Italy Study Abroad Country Profile

Italy Overview

Italy is a well-rounded study abroad destination that will appeal to many students with different backgrounds and interests. Italy’s world-renowned cities – Rome, Venice, Florence – each have their own character and atmosphere, while tiny, medieval villages are spread among the picturesque rolling hills of the countryside. Experience some of the world’s most fabulous landscapes, from the pastoral, idyllic countryside to the beauty of hillside villages and rocky crags along the Amalfi Coast. Italy has inspired painters and poets, and its operas are some of the best in the world. There are endless things to do, and whether you are into art, architecture, or the outdoors, there is something for everyone in Italy.

Cultural Highlights

One of the most famous places in Italy is Vatican City. The world’s smallest country is located within Rome, which is the only nation on earth where Latin is still spoken. There are some well-known attractions here of great religious and artistic significance – St. Peter’s Basillica is here, and the Vatican Palace is home to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum.

The strong artistic tradition of Italy is spread throughout the country – many of its most famous works and sites are located in major cities. Rome is known for its historical sites – the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Forum. The convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan houses Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Also in Milan is La Scala, the world capital of opera. Florence is known for the Duomo cathedral, as well as the Ponte Vecchio bridge, and Michelangelo’s David, which can be found in the Galleria dell’Accademia.

Popular Fields of Study

The Italy study abroad experience provides a valuable opportunity to learn Italian. A variety of programs are available that are designed to immerse students in the Italian language and culture. Students that have already had some Italian experience will find many opportunities to practice their skills and work on their fluency.

Italy’s cities and universities give students a wide variety of opportunities to study almost anything. In fact, its universities are the oldest in the Western world. Art and art history are popular fields of study, as are the classics (the study of all aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman world). The University of Bologna is a university famous for its art and science curricula, as well as its research. Fashion students will also be attracted to Italy for the world capital of fashion, Milan.

Why Study Abroad in Italy?

Italy has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Italy.

1. Italian Language

Take advantage of being immersed in the lively Italian culture by learning Italian during your time abroad. Italy is the perfect place to start learning, or to practice your skills if you have had previous experience.

2. Vatican City

A truly unique destination of significant global interest, Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, the world’s only country that is contained within a city, and the home of the Pope.

3. Food

It goes without saying that Italy’s gastronomic culture has a reputation that precedes it. Indulge in the rich (but surprisingly healthy) Mediterranean diet.

4. Fashion

For Italy study abroad fashion students and enthusiasts alike, Italy is a dream destination. The northern city of Milan is considered one of the world's exclusive fashion capitals.

5. Atmosphere

Italy’s cities and countryside have enamored visitors for years. Walking the streets of Rome or Florence is a memorable experience in and of itself.

6. Cinque Terre

This picturesque part of the Italian Riviera is known for its landscapes and colorful hillside villages. Many people also hike along this stretch staying overnight at different villages along the way.

7. Soccer

Soccer is as popular in Italy as it is anywhere in Europe, and the national team has the second most wins of any team in World Cup history. It is also the most successful team in Europe in terms of titles.

8. Famous Sites

Italy instantly springs to mind when thinking of world-famous historical sites. Rome is a great choice, featuring the Roman forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon.

9. Beaches

Much like the south of France, Italy has some fantastic Mediterranean beaches. The Amalfi Coast has some of the best beaches in Italy.

10. Art

You will be hard-pressed to not find art at every turn in Italy, whether in the construction of the buildings or on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Go see some of the world’s most famous works of art!

Italy Study Abroad Statistics

Italy Country Ranking: 2

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 12.5%
  • Total US Students 2005/06: 26,078
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 27,831
  • Yearly 2006/07 Trend: 6.7%
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