• Italy
    • Perugia
Academic Year, Fall, Spring

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level


Starting Price
Price Details
See website for details. Scholarships available!
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Transportation Visa
Aug 25, 2021
Feb 19, 2017
6 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The hilltop city of Perugia, located halfway between Rome and Florence, is a quintessential university town, offering scenic art and architecture and historical resonance at every turn. With Etruscan walls, cobblestoned streets, and medieval churches surrounding you, you’ll find yourself in a contemporary, bustling place with visible traces of the past.

ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute, located on Perugia’s main piazza, adjacent to the duomo, is the only year-round independent American institute based in Perugia. The Institute maximizes the resources of its surroundings, by infusing community engagement and experiential learning into all of its programming.

As a student at ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute, you’ll take courses which connect you to the surrounding community and foster a genuine Italian experience, whether you choose subjects with field-study components, an internship, volunteering, or a service learning opportunity.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Arcadia excursions enhance cultural immersion and provide meaningful context
  • ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute’s carefully designed curriculum offers a variety of options, from direct enrollment in local partner universities, to a focus on field research, an honors track, or a general studies option
  • You may take courses in either English or Italian, depending on your level of proficiency
  • The hilltop city of Perugia, located halfway between Rome and Florence, is a quintessential university town
  • Genuine Italian experiences with community engagement and experiential learning

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Program Reviews

9.44 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 88.89%
  • 7-8 rating 11.11%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 6.7
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 9 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Dreaming of Italy

I absolutely loved every part of studying abroad in Perugia. It was amazing to get to live in a very real part of Italy where tourists were few and far between and you could get to know your local shop owner. I wish I could be back there now eating at my favorite restaurants and having an afternoon gelato. The city of Perugia is absolutely beautiful and filled with so much history, I loved walking around in the afternoon and exploring all it had to offer.
My classes at the Umbra Institute were also incredible. I learned so much about Italian history and culture, wine, sustainability and even felt comfortable speaking Italian before I left.
I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants an authentic Italian experience and is passionate about food. I wish I were there now!

10 people found this review helpful.
Response from Arcadia Abroad

We are thrilled to hear you had a lovely time in Italy.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Charming City, Delicious Food, Some Downsides

The best part of Umbra's program in Perugia is the city itself. It's beautiful, charming and historical but isn't dangerous like bigger Italian cities can be. By the end of my four months, I was recognizing different people on the streets. The program itself is great, with one of the highlights being the weekly, hour-long tandems to improve our Italian and also make friends. One of the downsides washow late some of the cultural immersion programs startes and a lack of clarity about the language levels that were offered. Overall, I loved my time here and all the opportunities to connect with the community that Umbra offered.

What would you improve about this program?
IHonestly, the program was great but
I definitely wish there had been more preparing of food in my History of Food and Culture class.
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Wish I could go back....

Ever since I heard that studying abroad was an option I had my heart set on Italy. It didn’t really matter where exactly in Italy, just as long as I was there. When I first met with my advisor we went over the different programs and I began looking at pictures of the town I had chosen. I had no idea at the time how much that city would come to mean to me. I studied in a small town called Perugia, which is located between Florence and Rome in the region of Umbria which borders Tuscany. Little did I know, this would turn out to be the perfect city to call home for a semester. We all quickly fell in love with this town because of its small size and large student population, both local and international. My friends and I quickly adapted to the Italian lifestyle and met for a cup of coffee every morning before class and would attempt to use our broken Italian as we built relationships with the locals. The first class every morning was our Italian class, then we would all meet for lunch on the steps of the center of town. After lunch we attended our other classes, which all had an aspect of community involvement. Luckily we only had class Monday through Thursday which left us a long weekend to explore. Some weekends we would stay in town and walk around and really get to know the city we were living in. Other weekends we would take the train and visit other cities. I got to visit Venice for Carnival; I saw Florence in spring and stopped in Bologna for a daytrip. In addition we got to see the Amalfi coast and swim and cliff dive in Capri. I visited the Vatican while we were exploring Rome and explored countless cities during my semester abroad. Living in Italy was an unforgettable and life changing experience which not only broadened my worldview but also deepened my love of cultures and languages.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the length. I wish the semester had been longer.
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Every morning, I would wake up to a beautiful view and there was always ongoing action. Perugia is a beautiful and quaint city that is perfect for college students to immerse themselves in the culture and feel safe at any time.

6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Independent in Umbria

The program at the Umbra Institute is great for adventures students because it give you the tools you need to be independent in Italy. Arriving in a country with no contacts, not speaking the language, and not being familiar with the customs is unnerving, even for someone who is excited to be abroad. The Umbra Institute struck the perfect balance of providing a comprehensive support system when students needed it, but allowing students to make decisions about their abroad experience for themselves. It's a program that allows you to really feel that you're living on your own in another country, and creates a sense of community and family around the school. The educational experiences that the Umbra Institute gives you outside of the classroom are also great for becoming familiar with Italian culture and learning in nontraditional ways. The program stresses being involved with the community and locals, as well as fellow American students, which makes for an amazing experience abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
After classes ended, the departure was very abrupt. It would be nice to have a few days in the apartments after classes ended to properly say goodbye to everyone you've met after the stress of finals is over.
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Quintessential Italy

I chose this program because I wanted to really experience Italy and be as little of a foreigner as possible. I cannot say enough good things about Arcadia, Umbra, & Perugia. It was truly the experience of a lifetime.This program was outstanding and I would not change a second of my time in Perugia. It is a wonderful little town. The people are friendly and always thrilled to hear you try and speak Italian. Arcadia did a special welcome program at a slow foods farm where we all learned how to make pasta! The day Arcadia planned at the farm was a lot of fun and a great way to get to know others in the program (other programs just do a dinner so this was something special!).
Umbra really did their best to submerge you into the Italian culture. With tandem nights throughout the semester we were able to meet with local Italians and help them with their english and in return they helped us with our Italian. Going to Perugia without knowing any Italian other than Ciao, these nights were extremely helpful & lots of fun!! Umbra's classes also had lots of embedded field trips which were fabulous. My favorite was going to Parma to see parmesan reggiano cheese be made.
One of the amazing things about Perugia, that you would not get from a big city experience, was that you really did get to know the locals. Perugia is a vibrant town filled with wonderful people, food, and festivals. I could not have chosen a better place to study abroad and have missed Italy everyday since returning.

7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime experience!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Perugia, Italy. Umbra Institute definitely prepared me for my semester in Italy, as well as for future experiences. To start the semester, every student participants in an intensive Italian language course, which allows students to learn Italian and apply it within the community by interviewing people in the piazza or making Italian desserts by following directions solely in Italian. After this week, all students take an Italian course which provides a lot of practice and out of class experiences as well. The other courses are all very interesting and most of them consist of field trips in Perugia and also different parts of Italy as well. I took two of the three courses in the Food Studies Program--learning all about Italian food, culture and sustainability while attending many taste tests, having real Italian meals and even going truffle hunting (not for chocolate, for actual truffles--mushrooms!). This program was absolutely incredible and allowed me to see different parts of the food system in general, as well as specific parts of the Italian food system. With this program, I toured the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory, the Parma Prosciutto factory, and visited Dario Cecchini's meat store. All of these field trips gave me outside experience to further understand the material in class--exposing me to experiences I probably would not have in the United States. Although not located very close to major cities (2 hours by train from Rome and Florence), Perugia is located in the rolling hills of Umbria and surrounded by many historical and beautiful towns in this area. All of these towns are necessary to spend time in because each are unique and valuable to this area! All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Perugia and at the Umbra Institute; I learned a lot and the staff members were very nice and helpful to all of the students!

8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

More Authentic Italian Experience

Well, I am back in Charleston and occupied with nursing school, trying to fall back into my regular routine which has drastically changed since my return from Perugia. I have realized how much Perugia has helped me prepare for what is to come. Being home, I see how being so immersed into the Italian culture has made me more open-minded and will help with all aspects in life. Given the limited amount of Italian I was able to speak I found myself in a place in which I had to learn how to communicate with people in different ways. This brought me the opportunity to practice, learn and hone in on my communication skills. Studying to be a nurse I found that being able to communicate to all types of people is a skill that not only is needed, but also is necessary. Italy and my time in Perugia brought me this new ability.

My most memorable experience is when my parents came to visit me in Perugia. I brought my life, all things familiar, and who I was from America over to Italy. Perugia was my home now, and because of that, it was now my turn to lead. I was able to show them the place that I now called home, the place that even years after leaving the walls of Perugia will continue to be my home. I was able to show my family the people, the places, and the adventures that I found myself surrounded by every day. This time reminded me of my first days that I spent in Perugia, when I was overwhelmed. But while navigating the busy streets, and showing my family the places that have become all too familiar to me, that is when I realized Perugia had become my home.

Your months studying abroad will go by in a blink of an eye, so take advantage of every moment you have. Walk around the city, meet the people, try to communicate, and eat the food, and most importantly, speak Italian! The best part of my experience was making friends with people from all over the world, not just Americans. This will not only make you a well-rounded and interesting person, but it will change who you are forever.

Having visited friends who studies all over Italy, Perugia was unequivocally the best choice...and they all envied my "dolce vita" in Umbria wishing they had chosen Perugia as well.

What would you improve about this program?
In Italian housing the heat is limited so that was not the best but we got used to it. If you choose a homestay be prepared to have an open mind and live with others string and good points...be prepared so there are no surprises.
8 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers