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Bologna Summer Immersion

June 6-July 10, 2009 *

Bologna, Italy

*Please note these dates are subject to change depending on flight availability.

Program Overview

The Bologna Summer Immersion Program is a five-week language intensive course that combines formal classroom study with direct experience with Italian culture and language. Exclusive use of Italian during the program is expected of all students.

The Setting

Bologna, located in Northern Italy at the crossroads between Florence, Venice, and Milan, is known for its 900-year-old university that still enjoys a world-wide reputation. The university and other historic buildings are situated inside the medieval city walls, within walking distance of the Dickinson program center, the K. Robert Nilsson Center for European Studies. Although Bologna is rich in historic and artistic monuments, it remains outside the heavily-visited tourist areas and allows students to experience Italian culture more authentically. Bologna and the region of Emilia-Romagna are also famed for their delicious cuisine and the friendliness and hospitality of the people


Participants may choose between the following course options taught at the K. Robert Nilsson Center for European Studies in Bologna.  Students who successfully complete the program will earn one course credit (the equivalent of four semester hours).  Program participants are required to abide by a language pledge for the duration of the program.  Students will receive a letter grade for the course.

ITAL 116: Intermediate Italian

Prerequisite: Students must be in good academic standing and have successfully completed at least two semesters of college-level Italian

(ITAL-104 at Dickinson). 

This course is designed to refine students’ communication skills, and further their knowledge of Italian culture in a full immersion experience.  The focus on communication will allow students to use their  Italian in a variety of situations including guided activities, spontaneous conversations, and debates. Students will be expected to use only Italian in the classroom.  Successful completion of this course fulfills the Dickinson language requirement.

A typical day consists of the following activities: Classes will be held Monday through Friday, in which students will first spend time with the professor, and then work with a graduate assistant , a native Italian speaker, on cultural and conversational activities. 

ITAL 220: Italian Immersion

Prerequisite: Students must be in good academic standing and have successfully completed at least three semesters of college-level Italian

(ITAL-116 at Dickinson).

This course is designed to refine students’ knowledge of the Italian language and culture in a full immersion experience.  This course is equivalent to either Italian 231 or Italian 232 , thus fulfilling requirements for majors or minors in Italian and International Business and Management.  Students speak only Italian while participating in intensive language instruction and other activities planned by the professor.

A typical day consists of the following activities: Classes will be held Monday through Friday mornings. In the first part of class, students will read and analyze articles from major Italian newspapers and magazines pertinent to a specific area of interest.  The professor selects the topics based on the textbook that students are using.  In this session, the graduate assistant, a native Italian speaker, guides the students in their readings and discussions.  Among possible subjects are: art, fashion, politics, sport, films, theatre, or current events deserving special attention and critique.  In the second part of class, students further develop their reading and speaking skills, as well as attentively work on their writing and listening abilities.

Students will also be able to research a specific subject of interest with the professor’s advice and cooperation.  Students will commit themselves to intensive reading and site exploration related to their research.


Italian Independent Study

Prerequisite: Students must be in good academic standing and have successfully completed at least four semesters of college level Italian

(ITAL231 or ITAL 232 at Dickinson).

An Italian Independent Study is intended for more advanced students of Italian. This is an opportunity to engage in an independent study on a specific cultural topic previously discussed with the instructor.

During weekday afternoons, all students will take part in excursions to galleries, museums or other locations not too far from Bologna.  After each visit, students are expected to write comments and personal reactions.

Program Activities

The program includes all-day group field trips to different sites in Italy that take place during the weekend.  Students will travel to Ravenna, Firenze, and Mantova.  A weekend visit to Venezia is also included in the program.


Students live in Dickinson leased apartments that are located in various locations throughout Bologna.  Students will live with Italian students in these apartments and will have meals with Italian families a few times a week.  Interaction with the Italian students and families is an effective way to gain a better understanding of Italian home life and to improve Italian language skills.


On-Site Administration

Assistant Professor Paola Bonifazio of the French and Italian Department will be the program director in Bolgona for the summer of 2009.  She will be assisted by the current staff of the K. Robert Nilsson Center for European Studies and also by an Italian graduate assistant who will help with course instruction.

Program Cost

The estimated comprehensive fee will be approximately $5300. The program fee will cover tuition, room, some meals with an Italian family, a meal stipend for other meals, and scheduled program excursions.  Not included in the program fee are primary medical and accident insurance purchased in the U.S., travel costs to/from Bologna, visa costs if necessary, and all other incidental expenses. 

For more information, contact

Assistant Professor Paola Bonifazio

Department of French and Italian, Dickinson College

Tel: 717-245-1728


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