that of a direct source of utility. An important sustainability indicator, the Ecological Footprint, will also be presented with the aim of measuring the sustainability of our
economy on the basis of the study of the impacts it causes on the environment. The course will be completed by excursions, service-learning activities, visits and meetings with important local
organizations that will present us with studies, projects and good practices present in our territory.
Contact Hours: 45

Tuscan History Program (in Italian)

3.0 Credits
Tuscan History through Art and Literature | Course #: TS AL 1C | Open
Pre-requisite: Intermediate Italian or higher
The course will explore the most important literary, artistic and cultural themes in the Medieval and early Renaissance period. Students will analyze the origin of the Italian language, born in Tuscany, together with the origin of Italian literature; they will learn how important the role of this region was to build a common sense of culture in Italy. Through the poems and the texts of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, Tuscany gave Italy the possibility to create a great and unrepeatable
golden age from a political, social and cultural point of view. The course also focuses on the study of the most important works of art in Tuscany: we will analyze the works of Duccio di Boninsegna, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini and Giotto (from the Medieval Period) and of Masaccio, Masolino, Piero della Francesca, Donatello, Brunelleschi (early
Renaissance). We will also study the structure of a typical medieval and Renaissance city (such as Siena, Firenze and Arezzo) from an artistic and architectural point of view. Classes will have a theoretical introduction and will be complemented by a number of excursions
to relevant points of interest (museums, special buildings, etc). Students will analyze literary works bringing, if possible, some personal contributions to class discussions.

Instructed in Italian
Contact Hours: 45

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 per 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.

Courses & Schedule
SIS courses run Monday – Friday. A typical schedule includes Italian Language in the mornings Monday through Friday and elective courses in the afternoons three days a week.

Course Registration
Students complete their course registration during the SAI application process by selecting their requested courses. Course schedules are confirmed in Siena after students have been given an introduction to the courses and finalized which courses they will take.

Pre-Departure Calendar
February 25 2021
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 2021
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 10 2021
Balance of Total Program Fee Due
March 10 2021
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.

On-site Calendar
May 9 2021
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.
May 10 2021
SIS Academic Orientation
SIS holds several days of orientation activities and events including walking tours and group social events.
Coming Soon
Classes Begin
Coming Soon
Classes End
May 30 2021
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 $120
Security Deposit
Refundable at the end of the term.
Program Fee
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI 360° Services (see What's Included).
Optional / Additional Fees:  
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 Pisa
$900 $1,800
Books, Supplies & Course Fees
Course fees are sometimes imposed to cover field trips.
$25 / course $50 / course
Host family supplies all meals except eating out.
Included $100 / month
Personal Expenses $250 / month $350 / month
Transportation within Siena
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$100 / month $150 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI 360° 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
  • SAI Viva Experience: frequent cultural activities and day trips
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • Access to and assistance with international cell phone plans
  • 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 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.

Welcome Reception
Upon arrival, new students, host families and SIS faculty and staff unite at a welcome reception to kick off the program.

Overnight Excursion: Tuscan Coast
The group travels to the Tuscan coast for an overnight excursion. The weekend includes relaxing on the beach, exploring the medieval town of Castiglione della Pescaia and the town of Massa Marittima.

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.

Wine Tasting
Students visit a winery, learn about the wine-making process, and enjoy various tastings.

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.

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.

Farewell Dinner
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 3 meals a day 7 days a week. 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.

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.