Duke in Bologna

A 6-Week Summer Italian Language & Culture Program


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Offered in cooperation with the University of Bologna, one of Europe’s oldest universities, this six-week, two-course summer pro­gram provides you the opportunity to improve your Italian language skills, become acquainted with advanced topics in Italian studies through a culture-based course, and develop your cultural knowledge by utilizing Bologna in a “city as classroom” capacity to explore the richness of Italian society, art, and literature. Via the program’s project-based experiential pedagogy, students actively engage with the city and its multiple communities and institutions, (from museums and ancient medical labs to urban gardens and soup kitchens), participate in the complexity of Italian society and explore, its multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual past and present. Bologna, known for its exciting and forward-looking intellectual and cultural life is the setting for these discoveries.


Location: Bologna, Italy

Term: Summer I

Dates: May 14, 2024 - June 22, 2024

Application Deadline: February 1st

Academic Theme(s): Italian Language and Culture

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: Must have completed the equivalent of two semesters of college-level Italian. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Co-sponsored by the Duke Department of Romance Studies

Housing: Apartments

Primary Contact: Kayla Soltis-Katella

  • Bologna as seen from Asinelli tower

  • Duke in Bologna group

  • Basilica Bologna

  • Porticos in Bologna

  • Piazza Santo Stefano

  • Bologna market


Students will enroll in both a language course and a culture-based content course, each offering one Duke credit. No pass/fail option or auditing is permitted for either course. 

Accelerated Intermediate Italian

(FL, CZ) 1.0 Credit

Pre-requisite: Italian 102 or 112 (the equivalent of two semesters of college-level Italian).

This course is the equivalent of Italian 203 and 204 together. The course is project-based and fosters students’ speaking, reading, and writing abilities through immersion and exploration of the city. Bologna will be used as a classroom with which students engage to develop their linguistic and intercultural competencies.


Food for Thought - Understanding Italian Society and Culture through its Food 
(CZ, CCI) 1.0 Credit

Food is an important source of cultural information and social meaning. The production, preparation and consumption of food play a particularly important role in Italian society and culture and can be a revealing lens through which to study them. From the excesses of the Roman table, and the “bread propaganda” of the Fascist era, to the revival of poor peasant cuisine and today’s “Slow Food” movement, it is often through food that Italians have asserted their cultural heritage. In recent years, Italy has witnessed what the Wall Street Journal has dubbed “gastronomic nationalism” and under the guise of defending local identity some Italian municipalities have attempted to ban ‘ethnic foods’ from their city centers. Food production, distribution, and consumption generate a nexus of social, political and economic interests, which raise ethical questions concerning issues such as food waste and food accessibility, environmental impact, economic protectionism and even gastronomic racism.

In this course we will examine food stuffs (products) and food ways (practices and rituals revolving around food) to understand their cultural significance, to gain insight into culturally specific ways of thinking symbolically about food, and to explore the political consequences engendered by food production distribution and consumption. We will read about the cultural similarities and differences of Italian cuisines as well as their histories, we will visit places where local food is grown and processed, and we will gain insight to Italian culture through experiencing its food ways, that is, by actually selecting, preparing and eating food. Bologna is renowned world wide for its cuisine, it considered the food capital of Italy, and by some, the most exquisite food market in Europe.  We will take advantage of this strategic setting to explore foodstuffs, food ways and politics of food experientially. The course includes excursions to local farms, vineyards, cheese producers, pasta laboratories as well as cooking classes, and guest lectures by experts in food safety and EU and FDA policies, food and labor and food socialization among other topics.


Past activities have included:

  • Excursions to Verona, Venice, or Florence
  • Museum visits
  • Opera performances


Students reside in fully-furnished apartments in Central Bologna, with two or three students per apartment. Students have access to Wi-Fi and laundry facilities. Students will be responsible for their own meals, either purchasing food at grocery stores and markets and cooking in the apartment kitchens or frequenting restaurants and cafés.


These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2024

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $5,680 $5,680
Program Fee $4,500 $4,500
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $14,800 $14,920

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 14, 2024
  • Departure: June 22, 2024


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyExperientialEd to update your travel registry.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.



No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out if any visa restrictions are in effect.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.

International Student Identity Card

An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional. ISIC is the only internationally recognized form of student ID, endorsed by UNESCO. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury. You may purchase this card through www.myisic.com. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. 


Program faculty director(s) can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Luciana Fellin

Professor of the Practice of Romance Studies

Kayla Soltis-Katella

GEO Assistant Director


Deadline: February 1st

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. Application opens November 1.

PriorityPriority is given to applicants who apply early and meet the prerequisites.

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA.

Non-Duke studentsNon-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd:

  1. Online application
  2. Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate
  4. One recommendation from a language professor noting your linguistic and academic abilities. Letters from high school teachers will not be accepted


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