GPR to Siena 2014

Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's Gothic City Hall

Palazzo Pubblico, Siena’s Gothic City Hall

Apply for our summer, 2014 Education Abroad Program: The Walkable, Safe City. (This page updated 9-22-13, with payment schedule information.)

Siena, Italy is one of Europe’s safest, walkable small cities on numerous measures. Do you want to see and experience this place for yourself and earn NAU credit? The Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation is proud to sponsor our first education-abroad program, for five weeks during summer, 2014 corresponding with NAU’s Summer Session 1. We are looking for enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students to join Professors Paradis, Manone, and Hawley for this unforgettable experience. NAU already maintains a partnership with the Siena School for Liberal Arts which will provide helpful staff, full classroom facilities, and assistance with housing. You can earn 6 credits and apply them to your own degree program or electives (discuss with your faculty advisor). Topics are designed especially for undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation, though other NAU students interested in studying walkable European cities are encouraged to apply. There are no prerequisites.

Topics will relate to walkability and livable cities, urban history, architecture and design, public spaces, community development, tourism, Italian and European cultures, social research methods, introductory GIS mapping techniques, and more.

Official Online Application Page: Click here  for the official Education Abroad application page provided by the NAU Center for International Education (CIE). This is where you will apply for the Siena program and find more information about what to expect for housing, costs, courses, etc. Although the official application deadline is March 15, 2014 we are encouraging earlier applications to lock in our required minimum of 7 students. We cannot continue to plan for flight reservations or housing until we do so.

Siena in Photos: See the Flickr Photostream for Siena by Prof. Tom Paradis. Includes recent photos of the July, 2013 Palio and the contrade (neighborhoods). Those of you joining us in Summer 2014 will experience the Palio and its related community events.

Program of Study: Students will be required to enroll for six NAU credit hours, which includes the following academic package and options:

  • All students will take a 3 credit course focused on “The Walkable City” that ties in many of the topics described above. More details about this course are forthcoming. It will be team-taught by Professors Paradis, Hawley, and Manone. The Palio will provide the primary academic topic of the program’s final week in Siena (see below), held annually on July 2.
  • Students will either enroll in an indepdendent study to pursue a project or research-related topic, or take the equivalent of the GSP 480C capstone course (for GSP majors). There may be other options here, which we can explore when we determine who is going.
  • All students take 1 credit-worth of Italian language training as part of the academic program. This might be built into the expectations for one of the other courses students take with us.

Program Dates and Flights:

Students will need to arrive in Siena on May 28, 2014, and begin Orientation and Italian Language studies on May 29. Students will be expected to take a group flight (with few exceptions) into Florence, allowing the group to travel together using ground transportation from Florence to Siena. The actual flight will be determined at a later date. (This will likely be a USAirways flight from Philadelphia or Charlotte, to Florence). You should plan to either meet us in Flagstaff, Phoenix, or Philly/Charlotte for the international flights. At the conclusion of the program, students may choose when and how to leave Italy. Some return directly home, while others use the opportunity to travel further.

Known Program Dates include the following:

  • Tues, May 27: Depart on flights to Europe. (The day after Memorial Day)
  • May 28: Arrive Siena, afternoon (time zone is 9 hours earlier than Arizona time!)
  • May 29: Orientation and Italian Language instruction begins.
  • July 2: The Palio!
  • July 3: Program Conclusion. Wrap-up and final class meetings.
  • July 4: Depart Siena. Buon Viaggio!

This generally falls within the NAU 5-week Summer Session 1. Students can return to NAU for Summer Session II if desired after the July 4 Holiday.

Who Should Apply? Undergraduate and graduate students interested in topics related to walkable and livable cities, community development, public spaces, architecture and urban design, and issues surrounding mass tourism. Especially intended for students in:

  • BS Geographic Science & Community Planning (including geography and planning majors)
  • BS Parks & Recreation Management,
  • MS Applied Geospatial Sciences,
  • MA Sustainable Communities,
  • Related majors in History, Sociology, Environmental Science, and others interested in livable cities and/or European/Global studies.

The Palio Experience: Engage with one of the world’s most enthralling community celebrations. Learn its ties with history, community, sense of place, and local pride. The last full week of this program will focus on the Palio, held on July 2. Watch a 12-minute documentary Video of the Palio by ESPN.

Program Costs: The cost per student for this 6-credit program is now finalized at $4,385. This price includes tuition for 6 summer NAU credits, student housing in Siena, all NAU fees and health insurance, program-required field excursions and local events, and all costs associated with the Siena School for Liberal Arts and its facilities. This cost does not include airfare or food costs. You will be encouraged to find some relatively painless ways to lower your costs, which can pay for airfare and more (see next section below!). This is considered an affordable study abroad program compared to other similar experiences overseas. See if you can take advantage this year!

How to Lower Your Costs: A variety of options for scholarships and other funding sources will be available to students, including the following:

  • All students in the Department of Geography, Planning and Recreation, and other majors within the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences will receive $500 toward the program or airfare after acceptance to the program!
  • All students majoring within the Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation are eligible for GPR Education Abroad Travel Scholarships up to $1,000 (See the scholarship form link under Experiential Learning). A short application process will be necessary, and will be competitive based on academic success and need. Completed forms are due to the Geography Office (Nicole Harris) by November 14, 2013.
  • The “Go Scholarship”: This is a competitive scholarship of between $500 and $1,500 through the Center for International Education (more info forthcoming). Do not ignore this one, as most students who apply receive some funding!
  • Take advantage of annual departmental scholarships that might be advertised annually through your home department/school. These can be applied for future NAU tuition and therefore indirectly lower your total tuition cost.
  • Some students can plan to use leftover financial aid, or apply for new financial aid, for the summer program specifically.

Program Payment Schedule: The payment schedule works like this: You need to pay an initial application fee of $100 and a program deposit of $500 charged to your account once you complete their application online. Then, once the application deadline hits (around March 15), the program fee will be added (minus the deposit amount). The deposit is non-refundable, so students who withdraw after completing their application will not get it back. Next, the tuition will be charged to your account roughly the same time the program fee does, perhaps a little bit later. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that the charges will be incremental as we approach the summer. No part of the program fee can be enrolled in a payment plan and must be paid by the deadline of March 15 (the tuition charge, which is charged separately, can be enrolled in a payment plan).

Students with questions about financial aid should talk to Julie Nava in the Financial Aid office ( Most loans and cash grants can apply to this program. Tuition waiver (AIMS, President’s, Dean’s, etc.) cannot apply to this program. Students interested in study abroad scholarships should see Danielle Varnes ( Sitting down with Julie Nava early is highly recommended.

Requirements for Acceptance

Prior knowledge or experience with foreign languages and/or travel abroad is not necessary. Students will take a beginner Italian class (if necessary) as part of this program (see above).

The Faculty: Join Professors Tom Paradis, Mark Manone, and Dawn Hawley, who will co-teach the NAU courses taught in Siena. All three faculty members teach in the Geographic Science & Community Planning degree program at NAU, in the Department of Geography, Planning & Recreation. Together they focus their teaching and research on human and cultural geography, urban planning and design, urban geography and history, geospatial sciences, and GIS mapping techniques. Please feel free to speak with or email any of them to ask questions or to find possible ways to help you go.

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