Come va? (How are things?) With just over a month until departure for Italy, we have been working with Miriam Grottanelli (Director, Siena School for Liberal Arts) on housing and course schedule information. While details might be tweaked, and more details are yet to be solidified, here is the first peak at the plan for summer.
Housing: All of you will live in a large, comfortable apartment just outside and below the city wall (you don’t hear that often), not far from the Siena School classroom facilities. By “below,” you will discover this means a valley below the mesa on which much of medieval Siena sits. The commute into school will thus be up hill. You will be encouraged to commute by city bus (they’re cute), if you get tired of climbing the hill. The “commute” home can be walked much easier, as you might imagine, or the bus will work as well. There is a bus stop very close to the apartment.
Academic Schedule: We are making some slight changes to our plan, given the small cohort of students. You will all take the same courses. Katie Phelan will teach the 3-credit Siena sustainability course, and Prof. Vasquez and I will co-teach our Public Realm and Anthropology of Food courses (3 credits total). For students who wish to emphasize either of these courses, we will ask students to choose a term research project that ties into one course or the other (or perhaps both). Research projects will be flexible (though meeting certain standards), based on your own interests.
Imparare Italiano (To learn Italian): All students will take 9 real-time hours of introductory Italian language instruction, most of which will be taught at the beginning of the term. This requirement will likely be built into the 6-credit requirements for the program overall. We will also expect you to practice your newfound language skills for various aspects of our courses!
Program Schedule (Tentative):
May 14 – Arrival in Siena
May 15-16 – Intensive Italian + Orientation
May 17 - Introduction to all courses and Q&A session
May 20 - Intensive Italian
May 21 – courses officially begin
Tues/Thurs mornings: Katie Phelan’s course
Tues/Thurs afternoons: Paradis and Vasquez course
Wednesdays: Local excursions with Katie’s course OR evening guest speakers (excursions will include a winery, an organic/biodynamic farm and an animal farm).
Fridays/weekends: Occasional single/multi-day excursions with Vasquez and Paradis (Definitely Florence, others still pending approval.). Fridays, Mondays and weekends without planned excursions will be open for students to explore and travel responsibly, as desired. Please note, you will be expected to prioritize all academic program classes and activities. You will also need to spend some quality time outside of classes to complete your research projects and related assignments. Beyond this, you will be “free to move about the country” (to use a Southwest Airlines slogan) if you wish.
Palio Week (thereabouts): Siena School staff and guest speakers will provide histories, information, and course assignments related to observing and interpreting the Palio-related events. The Palio horse race is July 2. All of us will gather for discussions on July 3.
Reminder: Pre-departure Meetings April 20 (from Kyle Conway). There will be two mandatory pre-departure meetings for this program, both taking place on Saturday, April 20th in the Franke College of Business Building. The first will be a general information session that will be held on that day from 10:30am – 12pm OR 1pm-2:30. You can choose which meeting you’d like to attend. Then, after the general session, you will meet once more with Thomas Paradis and Miguel Vasquez for a program-specific pre-departure session. This will take place at 2:30 in the same building. Again these are mandatory and have been already displayed for you on your study abroad application, so be sure to reschedule any engagements or duties for that day.
That’s the plan as we know it! Stay tuned for further updates as we move into our final month before departure. Ciao for now.