• Italy
    • Perugia
Academic Year, Fall, J-Term, Maymester, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Anthropology Archaeology Art History Arts Business Creative Writing Economics Education English European Studies Film Food Science and Nutrition History Humanities International Business Literature Marketing Museum Studies Psychology Service Learning Sociology Sustainable Development Women's Studies +13

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Apartment Host Family


Price Details
Umbra is a very affordable option for your study abroad, and life cost in Perugia is too.
Visit tuition page here: http://www.umbra.org/prospective-students/tuition-fees/
Oct 16, 2018
Dec 22, 2023
5 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience the real Italy while studying abroad in Perugia for a semester, the whole year, or a summer. Get U.S. university credits for a wide variety of exciting courses (in English) that will change your perspective on life and give you hands-on experience.

Some of the available tracks:

- General Studies Program (usually 14-18 credits): courses offered in a wide variety of subjects with a strong emphasis on community engagement.
- Food Studies Program: an interdisciplinary curricular concentration with courses on Italian food culture, sustainability, and the business of wine.
- Direct Enrollment at the Università per Stranieri (16 credits): for students of all levels of Italian to focus exclusively on Italian
language and culture.
- Direct Enrollment at the Università degli Studi di Perugia (usually 14-18 credits): courses (in Italian) in a variety of subjects including the Humanities, Politics, Science, and Engineering departments.

Program Reviews

4.89 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • 5 rating 88.89%
  • 4 rating 11.11%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 3.9
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.7
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 9 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

My study abroad experience

My experience at The Umbra Institute was beyond my expectations. I met amazing people that I hope to maintain contact with in the future and lived unique experiences. In terms of academics and general logistics at Umbra they were very attentive and special with all students and always looked to hear our feedback to improve in years to come. I was part of the Food, Sustainability and Environment program where we learned to much and during all the classes and field trips we lived unmatched experiences. The professors and staff are very passionate about their students and their field of work so learning from them was even more special. I was also a part of a social media work study and it truly enriched my experience. I was working alongside a wonderful staff and was happy to share my experience to help and encourage others to choose this awesome program. Perugia is a small and enchanting city that shows a real part of Italy where tourism isn’t overwhelming like it is in Rome, but you are still a train or bus away from the big cities and airport. There were many challenges along the way but I wouldn’t choose any other study abroad program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Save up money before going abroad because I felt some limitations when wanting to get to know other countries and places but not having the resources to do so. Also plan travels ahead of time and beware of strikes that happen every month that can prevent some transportation to happen.
  • Small city
  • Amazing food
  • Great staff
  • Difficult transportation
  • A lot of walking
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer Program 2023

I have now taken part in the Umbra summer program two years in a row and it never fails to disappoint. Everyone is lovely, caring, and the school creates the perfect blend of education and fun. As a languages student in England, it is difficult to achieve the required immersion for properly learning a language but at Umbra is was easy. All the professors were patient and understanding and mistakes were celebrated - sbagliando si impara! I would recommend this school to anyone looking to grasp a greater knowledge of either Italian culture or it’s language.

  • Great people
  • Lovely city
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

School in a Progressive, yet Ancient Italian College Town

The Umbra Institute sits in the center of Perugia - a town that existed prior to the Roman Empire (it's more than 2,000 years old). However, this town is the capitol of the region of Umbria - so despite it's authentic ancient appearance, it has all the modernities that a city would have including an Italian University of 25,000 students. Perugia being a capital, its infrastructure has to move into the 21st century, but it has done so while retaining its history and culture and at the same time is cost-friendly to the college student, due to the majority of the daily money-spending population being college age. The town of Assisi just across the valley, a highly visited tourist site, draws all the western tourists. Leaving Perugia for the most part very Italian in local composition as well as in tourism. Then there's the Umbra Institute which draws somewhere around 100 english speaking students from America. Those 100 students are pretty much the only english speakers in town, which made it great for someone like me who went to Italy to learn the language and engage in their culture.

I lived in an Italian home with a family and could speak days and write maybe a book about it. There were great challenges to living in a homestay that improved not only my language competency and pronunciation, but really opened me up to the Italian culture as well as in the future, new cultures. I became less egocentric - a term used in political science to describe those who think how their country does things is the best. I learned about how Italians do family, how they serve the community, how they practice faith, how they engage in politics, how they fold bedsheets - just, everything! Just imagine life, but everything is written and spoken in Italian. And lest I forget the homemade food!

I was very surprised by how challenging the Umbra Institute's courses were. I just didn't expect to actually be academically challenged I guess. Then again, I took probably some of their more difficult courses, including one where with our three-student class we read Italian literature and discussed it and wrote reflections and at the end wrote a short story - 100% in Italian. T'was quite the challenge. But at the end of the course, I was glad I took it. I was exposed to words and sentence structures and nuances of the language I would have never seen if I had just taken the required language course. Fear not - if one is looking for a less intense academic experience, there are all kinds of courses for that.

The staff are too fun. Easily approachable. All very intelligent and at least when I was there, they truly cared about the students' experiences. I doubt that has changed much!

And lastly the volunteer opportunities abound; I think this is probably the most unique part of being at the Umbra Institute. A friend of mine taught english at a local grade school to some third graders. There's an online blog - if one is journalistically inclined. I personally worked with resettled refugees at a local aid organization. I made photographs for their website and wrote and personally taught english and Italian. Along the way, I made friendships with people from literally all over the world (the mid-east, Pakistan, Afghanistan, all over Africa, and even a few South Americans). That was certainly the highlight of my time there, maybe after living with the Italian family. Living with Rosy and Orfeo Ambrosi was just an unparalleled experience, rich in quality living. But I digress.

Congratulations at getting to the end of my comments! Feel free to reach out, I really would love to talk anytime even if you're SLIGHTLY interested in Umbra. Or just interested in living with a family. No matter where you go, LIVE WITH A FAMILY.

Email me at ethan.fichtner@gmail.com.

What would you improve about this program?
I have no idea. They're pretty on top of improving their stuff.
66 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Discovery in a Medieval city.

There is so much to love about Perugia and the Umbrian region--the natural and ancient beauty being so memorable. I especially enjoyed walking the narrow streets of the city center. Since I was in the Umbra Institute's Food Studies Program, I payed careful attention to restaurants/the local food culture. My friends and I compiled a list of places to eat -- from recommendations of the Umbra staff and locals--and spent each week checking off a place. With the help of a professor, I also did a lot of my produce shopping in a backyard garden. Each week, I visited him with empty bags and left with the most beautiful vegetables! Because the city is so small in size, there is such a real opportunity to feel like you're a part of the community. From cafes to bars, frequent visits become part of your daily routine, right alongside the locals--who would recognize you and talk to you (in Italian). This was exhilarating, because you had opportunities outside of Italian class to practice. I think my favorite thing to do, on a beautiful afternoon, was walk the streets and just take it all in. Every afternoon could be an adventure.

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

A journey into the heart of Italy

My experience in Perugia was like none other. Any preconceptions and expectations you have will immediately be washed away because it's impossible to imagine what it will be like before you go. Perugia is a small, authentic town in Italy. It's a place where after a few weeks you will recognize people on the streets. As much as I had the time of my life here, the town was a bit too small for me, and the program, with roughly only 80 people, was a bit too close knit. You experience Italy in a place that isn't over run with Amercan influence, something you can't find in Florence or Rome. I
I will never forget my time in Perugia. I made lifelong friends and had experiences that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. If your only goal of studying abroad is to travel, then go to Florence. It isn't as easy to travel starting from Perugia because you usually need to take a train to Florence before you can fly anywhere.
The staff at the Umbra Institute was phenomenal, and I've had some of the greatest professors of my college career there. They want you to have an amazing experience, and they do a fantastic job in helping you experience that once in a lifetime opportunity.

If I could describe in words the magic that is Perugia and even all of Italy, I would, but to me it's something you must see and experience for yourself.

What would you improve about this program?
The amount of people in the program. I went to a large state university because I didn't want to be in a very small community but that's how this program was. Whether you like it or not, everybody knows what everyone is up to, and by the end it became a bit too much for me.
60 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best semester of my life

Spending my fall semester in Perugia was an amazing experience. The city has an American university, an Italian university, and a university for foreigners and is filled with wonderful people. The city is also located in the center of Italy, so it is ideal for travel around the country. You will never regret studying in Italy at the Umbra Institute!

What would you improve about this program?
Scheduling classes would have been much easier if it were done online instead of in-person.
60 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Go to Perugia if you're looking for the real Italy

If you're looking for the non-touristy, real local feel of Italy, the Umbra Institute in Perugia is the place to be. Being in a small town in the heart of Italy allows Umbra to provide students with the most authentic Italian feel from the people, to the food, to the shopping.
Being in a town where English is not used too often, Umbra teaches students Italian at the pace they choose through classes and interactive activities such as city tours, and cornetto (croissant) making! You'll be able to shop at grocery stores and get lunch without struggling to put a few key Italian words together; the language will come with ease and you'll get to know your local cashiers!
Not only will your local panino and gelato shop know your order but you're put in an incredible position to truly get to know the locals! Through English/Italian learning sessions, you get the opportunity to meet tons of local Italian college students. By beginning the friendships at these sessions, you have the chance to continue them outside with dinners, apertive, and nights out!
Umbra not only sets up fun interactive events in town with pizza making, gelato making, cheese and wine tastings, but also outside of town. You're given the opportunity to visit and help harvest at a vineyard, harvest olives, and visit parmigiana and balsamico companies!
Studying abroad in Perugia was absolutely incredible, partly due to the location and authentic-ness of Perugia but also the staff at Umbra. As incredible as the program is, if there is ever an issue, the staff is there to help you through the difficulties. From having a fuse go out in my apartment to filing a police case when my wallet was stolen in Rome, the staff at Umbra helped me through every little detail. I would recommend this incredible to absolutely everyone looking to truly be immersed in Italian culture and would re do the semester in a heartbeat!

What would you improve about this program?
Literally have zero complaints about the program, it is truly incredible!
58 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Insight into the life of an Everyday Italian

I had a very easy transition into living like an Italian both due to my openness going into the program, as well as the support and opportunities given by the staff at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. They set up a wide variety of events like pasta making, coffee tasting, winery tours, Italian movie nights, and social nights practicing your italian with local students. The staff really focused on giving the students an overall understanding of the Italian culture through many field trips around the country.

If you are having a hard time adjusting the staff is there to support you. The first week you are there to learn Italian and adjust to the differences in culture between Italy and the US. This was incredibly helpful to have your own personal tour guide/teacher for the week without worrying about school work.

If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and enter into the "real Italy," beyond Rome and even Florence, then you will get the opportunity to see and live how true Italians live. You are forced more to use and practice your Italian than if you went to Rome. You get to know the local market owner because you shop or eat there everyday. There is a high sense of safety in Perugia because it has a smaller town center, where everyone recognizes everyone.

Once you go to The Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy you will never want to leave. You will arrive a foreigner and leave a local.

59 people found this review helpful.

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