The Italian Program at UW-Madison strongly recommends study abroad because full immersion in Italian language and culture is one of the best ways to develop your proficiency while discovering first-hand Italy’s history, literature, art, architecture and film. Combining your on-campus course offerings with a study abroad program in Italy will make the study of Italian a constantly evolving and enriching experience.
Studying Italian language and culture not only provides access to the rich intellectual and cultural heritage, but as the fourth most-studied foreign language in the world, it also opens exciting professional and business opportunities. Italy is the third largest economy in the European Union. As a global competitor, an estimated 7,000 US companies do business in Italy, while more than 1,000 have offices in Italy (Cisco, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, Mars, Tetra Pak, PepsiCo, City Bank, Fedex, S.C. Johnson, Kraft, Unilever, McDonalds, Kellog, and many more). In Wisconsin, there are roughly 30 Italian companies currently doing business.
As an Italian major, you can study abroad at any point in your college career, but there are some important factors to consider depending where you are in your degree plan. The following is additional information to help in your planning and conversations with an Italian advisor.
Prospective Italian Major or Certificate Students
The more complex your academic plan is, the more important advance planning will be to accommodate for a study abroad experience. It’s never too early to start planning your study abroad. Students planning to pursue the Italian major or Certificate should consult the major requirements or Certificate requirements when planning for their study abroad. You are strongly advised to communicate with an Italian Undergraduate Advisor to discuss your academic plan and the best study abroad plans for you. The Italian Advisor can help you get a complete idea of options available to you and how to plan accordingly.
Requirements for study abroad programs in Italy vary depending on the program. Attend the Study Abroad Fair or visit the Program Search on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website to get an idea of what programs are available to you. Schedule a meeting with advisors at IAP to learn more about your study abroad program options.
Italian Course Considerations Abroad
In selecting your program and courses, you’ll need to pay attention to the content of the courses so that you know what will count toward the Italian major or Italian Certificate requirements. The UW Italian department decides Italian course equivalents based on content. For example, a course on physics taught in Italian, would receive physics credit, not Italian credit. The fact that a course is taught in Italian does not imply that it will receive Italian department credit.
In order to receive Italian credits, the content of the course may include the following subjects:
- Literature; culture; history; film; civilization; history of Italian language, etc.
- The course also needs to be taught in Italian and all coursework (assignments, readings, exams) needs to be done in Italian.
Language courses, such as those concentrating on perfecting the use of Italian language through grammar, speaking, writing, reading, phonetics, etc., are determined according to the level of the course (elementary, intermediate, advanced).
The number of credits is determined according to the number of contact hours. Usually, 15 hours of in-class contact time corresponds to one UW-Madison credit.
Italian Certificate Students
Up to six study abroad credits can be applied towards your Italian Certificate. However, since there is a wide variety of courses offered abroad, you must confer with the Italian Undergraduate Advisor before you leave in order to ensure that courses you plan to take will apply to the Certificate. For more information on the Italian Certificate, consult the Certificate website.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as an Italian Major or Italian Certificate Student
As an Italian Major or Certificate student, you can study abroad from First Year to Senior Year. Some programs require intermediate Italian proficiency, while others do not require Italian language proficiency at all. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with program requirements in order to plan for your ideal study abroad experience. As soon as you have some program ideas, contact the Italian advisor. If you are also majoring in another discipline, you will ultimately want to find the fit that works well for all of your degree programs by consulting with your academic advisors
Ideally, you will begin or continue with the language sequence during your first year, starting with the course appropriate to your placement. There are study abroad programs for freshmen, if interested.
Depending on placement, you might already have the language level needed for most Italian study abroad programs by the end of your freshman year and go abroad this year.
Many Italian majors and certificate students study abroad at some point during their junior year.
Study abroad is still an option during your final year, and it is possible to graduate abroad as an Italian major. In this case, check in advance with your academic advisor/s to make sure you have fulfilled all requirements for all your degree programs.
Questions to Ask
Your Academic Advisor
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Do I need to be on UW-Madison’s campus for any courses in my major or certificate?
- How many electives do I have outside of my major or certificate?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
The UW Italian Department designates the following as Italian language study abroad programs that meet the department’s philosophy for Italian language learners. Each program will offer a different experience in terms of the courses offered, academic style, duration of study (academic year, semester, or summer), type of housing, student body population, and location. Each program offers Italian language instruction.
Italy, Bologna: Bologna Consortial Studies Program
This academic year or semester program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses taught in Italian at the prestigious University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe. A range of courses are available across the entire university, including arts, business, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and Italian advanced language. You are integrated into Italian university life and live with other Italian and international students in a local apartment.
Italy, Florence: UW in Florence
This spring semester program offers courses taught in English across arts, business, humanities, and social sciences at the CET Florence Center, a program designed solely for U.S. university students. This program is suited for students who are at the elementary and intermediate Italian language levels. You are required to take an Italian language course at the 101-204 level while on the program. A UW-Madison professor also accompanies the group teaching courses to enhance the experience on the program.
Italy, Perugia: Arcadia Intensive Italian Language & Culture
This summer program is for students at any level of Italian interested in furthering their language skills by taking elementary, intermediate and/or advanced Italian language courses. As an intensive language program, you will make two-semester’s worth of language advancement over the course of 6 weeks. Perugia is a small university town and a prime location to refine your language skills.
Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer Italian courses. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.