API offers four wonderful opportunities to study abroad in Italy and learn about and absorb the Italian culture and way of life (Florence, Rome, Taormina, and Tuscania). All programs are for undergraduate students. Classes are comprised of other foreign and American students. Semester, summer, and year terms are available for all programs, and a January intersession program is available in Florence. Students typically receive 12-18 credits for a semester; 3-6 credits for a summer session. Most classes are taught in English, though many are taught in Italian. Italian language and intensive Italian programs are taught at all levels, from beginning to advanced.
Italy is one of Europe’s most complex and alluring destinations. A modern, industrialized nation, with an artistic and architectural legacy that few other countries can rival, it’s also a Mediterranean country with a southern European sensibility, where traditional attitudes still prevail. Thriving small businesses contribute to strong regional identities, helping Italy avoid some of the bland effects of globalization. In towns and villages all over the country, life grinds to a halt in the middle of the day for a long lunch. Italy continues to be very family-oriented and puts emphasis on keeping strong family ties.
If there is a single national characteristic, it’s to embrace life to the full: in the hundreds of local festivals taking place across the country on any given day, to celebrate a saint or the local harvest; in the importance placed on good food; in the obsession with clothes and image; and above all in the daily domestic ritual of the collective evening stroll or passeggiata – a sociable affair celebrated by young and old alike in every town and village across the country.
Italy only became a unified state in 1861, and, as a result, Italians often feel more loyalty to their region than to the nation as a whole – something manifest in different cuisines, dialects, landscape and often varying standards of living. There is also, of course, the country’s enormous cultural legacy: Tuscany alone has more classified historical monuments than any country in the world; there are considerable remnants of the Roman Empire all over the country, notably of course in Rome itself; and every region retains its own relics of an artistic tradition generally acknowledged to be among the world’s richest.