Program Overview

Explore a part of Italy that’s off the beaten path! You’ll live in Perugia, a youthful college town on a hill with deep cultural roots and walkable cobbled streets and take classes at the Umbra Institute, whose distinctive programs allow you to immerse yourself in Italian culture and learn both in and beyond the classroom. The small class sizes and close-knit community mean you’ll get personalized attention in your classes (all in one building in the center of town) and you’ll also be able to practice your Italian with local students. Level up in Italian by adding an internship to your semester!

GPA Requirement
Application Deadlines
Spring: October 1
Fall: May 15
Avg Course Load
4-5 classes (12-18 credits)
Language(s) of Instruction
English and Italian
  • A sustainable and community-focused Institution
  • One-day and one-weekend excursions
  • World-class restaurants and buzzing nightlife
  • Host of one of Europe's largest chocolate festivals
  • Local trips to explore art and culture
  • Homestay option with a local Italian family
Your Journey Begins Here
  • Connect with your Global Advisor to start planning. Apply by the application deadline.

  • Meet your Program Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, payments, etc. Attend a pre-departure orientation.

  • Fly away. You'll be greeted at the airport, participate in a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.



The Umbra Institute is nestled between cafés, restaurants, museums, and art galleries in Perugia’s historical center. You’ll enjoy small class sizes in multimedia classrooms. Studying at the Institute is convenient—the building houses a library, computer labs, art studios, and a student lounge. The diverse faculty and staff are well connected within the community. Your professors are dedicated to helping you have the best experience possible while in Perugia.

The Umbra Institute is ranked #1 for mid-sized universities in Italy, according to Censis, Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali, a socio-economic research institute. The Institute runs in coordination with Arcadia University, an AACSB-accredited university. Students will receive an Umbra Institute grade report, or they may request a transcript from the Umbra Institute school of record, Roger Williams University, for an additional fee.

Accreditation(s): Our Semester in Perugia program is located at the Umbra Institute, whose school of record is Roger Williams University, which is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

How to Choose Your Courses

Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page. Once you’ve decided which courses you want to take, fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.

Course Approval

Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.

GPA Requirement

If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.

Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet.

Course Information

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.

See here for all current course offerings at the Umbra Institute.

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

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.

Life in Perugia

Welcome and Orientation

Upon arrival you’ll take part in both the university and CISabroad orientation program. You’ll learn the “do’s and don’ts” of living in Perugia. Where to go out, how to stay safe, where to shop are just a few of questions that will be answered by our staff. They’ll also give you tips on how to blend in like a local. After the welcome orientation, there will be a fabulous welcome dinner at one of our favorite spots in town, featuring local seasonal products (anyone like truffles?) and local dishes.

Farewell and Re-entry Program

At the end of the program we will all get together for one last epic meal and talk about your adventures and experiences. Our staff will also share some precious tips on going back home feeling like a champ! Your study abroad experience is something to be cherished and shared with your family and friends back home.

Housing Options

Shared Apartments 
You’ll live with up to four other Umbra students in shared apartments in Perugia’s historic center.


  • Wifi
  • A fully furnished kitchen with a fridge, stove, sink, pots, pans, cutlery, and dishes
  • Bathroom
  • Sheets, blankets, and pillows included
  • 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 homestay option is available upon special request. Your homestay might be located further from campus than the apartments and there are a limited number of families who participate. If you’re interested, please let your program coordinator know during your application process. Please also note that this housing option has a supplement fee.

Perugia Skyline

Local Life

  • Soccer games: Get a taste of the Italian soccer culture at one of Perugia’s games! It’s a great way to also meet other locals and also other study abroad students. Don’t forget to wear the local team jerseys!
  • Local restaurants: Don’t feel like cooking or simply want to try some local specialties? Venture out to the local tiny restaurants for amazing gastronomical experiences! Don’t forget to ask our staff for recommendations!
  • Medieval towns: With just a short train ride or bus ride, you can reach many of the tiny Medieval towns close to Perugia. Some of them participate in an annual contest for the most beautifully decorated town in Italy.
  • Lake Trasimeno: Spend a day or an afternoon at Lake Trasimeno, a beautiful lake near Perugia boasting islands reachable by ferry. Hike the lake’s islands, admire the beautiful Umbrian hills and all that nature has to offer. Interesting fact: even though the lake is the largest one in Central Italy, it’s shallow: only about eighteen feet deep!
  • Farmer’s market: Get to know the local farmers, practice your Italian and stay healthy by eating fresh, seasonal products!

More About Perugia

What's not to love about Perugia? You'll get all the perks of a big university town nestled in a quaint Italian city. From the hilltop overlooking Perugia, you'll see ancient walls, medieval churches, Renaissance architecture, and Baroque palaces. In addition to the old-world charm, Perugia thrives as a modern city with jazz cafés, museums, art exhibits, and more.

You’ll never tire of this enchanting city, which has numerous festivals throughout the year. Mark your calendars for: The Eurochocolate Festival (October); the Umbria Jazz Festival (July); the International Journalism Festival (April); and, the Festival dei Due Mondi (June and July) in nearby Spoleto.

Discover the best of Italy while living in Perugia. As a local, you can zip to the ancient town of Spello or take a ferry ride to the islands of Lake Trasimeno. Stay in town to attend a soccer match or people-watch in front of the Fontana Maggiore. Nestled in the cobblestone corridors, you'll find many artisan shops selling truffles, chocolates, and other hand-crafted treasures from the hills of Umbria. When you're feeling adventurous, traveling from central Italy by train is a breeze. Rome, Florence, Siena, Assisi, and Cortona are only a short distance away.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.

CISabroad Study Abroad Semester Program pompeii naples almafi coast italy excursion

Pompeii, Naples and Amalfi Coast

To get the full experience of the famous buried city of Pompeii, take a guided tour of the ruins. From there, head to the dramatic and stunningly beautiful Amalfi Coast, which looks over the Mediterranean Sea from its rocky shores. Included is a ferry ride for a day trip to the stunning island of Capri. Finally, shop in local stores and dine at famous pizzerias in Naples.

CISabroad Study Abroad Semester Program in italy umbria truffle and lunch trasting

Umbrian Lunch & Truffle Tasting:

Enjoy a traditional meal at one of the most popular local taverns. The meal is inspired by truffles, a decadent and rare mushroom that only grows in a few parts of the world. Truffles are one of the most expensive food items, and you can try them paired with local produce, cheese, wines, and meats.

CISabroad Study Abroad Semester Program italy eurochocolate festival excursion

EuroChocolate Festival

This festival is as delicous as it sounds. You’ll taste incredible handmade chocolates and chocolate drinks, and you’ll attend chocolate workshops to learn the art of making this decadent treat from some of the most famous manufacturers around the world. (Fall Only)

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team

Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Molly Bond
Senior Program Coordinator - Italy & South America

Travel Tip: The first chance I have in a new place, I like to either rent a bicycle or go running to get a better feel for my surroundings. Not only does this feel refreshing after time spent on the road or in the air, but it also gives you a great orientation to your destination.

Learn more about Molly

Alessandro Bruno
Site Director in Florence

Travel Tip: Never forget to pack an open mind, a lot of patience, a couple of snacks from home to cure homesickness and last but not least…serenity. Once in town, LOOK UP when walking around. Take a different route to class everyday. Live, love and accept your destination!

Learn more about Alessandro

Student Feedback

Thanks to the resources and advising that CISabroad provided me, I was able to have a healthy transition into my abroad experience and make the most of my semester. CISabroad also gave me the opportunity to interact with locals, immerse myself into my host country’s food culture, and explore other beautiful regions of Italy beyond my study abroad site.

Taylor Chelo, Semester in Perugia, Quinnipiac University

Program Fees & Dates

Advisor Tip: Please do not book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Fall 2019
    Application Deadline
    May 15
    August 23
    August 24 - 25
    Classes Start
    August 26
    Classes End
    December 5; Exams: December 6 - 13
    December 14
    $16,690 - $19,590
  • Spring 2020
    Application Deadline
    October 1
    January 3 (Estimated)
    April 26 (Estimated)
    $15,640 - $18,790 (Estimated)

CISabroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.

Program Inclusions

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing (apartment or flat)
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Predeparture orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Umbra Institute orientation
  • Local Excursions, and one overnight excursion
  • On-site support
  • Umbra Institute Transcript (Roger Williams University transcripts available upon request – extra fees apply)
  • NYTimes Digital Subscription
  • La Vida Local cultural program