Semester in Perugia
Umbra Institute

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Welcome to the good life in off-the-beaten-path Italy.

Live in Perugia, a youthful college town on a hill with deep cultural roots and walkable cobbled streets. Take classes at the Umbra Institute, whose distinctive programs allow you to dive deep into Italian culture and learn beyond the classroom. The small class sizes and close-knit community mean personalized attention in your classes (all in one building in the center of town), and you’ll be able to practice your Italian with local students. Level up in Italian by adding an internship to your semester!

What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Italian
  • Average Courseload: 4-5 classes (12-18 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.75


  • Umbra Institute is a locally-focused institution with a global perspective
  • Enjoy various excursions, from city tours to an overnight trip out of town
  • Perugia is a vibrant college town, host to world-class restaurants and a buzzing nightlife
  • Choose from a shared apartment in the city center or a homestay with a local Italian family
  • Add an internship to boost your resume

Program Details

Umbra Institute

The Umbra Institute is nestled between cafés, restaurants, museums, and art galleries in Perugia’s historical center. 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, and you’ll enjoy small class sizes in multimedia classrooms. Your professors are dedicated to helping you have the best experience possible while in Perugia.

The Umbra Institute is ranked No. 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.

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Business
  • Education
  • Natural & Applied Sciences

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Communications
  • Humanities
  • World Languages

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

General Studies Program

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.

Why Life in 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.

Live La Vida Local

  • 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!

Homestay in Perguia


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 enrollment coordinator know during your application process.

Note: This housing option has a supplemental fee, but offers an additional immersive experience!


If you decide to double-down on the cultural immersion side of your study abroad experience by staying with a homestay family, they will provide some awesome Italian meals.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • CommutePublic Transportation

General Studies & Italian Language/Culture Participants: Apartments in Perugia


You’ll live with up to four other Umbra students in shared apartments in Perugia’s historic center. You’ll love your new neighborhood, where you can get to know both the Italians and your fellow international students who live there! Sheets, blankets, and pillows will be provided for you. And some apartments also include a microwave, a full oven, a desk, a washing machine, and a television set.



Apartments have fully furnished kitchens with a fridge, stove, sink, pots, pans, cutlery, and dishes.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • Bathroom
  • Bed linens
  • Desk
  • Kitchen Equipment
  • Laundry
  • Microwave
  • Television
  • Wi-Fi

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing (apartment or flat)
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure 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)
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

Upon arrival, take part in both the university and CIS Abroad orientation programs. Learn the “do’s and don’ts” of living in Perugia from our on-site staff, like where to go out, how to stay safe, and where to shop. 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 & Re-Entry Program

At the end of the program, 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.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad 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.
Pompeii, Naples and Amalfi Coast

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.

Umbrian Lunch & Truffle Tasting

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.

EuroChocolate Festival

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)

Site Director

Travel Tip:

If while traveling there’s no internet, embrace it. Play a card game with someone in the hostel common room, read a book, lie on the beach, go for a walk, talk to a stranger, think about life. Some of my favourite travel memories are from times when I didn’t have an Internet connection.

Travel Tip:

If while traveling there’s no internet, embrace it. Play a card game with someone in the hostel common room, read a book, lie on the beach, go for a walk, talk to a stranger, think about life. Some of my favourite travel memories are from times when I didn’t have an Internet connection.


Romina is a native Roman with degrees in International Communications (2005) and International Relations (2007) at the University for Foreigners of Perugia. Shortly after graduating, she moved back to Rome and began her study abroad career working for IES. In Rome, she began pursing her M.A. in International Affairs at the SIOI. After completing an internship at the Italian Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, her career took a turn as 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 2008-09, Romina completed two missions in Afghanistan. In 2009, she began working for the Italian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which then led her to cover the same position at the Italian Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen. In Spring 2011, the Italian government ordered embassy staff to return home due to the uncertain situation of the Arab Spring. Ever since, Romina has enjoyed her return to the eternal city, and to her career in study abroad through CIS Abroad.

Your Support Staff

CIS Abroad Advising & Support
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Global Advising

Our advising team will help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Once you have selected your program our advisor will help you complete your Online Application.

Program Enrollment

Once you’ve started your application and submitted the $90 deposit, you’ll be assigned a program enrollment coordinator who will guide you through the enrollment process to get you abroad!

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Read more below for information related to this program:

Program Suspended

This program is currently not available for the Academic Year 2021/22. Please consider other options by exploring our Open Semester Programs in 2022, Open January Programs in 2022, or consider a Virtual Internship.

We monitor international indicators and health standards in the country where we operate and our risk management team makes decisions based on those factors and our own policy. We will reopen programs as we are able.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Dec 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 8 (Estimated)
  • Departure: April 30 (Estimated)
  • Price: $16,990 - $19,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: May 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: August 28 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 18 (Estimated)
  • Price: $16,990 - $19,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Dec 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 8 (Estimated)
  • Departure: April 30 (Estimated)
  • Price: $16,990 - $19,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: May 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: August 28 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 18 (Estimated)
  • Price: $16,990 - $19,890 (Estimated)
Additional Information:


Fall Terms:
Direct Enrollment University for Foreigners: $16,990, General Studies: $19,390, Roger Williams University Transcript Fee: $500
*There may be additional fees for specialized studies

Spring Terms: 
Direct Enrollment University for Foreigners: $16,990, General Studies: $19,890, Roger Williams University Transcript Fee: $500
*There may be additional fees for specialized studies


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

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