Semester in Perugia

Program Spotlight A custom study abroad experience in Italy’s college town! World-class academics, warm weather, incredible cuisine, and a young, vibrant atmosphere in the heart of a cosmopolitan city.

Semester in Perugia is housed at the Umbra Institute. Founded in 1999 as a center for higher education, the Umbra Institute offers academic programs for students of U.S. colleges and universities. Nestled between colorful cafes, restaurants, museums, and art galleries in the historical center, the Umbra Institute houses a library, computer facilities, art studios, student lounge, and multimedia classrooms. The diverse Umbra faculty and friendly staff strive to incorporate a genuine Italian experience into all elements of both the academic curriculum and student life.

On Semester in Perugia, you will take part in many exciting excursions, cultural events, social dinners, and cultural workshops. These, combined with the courses you take at the Umbra Institute, will give you a truly comprehensive picture of Italian life. To help you acclimate to your new surroundings, each semester begins with a three-day orientation starting with airport pick-up, hotel accommodations for the first night, a welcome dinner, and private shuttles to your apartments. The orientation also includes sessions on academics, living in Perugia, Community Engagement opportunities, health and safety, Italian placement exams, cell phone rentals, and practical walking tours. You will also take part in Intensive Italian Week to learn useful everyday terms, phrases, and Italian customs. 

The city of Perugia has plenty of entertainment options. Enjoy the evening ritual of la passeggiata--a leisurely stroll through the center of town--or meet up with friends for gelato. There are also language tandem opportunities for you to meet and converse with Italian students to better enhance your language skills. There are also many options for community engagement catered to your interests. If you want to meet Italians and become part of the local culture, Perugia is the destination for you

Community Engagement

Beyond the unique location, community engagement is the guiding philosophy behind all Umbra academic programs. Thanks to the small size of the city, students are able to experience firsthand a real integration into Italian culture and the way of life by combining challenging academic learning with an authentic interaction in the local community. Each semester, Umbra students discover that giving back to the host community is one of the most rewarding outcomes of their time abroad. The real and visible impact of these efforts includes intercultural exchange, language acquisition, and new friendships. Students may choose from academic internships and service learning projects to volunteering, Co-Ops, and more.

You will be living with up to four other Umbra students in shared apartments in Perugia’s historic center. All of the apartments are equipped with Wi-Fi, a fully furnished kitchen with a fridge, stove, sink, pots, pans, cutlery, and dishes, a bathroom, sheets, blankets, and pillows. Some apartments also include a microwave, a full oven, a desk, a washing machine, and a television set. You’ll love your new neighborhood, where you can get to know both the Italians and your fellow international students who live there!

A home-stay option is available upon special request. Your home-stay might be further from campus than the apartments and there are a limited amount of families who participate so if you are interested, please let your program coordinator know during your application process. Please also note that this housing option has a supplement fee.

CISabroad’s Site Director in Italy:

Romina is a native Roman, who graduated with a degree in International Communications at the University for Foreigners of Perugia in 2005. In the same year, she returned to Rome where she started working for IES. In the following two years she decided to study International Relations and enrolled in the MA in International Affairs at the SIOI school in Rome. In 2007 Romina graduated in International Relations at the same University of Perugia and after completing the MA she undertook an internship at the Italian Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome. At the beginning of 2008, after completing the internship, Romina was offered a position to work as a Communication and Public Information Officer within the civilian component of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Herat for the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Between 2008 and 2009 she accomplished two missions in Afghanistan. In 2009 she started working for the Italian Development Cooperation Office at the Italian Embassy in Beirut. In Lebanon she worked as a Communication and Public Information Officer and she was also in charge of the joint projects which were later carried out together with the Italian troops within the United Nations mission in Southern Lebanon. In the summer of 2010 Romina left Lebanon to work in Yemen, where she held the same office within the Italian Development Cooperation Department of Sana’s. In the spring of 2011, due to the serious and uncertain situation in Yemen, all the Italian Embassy staff was ordered to leave the country for security reasons. Because of the consequences of the Arab Spring in all Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, and in Northern Africa, Romina has decided to work in Rome and enjoy with her friends and family the beauty of the Eternal City.

Romina will be present in Italy and available to students for activities, emergencies, issues or concerns around your program, or just if you’re feeling out of place and need some support. All students will be formally introduced to her prior to the start of the program and she will maintain contact with you throughout the program, to ensure that everything is going well.

1. What is the cost of program tuition? What is included in the cost of tuition?

The program cost for Semester in Perugia can be found on the Price and Dates page. You can also see a full breakdown of the program prices and budget here

2. When is program tuition due?

CISabroad will email invoices to students approximately one month before the program payment deadline. For example, if your payment deadline is July 15, you should expect your invoice in mid-June. If you are using financial aid, please ensure all financial aid paperwork is returned to our office by the payment deadline. If your financial aid does not cover your entire balance, CISabroad accepts these payment methods.

3. What is due with my application and when is my application due?

There are four easy steps in the Application process.

a. Fill out the online application, which includes your contact information, what program you are applying for, etc.

b. Pay the $200 application deposit in order to secure your space in the program. This amount will be applied toward the final cost.

c. Submit: Academic Reference Form, Course Selection Worksheet, Personal Statement, Applicant Profile, and Scholarship Application (Optional).

d. Mail in your official Transcript to our office.

For detailed instructions, see application instructions. The application due date for Semester in Perugia can be found here.

4. Do I need a passport or visa? When should I apply for my passport/visa?

For almost all CISabroad programs, you WILL need a passport. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site. For Semester in Perugia, you WILL need a visa. For specific visa details, please contact your CISabroad advisor.

5. Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes! For Semester in Perugia, the GPA requirement is 2.75.

6. What are my housing options?

Semester in Perugia offers housing in shared apartments and in a home-stay, upon special request. The apartments are within walking distance of the campus and you may choose either a single bedroom or multi-bedroom. Your home-stay might be further from campus than the apartments and there are a limited amount of families who participate so if you are interested, please let your program coordinator know during your application process.

7. Will other students participate in the program with me? How many?

CISabroad programs are not only a great way to meet local and international students, but also students from around the United States. Program size varies each year - if enrollment size is important to you, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

8. How many credits are offered in the program?

For Semester in Perugia, you will enroll in 4-5 classes (12-18 U.S. credits). To see the courses available, go to the course catalog.

9. Can I combine this program with another CISabroad program like intern, summer, or semester abroad?

Yes! A great way to extend your CISabroad experience is participating in another program. Combine semester programs to create a full academic year or if an academic year is just a little too long and a semester is too short, combine a semester and summer session or a semester and January term program. You can also participate in a semester abroad and combine that with a summer intern abroad. To find out more information on the application process for more than one CISabroad program, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

Did you know that 70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships or grants to study or intern abroad? You can get a grant for something as simple as applying early, or a scholarship for blogging. 

For details on all scholarship and grant offerings and to apply, please click here.

Perugia offers the chance to live in a lively college town, while still getting to experience all of Italy’s rich history. Over 40,000 of the city’s 160,000 residents are college students, so you will always be able to find something going on. The Umbra Institute’s community partnerships make it easy to get to know the city.

An ancient hilltop town that has preserved its medieval and Renaissance character, Perugia is located in the heartland of Italy, halfway between Rome and Florence. This authentic and intimate town exudes regional pride. Countless artistic masterpieces adorn many of its buildings, including remarkable frescoes and paintings by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Guercino, Caravaggio, and Raphael. The city's Etruscan walls, medieval churches, and Renaissance and Baroque palaces are enduring reminders of its splendid past.

Your semester in Perugia will combine a charming old world setting with all the amenities of a modern city. You’ll be able to find endless cafés, restaurants, art exhibitions, concerts, and more to keep you entertained, along with all of the historical treasures that Perugia offers!

Semester in Perugia is housed at the Umbra Institute, which offers courses in a wide variety of subjects, including Archaeology, Art History and Studio Art, Classical Studies, Creative Writing, Economics, Education, European Studies, Film and Media, Food Studies, History, International Business and Marketing, Italian Language and Literature,  Political Science, Psychology, Religion and Philosophy, Sociology, Sustainability, Women's Studies, and more.

All instruction is in English except the Italian language courses and the Direct Enrollment university courses. Please click here to begin choosing your courses!

GPA Required: 2.75. If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement, use the "Contact An Advisor" button on this page or call us to let us know your situation. We will help find the right program for you.

General Studies Program

Now for the fun part: choosing your courses! As part of the application process, you will be required to complete the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet found in the CISabroad Application Page. The following instructions will guide you through the steps of choosing your courses.

The General Studies program has two components: Italian language and culture courses and an array of elective courses taught in English. All students are required to take an Italian language course. When choosing the appropriate Italian language course, indicate the level that best corresponds to their proficiency level, from beginner to advanced. During orientation, all students with one semester or more of Italian language will take a placement exam to determine their appropriate level.

Within the General Studies Program, you may also choose to study in the Food Studies Program, the Honors Program, or conduct independent research.

Course load: 4-5 classes (12-18 credits including the Italian course).

Course approval: Before you go abroad, it is best to get 7-8 classes approved for your semester program. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, and that fulfill your elective requirements.

Please note: You will not receive your Umbra course registration until you arrive in Italy. You will have a two-week period to add or drop classes and will be informed if any of your courses will be unavailable for any reason. 

Course materials: The majority of courses will require you to use a textbook or a "reader," which is a packet of information compiled by the professor. Textbooks will be available for purchase at the Umbra Institute or local bookstores; readers will be supplied by the first day of class at an additional cost.

Food Studies Program

The Food Studies Program, a concentration within the General Studies program, applies an interdisciplinary approach to the study of food--history, sociology, cultural studies, business practices, literature, politics, science, agriculture, and sustainability--to discover how the individual, the community, and society relate to food in Italy, America, and elsewhere.  

Honors Program

The Umbra Honors program welcomes students with a desire to combine high academic standards, extensive study in the subject area, community engagement, and additional contact with instructors. Honors students further enhance their learning beyond the classroom by living with international or Italian students.

Honors students conduct original research in an area of their choice, working one-on-one with a faculty advisor. The research culminates into a traditional research paper or a creative project, approved by the faculty advisor. Prior to departure, students may also select a home institution faculty member who would approve the particular research topic and correspond with the student throughout the semester. 

To qualify for the Honors Program, students must present a cumulative GPA of 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) and a letter of reference from an instructor at their current home school.  

Independent Research

The Independent Research option is designed to provide students with the opportunity to complete a significant research assignment in a topic of their choice as one component of their study abroad experience. Many colleges and universities require undergraduates to culminate their studies in a research paper or senior thesis. With this option, students can engage in independent research, using the experience as a platform for their thesis project at their home institution.

To qualify for the Independent Research option, students must present a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) and a letter of reference from an instructor at their current home school.  

Direct Enrollment

Students in the Direct Enrollment will experience the Italian university as a local at the University for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri) or the University of Perugia (Università degli Studi di Perugia). The Università per Stranieri is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of Italian language instruction in Italy, while the Università di Perugia is one of the oldest universities in the world. Students accepted into the Direct Enrollment Program should exhibit exceptional maturity, responsibility, openness, and a fervent interest in a challenging academic environment.

The same Umbra services (orientation, safety, cultural activities, and more) are available to Direct Enrollment students throughout the semester. Students in this program will live in shared apartments with other Italian or international students to help with language acquisition. The program calendar differs slightly from the other Umbra program options. There is no traditional fall or spring break for Direct Enrollment students, but they will enjoy holidays listed in the Italian academic calednar; please contact your program coordinator for details.

University for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri)

The Direct Enrollment Program at the University for Foreigners offers the unique opportunity for students of all levels of language proficiency to focus exclusively on Italian language and culture. You will enroll at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia for a semester-long program, studying alongside with students from all over the world who share the goal to become fluent in Italian. Students will take a placement exam during orientation to determine the sequence of courses they will take at the Università per Stranieri. Students will study Italian exclusively, or enroll in courses covering various topics in Italian language, literature, art, history, and culture at the advanced levels. The program yields 16 semester credits and includes approximately 27 hours per week at the university coupled with weekly recitation classes with Umbra instructors. The instructors' role is to guide, assist, and assess students through their learning experience at the local university. They set weekly assignments and assess students' final grades in the program.

University of Perugia (Università degli studi di Perugia)

This Direct Enrollment option offers students the unique opportunity to gain a truly immersive experience in Italian culture and in the European style of education. All students will begin the semester enrolled in an intensive Italian language course at the prestigious Università per Stranieri for one month prior to starting their two elective courses at the Università degli Studi di Perugia. This month is dedicated to improving language skills and introducing students to the European university setting. Italian language tutorials will be held weekly led by Umbra professors at the Umbra Institute. Fall students will attend the five-credit Language Review Program in September and spring students will attend in January.

Students will enroll in courses taught in the humanities division of the University for one semester or a full year.  Students should have a minimum of four semesters of Italian language courses and have achieved a B+ or higher proficiency in Italian based on the Common European Framework to apply.

Our Semester in Perugia program offers great academics in a beautiful city! It's the perfect way to study abroad in Italy. Here are some of the program highlights that you can enjoy:

  • Living in Italy’s college town
  • Taking part in community engagement activities
  • Incredible scenery
  • Challenging course options, including Honors and independent research courses
  • One of the biggest jazz festivals in Europe
  • Delicious desserts- world-famous chocolate and gelato
  • Great restaurants and nightlife
  • Beautiful art
  • One day and one weekend excursion

While you’re participating in the Semester in Perugia program with CISabroad, you will have the option to go on a weekend trip at no extra cost. These trips are subject to change from semester to semester, but in the past students have done:

Weekend in Pompeii, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast

To get the full experience of the famous buried city of Pompeii, you can go on a guided tour of the ruins that will give you an incredible look at its history. Then, you will head to the dramatic and shockingly beautiful Amalfi Coast, which looks down on the Mediterranean Sea from its rocky shores. Included is a ferry ride for a day trip to the stunning island of Capri. Finally, you can enjoy shopping and eating at famous pizzerias in Naples. 

Also included in the program is a one-day trip to a nearby quaint Umbrian town, where you can relax and enjoy the nice change of pace in a small Italian village. Lunch in town with the group is included.

Another attraction is the world's largest EuroChocolate festical, which is located right in Perugia. The site director will take CISabroad students to the festival, where you can taste incredible chocolates and chocolate drinks. You can also attend chocolate workshops, where you will learn the art of chocolate making from some of the most famous chocolate manufacturers around the world!

If you'll be with us in the fall, then you can look forward to trying your hand at olive and grape picking while they are in season.

On Semester in Perugia, we let you design the study abroad experience you want. You will have the chance to take an array of classes in four distinct academic arenas- study Italian abroad while you're there! And you’ll learn both in and out of the classroom in the vibrant city of Perugia.  

We offer the most affordable study abroad option in Perugia.  We care about delivering high-quality study abroad programs that won’t break your piggy bank. After all, you need some money left over for traveling, shopping, chocolate, and gelato if you're going to study abroad in Italy!

We have the knowledge, experience, and information you need. At CISabroad, all our advisors have studied or lived abroad, so we can help you get the most of your experience.  We love Italy, and we can’t wait to give you academic advice, travel ideas, and detailed information. 

Umbra Institute in Perugia offers a variety of courses in the fall, spring, and summer. In addition, you’ll also be able to go on field trips, participate in community engagement opportunities, and join extra- curricular activities that let you experience Italy outside of a classroom when you study abroad in Perugia!

Perugia is a beautiful location to study abroad in. Its scenic hilltop location overlooks some of Italy’s most incredible landscapes, and it is also rich in art, architecture, and history. Perugia is conveniently located near Tuscany, Umbria, Rome, Florence, Siena, Assisi, and Cortona, if you want to explore other regions of Italy.

Enjoy living in a college town- A quarter of Perugia’s 160,000 residents are college students, making it a fun and youthful place to live. There are countless restaurants, jazz cafés, cinemas, museums, and theaters to check out.

Community Engagement- Get involved with a variety of opportunities through Umbra Institute, including academic internships, community-based psychology research, service learning projects, volunteering, and more.

Plenty of art and culture- Perugia is home to the famous Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, the Etruscan Arch, and many historical churches and buildings.

Student activities- Along with all of the events and activities available through Umbra Institute, CISabroad offers social dinners, excursions, and cultural activities. Make sure to catch a game of one of Perugia’s sporting events!