Lourdes University students have the opportunity to take up to 6 transferable credits at Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy during spring semester.

The program:

  • Fulfills Lourdes University Enduring Question requirement and a general education course requirement
  • Tuition fees include housing
  •  A Lourdes University faculty member will accompany the group
  • Includes mini-pilgrimage to Assisi
  • Opportunity to visit Florence and other Italian towns
  • Planned social and cultural activities
  • Small class sizes-taught in English
  • Meet students from both Italy and all regions of the United States
  • Students may qualify for financial aid

An Italian study abroad experience

During the spring semester, Joyce Litten, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Social Work, teaches SWK 399: What is Social Justice and the Common Good? That includes a two week stay at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. During the five-week enduring question course, Dr. Litten and the students examine individual and collective social responsibility in the creation of just systems of service. Drawing on differing disciplines and perspectives, the course explored the notion of the common good with a principal focus on whether and how commitment to the common good is compatible with respect for cultural and religious differences with justice in social life.

As part of the study abroad experience, students may also choose a second course in either community engagement, history, food and wine, Italian language, fine art or anthropology that may be taught online through the Umbra Institute. Designed to educate American students, the available courses are taught in English.

A student perspective

Senior nursing major Madison Wichman enrolled in the Writing in Italian Food course. “Our class ate lunch at a different restaurant for each session. We also toured a vineyard and rode horses on the property,” she says.

Living in apartments scattered throughout Perugia, the 300+ Franciscan university students enjoyed simple pleasures such as meeting people, riding local transportation and shopping for food. As part of their SWK 399 course, they also spent a day in Assisi to learn more about the life and mission and Sts. Francis and Clare.

“Having never traveled abroad, this semester was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and better than I ever could have imagined. The city was so relaxing. All of us (Lourdes students) really bonded and became close,” adds Ms. Wichman.

The adventurous group even designed their own weekend trips. Each Friday, they would head to a different town, spend the weekend and immerse themselves in the culture and activities. Ms. Wichman’s favorite jaunt was Cinque Terre, a national park located on the coast. “We checked into our apartments and then began exploring the quaint seaside villages. We even rented boats and were able to and experienced Italy from the sea!”

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