Design in Sicily
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, or 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 Syracuse, where you will spend your summer, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the outstanding Greek, Roman, and Baroque monuments, archaelogical 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 interning with a local company, or participating in intensive design workshops with local and international designers. This program integrates excursions to other areas around Sicily to bring course content to life. The program also begins with 5 days in Rome, where you will start learning about the history, design, and culture of Italy.
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 starts out with 5 days in Rome, to start learning the history, design, and culture of Italy. Once in Sicily, excursions around the island will be included. Excursions could include Mount Etna, Catania, Taormina, Greek ampitheaters, the Baroque city of Noto, etc.
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 9 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 Syracuse as your classroom as you use the city to work on your sketches, and explore the many ways that design is incorporated into this city. Internships in English and Italian give students the opportunity to participate in Italian work culture and workshops allow students the opportunity to engage in the design process with local and international designers.
Check out the Course List for brief course descriptions and University of Minnesota–Twin Cities course equivalencies.
All courses will incorporate study tours which will allow you to learn about areas in and outside of Syracuse.
Students on this track will spend the first six weeks of the program in the Italian Design Studio: Image-Making course as well as the Internship in Sicily course. The last two weeks of the program will be spent engaging in intensive design workshops at the MADE Academy with local and international designers.
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.
Physical making remains central to how we understand and design the world around us, even as we become a more digitally connected, global world. These project-based, making-intensive courses celebrate the act and craft of individual hand-making in community with other makers. The specific theme and project change each year and are determined by the expert instructors in consultation with MADE Academy leadership. They are taught by international designers at the MADE Academy, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Syracuse, Italy.
Internship in Sicily
This course explores the world of work in Italy and how students respond to the challenges that they can expect to encounter while interning in Sicily. A list of potential internship placement areas can be found here.
Application Open Date: August 1
Application Deadline: March 1
|Depart US||May 21|
|Arrive in Sicily||May 22|
|Classes End||July 17|
|Depart Sicily||July 19|
Application Open Date: September 15
Application Deadline: March 1
|Arrive in Sicily||TBD|
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.
Complete pre-application advising.
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 two additional application items—the Low GPA Essay and Special Circumstances Recommendation. Both items will be added to your checklist after you start your application, and you will be notified when they have 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.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email to