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2024 marks 20 years of SIS

It’s been a long and winding road, but SIS is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024!

Lavina in class in 2005 during the very early stages of SIS’s adventure.

In 2004 Lavinia Bracci set out on her own to create a new standard for full-immersion study abroad in Siena and Tuscany.  SIS was to be a new sort of study abroad experience where students would be exposed to the Italian culture from all directions and challenged to interact with, understand and grow within that culture.  SIS has been all of that and more, but it hasn’t always been easy.  Our unique school relies on a special type of student to choose a SIS experience, and we also rely on special institutional relations to trust us to provide this experience for their students.

It was never an objective of ours to be a gigantic school like those in Florence for students studying abroad.  We could describe SIS as a “slow burn” in terms of a business model, and an atomic bomb in terms of its “activity” that gravitates around the central core of academic offerings in Siena (and now Brussels!) such as expansions to new destinations, ongoing collaborations, short-term and long-term educational options, social and community-oriented initiatives, fundraisers, conferences, research projects, publications and whatever else we may be forgetting.

All this activity through the years has led to a large international network of SISsini in addition to the more than 1000 students that have come through SIS. The experience with SIS has touched the lives of not only those students, but the community of Siena, our host-families, service-sites, staff, and international friends and volunteers. SIS has changed students’ trajectories and career plans, it has created families–literally, and figuratively– and it has been a point of return for many of our alumni and collaborators from afar.

So, we think that 20 years of excellence and eccentricity within study abroad is something worth celebrating! If you’ve been a part of SIS in one way or another, please consider joining us in Siena on July 4th and 5th 2024 for two days of fun and reconnecting. (For those of you that have not been able to experience the Palio on July 2nd each year, this is your excuse to check that box off!).

If you plan on attending, please RSVP CLICK HERE.  Updates on schedules and activities to come!


Of course, we absolutely understand that many of you who would love to be with us, won’t be able to come all the way to Italy this summer.  There’s a very easy and real way for you to contribute to the future of SIS.  It would be wonderful to get as many of you as possible to make a quick video of yourself talking about your time with SIS. 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Find a comfy place to sit and place your phone somewhere stable where it can record you.
  2. Make sure that your phone is recording !!HORIZONTALLY!!
  3. Begin your video with an introduction:  Say your name, your university, and when you were a student with SIS.
  4. You can say whatever you’d like, but if you’d like some help, here are a few questions that you could respond to.  Choose any that you like or respond to all of them!
    • When you reflect on your time with SIS, what are some things that stick out the most?
    • What effect did your experience with SIS have on your career or life?
    • Are you still connected with people that you met during your experience with SIS?
    • Why would you recommend SIS to anyone that is contemplating studying abroad?
    • Tell us three words that you’d describe your experience with SIS.
  5. Send your video via email to or to Mike via whatsapp +39 3407667545

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