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Spend your summer studying abroad in Italy

Students in Pacific’s Summer Italy Immersion program pose in front of the Colosseum in Rome.

If you’ve always wanted to study abroad or visit Italy, University of the Pacific provides the perfect opportunity. Pacific’s Summer Italy Immersion program allows participants to earn college credit while studying abroad in the beautiful city of Assisi. Students can fulfill both GE and COP language requirements and earn two semesters of Italian in either Intensive Beginning Italian or Intermediate Italian Conversation.

The immersion program is the perfect way to make the most of your summer break by exploring a new country, creating lifelong friendships, immersing yourself in unique cultures and getting ahead in your studies. Here’s what you need to know and how to sign up. 

Learn from one of the most prestigious language academies in Italy

Classes are taught by native speakers at Accademia Lingua Italiana Assisi, one of the most prestigious learning academies in all of Italy. Their courses have been under the patronage of the Regional Council of Umbria and Council of Assisi since 2000, and they were recognized by the Ministry of Education in 2002. Diction lessons are taught by an Italian actor. Other activities include a cooking demo by a top chef, fresco restoration and art history lessons and an immersive music history experience with a professor from the Conservatory of Music in Perugia. 

Most students enter the program with no prior knowledge of Italian but learn more than they anticipate in such a short period of time.

Here is what Giulianne Pate said in 2017: “I wanted to connect with my Italian heritage and to correspond more easily with my extended family who live in Italy. Participating in this immersive program allowed me to do just that and provided me with a unique opportunity that I will treasure and never forget.”

Classes run regularly from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, and an afternoon session from 2 to 4 p.m. is added during the final two weeks.

Plenty of free time to explore Italy

The program begins with a guided walking tour of Rome. There is a weekend trip to Florence and a daytrip to Perugia. You’ll roam around Italy like a local and visit picturesque sites like the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica.  

“Seeing architecture that survived from ancient Rome and the Roman Empire that still stands within the more modern city was even more impressive,” Giulianne said. “The Pantheon, Colosseum and Verona Arena, to name a few, were some of my favorites.”

The other two weekends are free for students to explore and travel around Italy. Some students choose to take a train to explore other cities like Venice, Naples or Verona. Others choose local travel, exploring the nearby villages, waterfalls and hiking trails. If students travel in a group, they are free to go wherever their heart desires within Italy.

Create lifelong friendships

In six weeks, students develop lasting friendships with their fellow Pacific students.

“We did everything together, including traveling to other Italian cities, grabbing five-euro pizzas from the pizzeria next door, spending late nights talking on the terrace and walking up what seemed like millions of steps to class every day,” Guilianne said. 

Many of these friendships have continued over the years and students are still in touch with each other today.

Feel safe and secure abroad in the hands of experienced directors

One of the advantages of the program is that students travel with a faculty member. Students can fly out of San Francisco with the faculty leader or choose to meet the group in Rome and travel together to Assisi. 

Professor Susan Giraldez of the Modern Languages and Literature took over as program director in 2014. Having studied abroad herself, Professor Giraldez understands how intimidating it can be and emphasizes that having a faculty director there helps alleviate a lot of anxiety.

“There’s a layer of security when you travel with a faculty member,” she said. “If you are homesick or catch a cold, I am there to help you. We are living together, studying together, traveling together and enjoying all kinds of adventures together. For me, the best part of the program is getting to know students in a much deeper way than is possible in a classroom setting.”

Pacific started the Summer Italian Immersion program in 2008 but this summer will be their first-time taking students to Assisi since the pandemic. The program leaders are very experienced, and they hold two orientations to help prepare students for what to expect when they go abroad.

An affordable adventure

For the same price you would pay for summer classes, you can earn college credit and adventure across Italy with Pacific’s Summer Italy Immersion Program. Pacific’s summer 2023 courses cost $990 per unit, making the total cost for 8 units: $7920. The Summer Italian Immersion program offers 8 units of academic credit plus housing, tours and hotels for $5275. Adding airfare, meals and personal expenses, the summer in Italy adds up to about $8100. It’s easy to see that you are getting a great deal for this incredible experience. 

How to apply

Pacific’s Summer Italy Immersion Program is open to incoming students, current students, alumni, community members and even non-Pacific students. The only requirement is that you must be 18 or older at the time of the trip. 

Here are some important dates:

  • Feb. 1, 2024: Application is due with a $500 deposit. Students can apply now on Pacific’s Education Abroad Application Portal. Please disregard dates on the portal as changes have been made. If students pay their amount in full and submit their application on or before Feb. 1, they receive a $100 discount ($5175).
  • Feb. 7, 2024: Participants will receive confirmation of their enrollment in the program if a minimum of 10 participants have enrolled. The program leaders will schedule the first orientation ASAP to coordinate flights and travel plans. Participants should not make flight reservations until they receive program confirmation.
  • March/April 2024: Final pre-departure orientation.

If you are interested, Professor Giraldez advises that you start planning and budgeting for the trip now. She also recommends reaching out to her directly at sgiralde@pacific.edu to set up a Zoom or in-person meeting to learn more information about the trip. 

You can also learn more about Pacific’s Summer Italian Immersion program on its website.


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