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  • Locations: Perugia, Italy
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: The Umbra Institute 
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2025 10/15/2024 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Fall 2025 03/15/2025 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Anthropology, Art History, Classical Studies, Communication, Communications, Creative Writing, Culture, European Studies, Film, Fine Art, History, Humanities, International Business, International Relations, International Studies, Italian, Italian Language & Literature, Journalism, Liberal Arts, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Writing Click here for a definition of this term Minimum Undergraduate GPA: 2.75
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: Italian Click here for a definition of this term Housing Options: Apartment-Shared, Home Stay
Program Type: Study Abroad
Program Description:

Direct Enrollment at the
Università per Stranieri di Perugia

About Perugia

Perugia is the capital of the Italian region of Umbria, situated halfway between Florence and Rome on a hilltop surrounded by the rolling hills of Umbria and Tuscany. The ancient city serves as the ideal backdrop for study abroad in Italy. Rich in art, architecture, and historic significance, it is internationally recognized as a city of learning.

The city’s multiple train and bus stations, as well as an international airport, allow students to both experience Italian culture and explore Europe. The lively community hosts various festivals (such as Eurochocolate, the International Journalism Festival, and Umbria Jazz) each year and multiple international academic institutions, attracting students and professionals from across the globe.

UNISTRA Perugia 2About the Università per Stranieri di Perugia

The Università per Stranieri di Perugia, also known as the University for Foreigners, represents the oldest and most prestigious Italian institution specialized in Italian language instruction. Founded in 1921, today the Università is an important center for both the teaching of Italian and the development of new educational methodologies. It hosts approximately 5,000 students from over 100 different nations each term. The university’s principal location is in the beautiful Palazzo Gallenga located in the heart of the city, opposite the 2,000-year-old Etruscan arch of the ancient city and a short walk from the Umbra Institute.

The Umbra Institute works closely with the Università per Stranieri to create a study abroad program that incorporates this stimulating international environment. Participants in the Direct Enrollment: University for Foreigners program are registered as students at both the Università per Stranieri and the Umbra Institute.

About the Program

The Direct Enrollment Program at the University for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri di Perugia) offers a unique opportunity for students to focus exclusively on Italian language and culture. Participants enroll at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia for a semester-long program and study with university students from all over the world whose goal is to become fluent in Italian. It is intensive, international, and most of all, widely recognized as the best way to gain fluency in Italian and enjoy everyday life in Italy.

UNISTRA Perugia 3The program is taught entirely in Italian and is open to students of all levels of language proficiency. It includes approximately 27 hours per week at the Università per Stranieri di Perugia coupled with weekly tutorials with Umbra instructors. The weekly tutorial with Umbra instructors is meant to be an in-depth review of the activities of the Università and a linguistic laboratory, devoted to the development of specific linguistic skills (in particular: writing and speaking in Italian). Tutorials are also a relaxed moment of consultation, where students are invited to speak about their experience, ask questions and/or report possible problems.  Instructors will provide each week the necessary learning materials and may ask students to organize a weekly update of their Stranieri activities.
The program yields 16-semester credits. For more information, visit for more details on the structure of the program, the material covered, and the transcripts awarded for each level completed. Please note that Direct Enrollment students do not have a traditional fall or spring break, but will enjoy holidays listed in the Italian academic calendar. Students are encouraged to review the program with their faculty and/or study abroad advisor to gain permission to attend the program and ensure that proper transfer credit will be awarded. In addition, advisers are encouraged to contact the Umbra Institute directly with questions or for more information about the Direct Enrollment program.

This program is ideal for:
  • Any student who wishes to gain proficiency quickly in Italian through an intensive full-immersion experience in Italy;
  • Beginners who want to start their study of the Italian language
  • Intermediate students who wish to perfect their linguistic skills and move to the advanced level;
  • Advanced students who wish to practice and perfect their skills in a wide variety of courses taught entirely in Italian including subjects such as culture, linguistics, and social sciences;
  • Students who wish to complete the equivalent of two years of language study in one semester abroad;
  • Italian studies majors at the intermediate level who seek to become fluent enough to be prepared to return to their home institution and enroll in advanced level area-studies courses taught entirely in Italian;
  • Students who desire a traditional study abroad experience and to live with international students 


All program participants receive a transcript issued through the Umbra Institute for coursework at the Università. These transcripts convert the course equivalents and semester credits based on the American system of higher education. Specifically, the coursework and performance of students at each level of language proficiency are interpreted and re-configured into four principal courses of study. The number of credits per course varies. Transcripts of the C1 and C2 programs include the elective courses on Italian culture, linguistics, or business economics.
During orientation in Perugia, students will take an assessment exam (test d’ingresso) and be placed in one of six levels of language proficiency. Students start a particular level, and depending on their performance, may advance to the next level or continue at the same one for the duration of the semester. The six levels of instruction are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:

Level A1 (Beginner)            Level A2 (Advanced Beginner)
Level B1 (Intermediate)     Level B2 (Advanced Intermediate)
Level C1 (Advanced)           Level C2 (Mastery)

At the lower levels (A1-B1) the curriculum is fixed and may not be modified, whereas courses at the B2 level and above introduce a separate component on Italian culture and society.

Advanced courses, at the levels of C1 and C2, also include courses in a variety of subjects such as advanced linguistic studies, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, dialects and historical linguistics, as well as courses on Dante, Italian Renaissance Art, business writing, Italian literature, and more. These courses supplement the linguistics
program and are used as tools to not only teach the subject matter, but also continue to improve Italian language skills. Each session, advanced students create their own program and may choose up to three elective courses from a variety of offerings in Italian studies in the humanities and social sciences.

Participation in class activities will be part of the students’ final grade assessment. Grades at the Università per Stranieri are assigned according to the Italian academic evaluation system, ranging from 0 to 30 points. The minimum passing grade is 18, the highest grade is 30 e lode (30 cum laude). Grades are then converted by Umbra into American equivalents.

Academic Calendar

The program inserts the traditional American four-month semester into the Italian academic program as organized by the Università per Stranieri. For this reason, the course organization follows two different models depending on the semester in which students enroll. The fall semester is comprised of a one-month course followed by a three-month course, and the spring semester is a three-month course followed by a one-month course.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Program participants have access to all social and sports activities offered by the Università, which include the Chamber Music Group, University Musical Association of Perugia (Agimus), University Social Center (concerts, shows, plays, exhibitions, and Italian films are shown; students can participate free of charge in the events and can also exhibit their artistic works), excursions (weekend trips organized by the Università to important Italian cities and historical and artistic monuments of Perugia and Umbria), and sports (all students have access to the University Sport Centre of Perugia)


Housing is provided for all students in shared apartments with either Italian or international students. There is no meal plan, but apartments are equipped with full kitchens. Homestays are available upon request.

UMBRA - Food Studies 5Student Life & Services

Umbra arranges an airport pick-up on arrival day each semester, during which staff personally welcomes students to Italy and Perugia. Through orientation students meet Umbra’s Resident and Academic Directors, chat with community engagement coordinators about volunteering and other opportunities, receive apartment tips from dedicated housing staff, and learn travel tricks from the student services team.

Another unique feature available to Umbra students is the Umbra App (available on iPhone and Android). The App gives students immediate access to semester event details and sign-ups, walking directions to local restaurants and businesses, and provides a list of local discount information. Students can also contact each other, faculty, or staff through the App, view course information, and more.

Health & Safety

The Umbra Institute is dedicated to ensuring that students enjoy a safe and rewarding study abroad experience. As a full-service program with more than 15 years’ experience in study abroad, Umbra is there to assist each student from the time they apply, through their arrival, and up to the day of departure. Services relative to health and safety include:
  • Orientation: an Italian State Police lieutenant gives a presentation on safety and security in Italy and throughout Europe.
  • Emergency Phone: available 24 hours a day.
  • On-site Coaching and Counseling Service
  • Housing Office: offering apartment maintenance and assistance.
  • Umbra App Safety Check-in: In case of an emergency, all students will receive a Safety Check-in notification through the App. They will then be prompted to respond with either “I’m Safe” or “Request Assistance,” so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure their well-being.
  • Doctors and Medical Care Available 24 Hours a Day: Students may choose to contact medical personnel on their own, but most students come to Umbra staff for support and assistance in making an appointment, either during business hours or through contacting the emergency phone.
  • Travel Workshop and Travel Forms. 

The Umbra Institute Highlights

  • International staff and faculty;
  • US Office providing pre-departure support;
  • Private airport pick-up in Rome and transfer to Perugia;
  • Communication: Umbra App (for Apple and Android), monthly newsletters, Wi-Fi in all student apartments, Handbooks and Guidebook;
  • Emergency phone available 24 hours a day;
  • Life-coaching and counseling service;
  • Staff trained in crisis management;
  • Multi-day orientation in Perugia including a practical city walking tour;
  • Cell phone or SIM cards rental services available;
  • Educational and cultural workshops (Travel Workshop, Career Workshop, etc.);
  • Optional Trip, a staff-guided trip offered to explore beautiful, scenic Italy;
  • Co-curricular field trips to world-renowned historic sites and famous cities;
  • Tandem language exchange; and
  • A variety of extracurricular activities (pizza-making workshop, sports with Italian university students, etc.). 


All students are eligible to take a CELI (Certificato di Lingua Italiana) exam and receive an internationally recognized certificate of proficiency from the Università degli Studi di Perugia. The examination dates, however, are set by the Centre for Assessment and Language Certification (CVCL) of the University and thus may fall outside the semester, or academic year, scheduled for Umbra students.


Students do not have to demonstrate a proficiency in the Italian language to enroll in the University for Foreigners. If you’re ready to begin your journey, start this easy online application.