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Students are offered the opportunity to spend their May in Sicily at Syracuse Academy. A meeting point of ancient civilizations and lively cities and coastline, the city of Syracuse is a great location for students to explore and learn. Syracuse is a treasure trove for adventurous souls, nature lovers, and anyone who enjoys immersing themselves in authentic, local culture. Maymester students can take courses in marine biology and environmental science, health and nutrition, immigration studies, and even volcanology! Syracuse offers a unique opportunity to study volcanology in Sicily including field trips to sites including the Sicily's active volcano - Mt. Etna.

What's Included?



Pre Departure Services


@api Online System

Orientation Materials and Resources

Access to International Phone Plans

API Alumni Network

Social Networking


On Site Services

Airport Reception

On-Site Orientation


Resident Director


Medical and Life Insurance

Social and Cultural Activities

Welcome and Farewell Group Meals

Housing (two meals per day and laundry with host family)

Re-Entry Services

Re-Entry Materials and Support

Post-Program Evaluation


Alumni Network and Global Leadership Academy

View all opportunities and amenities

Application Requirements

  • Minimum 2.5 G.P.A.
  • Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • Completed API application
  • University Approval Form
  • One letter of recommendation (with supplemental statements as needed)
  • One official transcript
  • Entry requirements: valid passport
Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Maymester May 8, 2020 - May 30, 2020 $3,700 Feb 1, 2020 Feb 15, 2020 Feb 15, 2020

API students participate in several excursions per session designed to help familiarize them with areas of their host city, country, and surrounding region. The following is a listing of all excursions for API Syracuse programs. All excursions are subject to change.

  • Noto, Baroque City, Vendicari, and Marin Reserve

    Just south of Syracuse, on the coast, lies one of the least inhabited areas of Italy, where sprawling beaches, nature reserves, pristine canyon lakes, and… wine country, dominate the landscape. The Greeks and Romans, because of its fertility, thought this area to be an “El Dorado” of sorts, in fact they called it Eloro meaning place of gold. We will venture there to discover what has been treasured for millennia, and spend time in the prized central Baroque town of Noto, along the beaches and in the countryside. Fun activities include a wine tasting, beach time, and watching one of the oldest European pink flamingo colonies!

  • Mt. Etna and Surrounding Towns

    Join us for an adventure to the largest volcano in Europe. We will see the volcano with expert volcanologists who will explain, first hand, both the history/mythology that has been carved into the Mediterranean World, and the scientific phenomenon we see today. This may be the closest thing one can experience to being on the moon, including the best views of Sicily and the surrounding Sea.

What You’ll Study

The Syracuse Academy is an international school specialized in study abroad programs for college students in Sicily, with a focus on Mediterranean Studies, both ancient and contemporary. With over 30 years experience as an educational center, Syracuse Academy offers the ideal environment for hands on field studies: it is located in the city center of Syracuse, next to the world famous archaeological park and museum.

Staff & Coordinators

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    Lauren Daniels

    Lauren Daniels will be your Program Manager for this location and will prepare you to go abroad with us!

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    Daniele Sirna

    Daniele Sirna will be your Resident Director and a resource for you on-site.


TOTAL CREDITS - 4 semester credits

All classes contain strong fieldwork components, exploiting our surroundings as a natural teaching resource. All courses are taught by a committed and respected faculty of international specialists who have experience teaching in Europe or the United States.

Maymester students will select one course from the following options. All courses are taught in English. Syllabi are available upon request.

Volcanology of Sicily: Mt. Etna Revealed

This course explores the many aspects of volcanism on Earth, from the formation of magma below or within the crust to its eruption at the surface, focusing on the volcanism of Mt. Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world and a perfect natural laboratory thanks to its peculiar characteristics. The different types of eruptive styles of volcanoes will be briefly described and explained within their geological and tectonic contexts, with several case studies. Specific attention will be devoted to the impact of volcanic eruptions on human activities and life, unveiling the close interplay between man and volcanoes around the world and throughout history. The classes will then be introduced to modern volcano monitoring techniques, with a particular focus on geochemical methods.

The course will be largely devoted to the volcanism of Sicily and in particular of Mt. Etna, describing its history, types of eruptions, eruptive products and the long-term beneficial effects of its activity on human life. Close reading of specific sources will be combined with visits to relevant sites on Mt. Etna and surrounding areas, to provide a comprehensive overview on volcanism in Sicily.

Curricular field trips include: INGV Monitoring Center, Volcanological Observatory and Museum, Mt. Etna "Silvestri Craters" and lava tubes, Mt. Etna "Valley of the Ox."

Recommended US semester credits: 4  

Mediterranean Diet: Tradition, Innovation and Nutrition

This interdisciplinary course will focus on food and culture, and particularly on how lifestyle affects psychophysical performances and human health. Students will learn the basics of human metabolism and the main features of the Mediterranean diet. Scientific information aims to explain why the Mediterranean diet is better adapted to the needs of the human body. In addition, this course will provide students with the chance of exploring the region and getting to know the local people by cooking and eating with them. Curricular field trips include: Agriturismo organic farm, DOC Winery and DOP olive oil producers, and the Ortygia traditional street market.

Recommended US semester credits: 4  

Marine Biology Field Course: Mediterranean Biodiversity

This course provides a comprehensive investigation of the rich and diverse biota, of the past geological events, of the variety of climatic and hydrologic conditions that make the Mediterranean Sea, amongst the most complex marine a ecosystems on the planet, situated at the crossroads of different biogeographic regions, inhabited by a rich and diverse flora and fauna, currently imperiled by different pressures, mainly induced by human activities. Students will engage in comparative field studies through experiential learning during field trips, which will complement the classroom teaching and will be carried out in distinct coastal and marine environments in Eastern Sicily and Malta.

Curricular field trips include: Plemmirio Consortium Research Center, Plemmirio Marine Reserve protected areas, Vendicari Marine reserve and old Spanish tuna farm.

Recommended US semester credits: 4  

API students in Syracuse will live in shared apartments or with a local host family. Internet access is included in both options.

Students who choose to live with host families will have a private bedroom and be provided with 2 meals per day and laundry service.

Students who would prefer apartment-style living would enjoy API’s shared, fully furnished flats in the center of town. Students will be in shared bedrooms with 4-8 students per flat with shared living areas and kitchens. The apartments are located in the center of town and is offered on a "space-available" basis and single rooms may be requested (for an additional fee).

All housing is centrally located within an easy walk or tram commute to class.