Design in Sicily (UofM Students)
Use the coastal town of Siracusa, Sicily as inspiration and context for your design courses. Engage in the design process with local and international designers through intensive design workshops, observe the Italian workforce and delve into the Italian culture as an intern at a local company.
Known for its unique blend of cultures especially in the arts, architecture, and food, Sicily is a fascinating place to spend a summer. With historical influences from the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and many more, it is a location unlike any other. The city of Siracusa, where the program is based, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the outstanding Greek, Roman, and Baroque monuments, archaeological sites, and architecture. Spend the summer using your design skills to create your own images of this beautiful city and island. Further immerse yourself in the culture by engaging in the collaborative practicum with local and international designers. This program integrates excursions to other areas around Sicily to bring course content to life.
Housing & Meals
Students live in furnished apartments with shared bedrooms with other students on the program. Generally apartments are 2-4 bedrooms, with 4-8 students per apartment. Meals are not included, but kitchen supplies are available for students to cook their own meals.
This program includes several full-day excursions to other parts of Sicily. Some possible excursions are the Baroque cities of Modica and Noto, the Valley of the Temples, and the Necropolis of Pantalica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the 13th to 7th centuries BC. These excursions are designed to provide context to the history and culture of Sicily.
The Learning Abroad Center works with Village Travel, a local travel agency, to arrange a coordinated flight for program participants. The flight is optional, and is arranged for those who want to fly with other program participants. Group flight information is typically available by the program application deadline, if not before.
If you take the group flight, or are able to arrive before the group flight and wait, our staff will meet you at the airport and bring you to your housing at no added cost. If you do not take the group flight, you will need to make your own way to the ACCENT center upon arrival. Specific arrival instructions will be sent out prior to your departure.
For immigration purposes, you should purchase a round-trip ticket, since you must be able to show your entry and exit dates from Italy.
Students take 6-7 credits in the summer.
This program appeals to design students who want to engage with Sicily in a meaningful way. Participate in the Italian Design Studio to really use Siracusa as your classroom as you use the city to work on your image-making, and explore the many ways that design is incorporated into this city. The collaborative practicum allows students the opportunity to engage in the design process with local and international designers as well as fellow design students from a wide range of design backgrounds.
Check out the Course List for brief course descriptions and University of Minnesota–Twin Cities course equivalencies.
You will take either 6 or 7 credits on this 7-week program. All students take the Italian Design Studio: Image-Making course and the Collaborative Practicum in Sicily course. If you haven't taken Italian before, you will also take the 1-credit Survival Italian course, to assist with your adjustment to life in Italy.
Full Course List
Design Studio in Italy: Image-making
This 3-credit six-week design studio provides students from all design disciplines with an exploration of image making in design processes and practice. Course projects center around the theme of how meaning is created through both the still and the moving image, and will include explorations of meaning through a variety of forms of visual representation including drawing from observation and imagination, illustration, photography, video, and collage. Students will create visual projects in response to their Italian experience, honing their own sensibilities as designers in the rich visual cultures of Sicily and Rome.
The course is designed for college students who are approaching the study of the Italian language for the first time. Lessons are held exclusively in Italian and take into consideration the need to combine the study of lexis and grammar with the development of communication skills and cultural awareness. The instructor encourages students to put the language structures and vocabulary studied in class into practice in real life situations, thus accelerating the learning process and bringing students into contact with local society so that they may fully appreciate the way of life and cultural differences. This knowledge is an integral part of linguistic competence.
Collaborative Practicum in Sicily
This course is an exciting way for you to develop skills and confidence by working in multidisciplinary teams on a project based in Siracusa. Each summer, the design project will be new, or beginning a new phase of work from another design team. Regardless, you will work with local community partners and professional Italian designers as mentors to help shape a design response to an unmet need or opportunity in Siracusa.
Your mentors will lead the design team in ways that are not unlike professional practice. They will help divide the work into manageable parts and smaller working groups, and help you determine ambitious, yet achievable goals for the amount of time scheduled for the practicum during the summer program.
You will be working alongside other design students (apparel design, architecture, graphic design, interior design, product design and retail merchandising) to realize at least some aspects of the design proposal at full scale—as prototypes, partial models, or bespoke objects or events. In previous summers, for example, community projects included: designing and building a gateway structure at the edge of the sea, implementing wayfinding strategies, and screenprinting apparel and accessories—all as part of neighborhood revitalization; and generating adaptive reuse strategies for an historic structure in the center of Ortigia, which included graphic identity and branding, prototyping furniture and build-outs, and hosting a communal event to share ideas.
Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
Orientation Dates & Locations
|Term Abroad||Orientation Date & Time||Location|
|Summer 2022||March 31, 3:30-5:30pm||Virtual|
Application Open Date: September 15
Application Deadline: March 1
|Depart US||May 19|
|Arrive in Sicily||May 20|
|Classes End||July 16|
|Depart Sicily||July 18|
University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.
Fees or tuition from home institutions may be added to or differ from the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center fees listed on this page.
Billing & Payments
Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.
Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
Design in Sicily
|Tuition and educational costs||$7,653|
|International health insurance||$100|
|Housing and/or mealsIncludes rent and utilities, but no meals.||$1,922|
|Transportation (if required and included in program fee)||$0|
|Total Program Fee||$10,075|
|Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable||$-500|
|Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable||$9,575|
Estimated Additional Expenses
|Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.|
|Transportation to and from program siteRoundtrip airfare to and from Sicily.||$1,800|
|Visa/required documentsNo visa required for students traveling on US passports.||$0|
|Travel clinic/immunizations*Required COVID tests for entry into Italy and entry back into the US.||$150|
|Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure||$2,100|
|Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country|
|Housing and/or meals not included in program fee$125 per week for meals. Budget an additional $500-700 in case of required quarantine due to COVID. Contact the LAC to have this added to your SACE.||$1,000|
|Essential daily living expensesIncludes the cost of a required cell phone.||$600|
|Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country||$1,650|
Total Estimated Cost of Participation
|Total Estimated Cost of Participation||$13,325|
|Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation||$800|
|Additional Notes & Information|
|* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.|
Complete pre-application advising.
Current US passport processing times are longer than normal. If you do not have a passport, or your passport expires less than 6 months after your return date from your time abroad, apply for a new passport now.
You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
- Application Essay
- Italy Internship Application
- Italy Cover Letter & Resume
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
If you do not meet the GPA requirement for this program you will be required to submit an additional essay. It will be added to your checklist after you start your application, and you will be notified when it has been added.
Application Review Process
After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.
After You Apply
Before your program begins, review these resources.
Health & Safety
Learn more about staying healthy and safe abroad, including mental health and wellness, international travel insurance, and safety precautions.
Power of Attorney
Consider designating someone as your power of attorney to act as your legal representative while you’re abroad.
Consult our resources on student identities as you prepare for your abroad experience.
Ready to go abroad? Our travel resources will help you pack and learn what to expect.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email to
Contact Program Alum
Below is a list of additional students who participated in past program sessions. They are ready and willing to answer your questions about this program. Feel free to contact them during your decision-making process or anytime during your pre-departure preparation to get a student perspective.
Azalea, Summer 2021, Landscape Design major/Urban Studies minor
Claire, Summer 2021, Architecture BS major/Public Interest Design minor