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Siena Summer Course Catalog

  /  Siena Summer Course Catalog

Siena Summer Course Catalog

Students are placed in the most appropriate of our five language levels and study Italian language 5 days a week. During the week, students can expect to participate in activities linked to experiences in the city, student presentations and discussions, videos, quizzes, writing assignments, as well as the study of Italian grammar. The intermediate and advanced levels provide a complete study of grammatical and communicative structures using materials that are varied in both content and type. The language is always presented in context, so as to avoid falling into the typical classroom trap of detachment from reality. Two or three teachers alternate in the classes, giving students the greatest possible linguistic and methodological variety. Throughout the summer, students will complete mandatory community service hours that require them to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom. The summer session curriculum also includes a series of required excursions and activities that will expose students to the artistic, historical and cultural bounty that represent Italy, both yesterday and today. Some of these visits include: various museum visits in Siena, Florence and surrounding cities, a Tuscan cooking lesson, activities associated with the Palio festival and horse race, exploring remnants of the Etruscan culture along the Tuscan coast, as well as many other activities and excursions. 8-Week course – 90 contact hours 6-Week course – 45 contact hours 4-Week course – 45 contact hours

(40 total contact hours) This course offers the student a wide “panorama” of topics in Italian Art History. This course will appeal to students that are intrigued by the architectural layout of a typical medieval city or are curious about the creative environment that inspired some of the most important art historical works of the Renaissance period. We will analyze works by artists such as Duccio di Boninsegna, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Simone Martini, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Students will explore how Italian art is not simply a long list of beautiful masterpieces but that it explains, sometimes better than any other discipline, how Italian society has been formed, why Italy is referred to as the “Bel Paese”. An integral part of the course will include visits to museums in Siena and Florence, such as the Museo del Duomo, Santa Maria della Scala, the Pinacoteca di Siena and the Museo Civico di Siena, as well as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia in Florence. Viewing these masterpieces first hand will allow students to appreciate and enjoy what is perhaps the best expression of Italian Culture and Art of any time period.

(40 total contact hours) This course aims to introduce the students to the multifaceted aspects of contemporary Italian, namely through its various axes of variation which are: time, geographical space, communication context, social extraction of the speakers, means of communication. Further discussion will concern simplified varieties of Italian, especially baby talk, Italian spoken by foreign immigrants in Italy and Italian spoken by Italian emigrants abroad. Theoretic analyses and discussions will be supported by literary passages, written and oral samples of several varieties (excerpts from movies, TV programs, etc.), student’s independent research for information, fieldwork activities in the Sienese territory.

(45 total contact hours) Through a full integration of experiential approaches, service-learning and reflective education, this interdisciplinary course offers the possibility to explore Italy’s migration history in an active and participatory way.

The course runs on two parallel tracks: the past and the present. The departure point of the largest emigration from any country in recorded world history, seeing more than 13 million Italians leaving their homeland between 1880 and 1915, Italy represents an ideal laboratory to learn about the many facets of the migration issue. Against this historic backdrop of emigration, newer patterns have manifested, making Italy a destination for migrants from various regions, whether for permanent settlement or as a way station. Furthermore, by accident of geography, Italy has played an outsized role in the current European migration crisis, receiving vast numbers of migrant arrivals via the Mediterranean and the Balkan route over the last 10 years which present Italy and the European Union with new challenges in curbing asylum seeker and migrant journeys across the often treacherous sea.

This course is taught by experts in the field who will analyze these socio-anthropological, historical, political and economic aspects related to Italy as a theater of migration. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with representatives of local NGOs involved in the reception of migrants in the local context. While learning all this, students will also participate in service-learning in the “Home 4 the World” project, organized and hosted by “Nuova Associazione Culturale Ulisse” — a SIS Institutional partner with the aim of helping migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The project was born in Spring 2022 and soon developed from a service for refugees to a service for Pakistani refugees, given the large number of Pakistani people who arrived in the area of Siena between June and December 2022 (around 600 hundred people). SIS, Associazione Ulisse and several other organizations of the territory of Siena have joined forces to cope with the lack of structures that could host such big numbers. In this context “Home 4 the World” has become a reference point for Italian and English Language classes, linguistic support for the driving license test, intercultural education, development of democratic competences and citizenship education.

While serving the Pakistani refugees, students will also have a chance to meet with all the different stakeholders involved in the resolution of this crisis and to participate in town assemblies, meetings and activities, contributing with solidarity and towards inclusive communities.

Being a fully integrated service-learning course, all students will keep a journal that will be shared with the peers and the instructors with the goal of critically evaluating the course, the service provided, the personal difficulties encountered and the development of intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding among the different parties involved.

This course will be offered every term and with any number of enrolled students because it is fully integrated into the ongoing Home 4 the world project. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this course, it is suitable for students with all backgrounds, majors and language skills as the expertise, spirit and creativity of the students are key to solving some of the challenges of integrating the Pakistani refugee community in the Sienese context.

(40 total contact hours) This course aims to present the main historical events that defined Italian history from the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476 BC) to the Peace of Lodi (1454) that, for Italy, signified the transformation from the Medieval Period to the Modern Period. The course outlines the study of the historic events linked to the political, religious and social context of the ever-changing Italian reality, without ignoring the essential European panorama in which Italy was located. Themes such as gender relationships and family structure, social class structures as well as the contrada, or neighborhood, system in Siena will all be explored. During the course, there will also be several excursions to relevant points of interest such as Mt. Oliveto Abbey, the Santa Maria della Scala Hospital, Contrada museums.

The course represents a journey through the main dietary habits of Tuscany analyzed through the basic principles of biochemistry and physiology. The nutritional and metabolic characteristics of the “Mediterranean diet” will be illustrated. The benefits and limitations of this popular diet will be analyzed through the most recent scientific discoveries. A large part of the course will be dedicated to the use of natural substances and to the discussion of the therapeutic power of some traditional remedies used in Italy. Specific attention will be paid to plant derived drugs and their pharmacologically active compounds. The program will be complemented by excursions to relevant points of interest in Siena: Natural Science Museum of the Accademia dei Fisiocritici and the Botanical Garden of Siena.

This course combines structured and guided reflection with fundamental issues that characterize today’s world both in a global and a local perspective. Students are invited and led to reflect on the ever-changing challenges that await them as future global citizens.

The course opens with a historical and philosophical discussion about the paradigm of hospitality and its corollaries guiding students to reflect and ponder on how this paradigm has been changing in recent times. It leads students through the understanding of the concept of otherness and includes a brief overview on human rights. It goes on with discussing the history of European institutions and Europe’s efforts to spread the concept of intercultural dialogue and deeply analyzes the most recent European outcomes in terms of democracy protection and democratic competences development.

Reflection in the course is carried out thanks to the discussion of cultural topics that reveal their inner meanings and deepness when put into the right perspective.

The aim of this course is to empower engaged global citizens with the necessary knowledge and skills, and with a reflective attitude that will allow them to open to the world without getting lost, to discover the confines of their own culture, to see reality from different perspectives and to feel common ties of humanity under the flow of apparent differences.