SIS Intercultural Study Abroad
Maymester 3 weeks 2023
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 two different 3-credit elective courses (taught in English and Italian), each paired with a 1 credit Italian language course. 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 28, 2023
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 14, 2023 – June 3, 2023

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

Humanities & Social Sciences
Italian Language
Natural and Environmental Sciences

Humanities & Social Sciences

3.0 Credits
Italian History | Course #: HS EI 300 | Open
Pre-requisite: Taught in English
The phenomenon of Italian emigration, one of the most numerically significant in the history of world migrations with a number of Italian descendants outside of Italy equal to the number of Italian citizens in Italy today, represented for much time one of the forgotten chapters of Italian history. After World War II and during the period of the economic boom of the 1950s, Italy certainly didn’t want to remember the suffering of all those that had abandoned Italy and endured the difficulties that this entailed in order to improve their lives. But between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s Italy witnessed a radical transformation: the country, whose emigrant population could very well represent emblematically the migrant population of the last two centuries, transformed it from a country of emigration to a country of immigration. Italy is no longer a country from which droves had to flee but, on the contrary, a country that attracted migrants coming from many geographic areas: North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America. In this historic moment Italy finally grasped, in its collective consciousness, that which is meant by emigration. When Italy became a popular destination for migrants, a desire was awoken in Italians to remember whom they were as a people, attempting to understand the paths and journeys of many Italians throughout the world, to observe the suffering endured and the difficulties faced in the adaptation to new worlds and also the resulting successes. “The invasion” of our space finally gave relevance to the theme of emigration, putting it front and center, showing the infinite number facets that we needed and that we need today in order to open the door to integration, or at least render us conscious of the fact that integration is possible.
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

The course represents a journey through the main dietary habits of Tuscany analyzed through the basic principles of biochemistry and physiology. The nutritional and metabolic characteristics of the “Mediterranean diet” will be illustrated. The benefits and limitations of this popular diet will be analyzed through the most recent scientific discoveries. A large part of the course will be dedicated to the use of natural substances and to the discussion of the therapeutic power of some traditional remedies used in Italy. Specific attention will be paid to plant derived drugs and their pharmacologically active compounds. The program will be complemented by excursions to relevant points of interest in Siena: Natural Science Museum of the Accademia dei Fisiocritici and the Botanical Garden of Siena.
Contact Hours: 45

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: 1 elective (3 credits) and 1 Italian language course (1 credit). Course schedules are confirmed in Siena after students have been given an introduction to the courses.

Are you interested in seeing more of Italy? Consider a SAI combination program SCOPE B: Siena & Florence

Pre-Departure Calendar
February 28 2023
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 13 2023
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 15 2023
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 2023
Balance of Total Program Fee Due

On-site Calendar
May 14 2023
Arrival & Housing Check-in
Students arrive into Florence Peretola airport  (FLR). Students must arrive by 2:30pm for the group shuttle to Siena where students are transferred to family housing.
Coming soon
SIS Academic Orientation
SIS holds several days of orientation activities and events including walking tours and group social events.
Coming soon
Classes Begin
June 2 2023
Classes End
June 3 2023
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 Florence
$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 a 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 fostering a welcoming community for all students by providing assistance to diverse needs
  • SAI Viva Experience: frequent cultural activities & trips outside host city
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • 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.

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
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 or a married couple with children 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.