Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge, during a sunset

Study & Intern in Florence

  1. Program Details

    Learn or improve your Italian while strolling the streets of Michelangelo and Dante. Study art in world-famous museums and work side by side with locals as an intern. Explore contemporary and historical issues facing Italy through excursions around Tuscany, and a study tour to Sicily.

    Location Florence, Italy
    Term Fall Semester, Spring Semester
    Housing Apartment, Homestay
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students, Non UofM Students
    Student Year Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  3. About Study & Intern in Florence

    Experience Italian life and culture, past and present, in the beautiful and lively city of Florence. Famous for its Renaissance legacy, Florence is a thriving city with a fascinating mix of historic and contemporary culture. Buses, taxis, and mopeds drive within feet of the Duomo, Florence's magnificent cathedral; chic shops and elegant restaurants line the charming avenues; historic piazzas, ringed with outdoor cafés, host performance artists and flea markets. Enjoy the region's mild climate and world-famous cuisine in one of Europe's most beautiful cities.

    Take classes in art, art history, business, Italian language, history, sociology, psychology, photography, and retail design. Attend class in the Oltrarno neighborhood, on the south side of the Arno river, in the Piazza Santo Spirito, which is home to one of Florence’s best-known basilicas—Santa Maria del Santo Spirito. This neighborhood is within easy walking distance of major monuments and museums. The area around Piazza Santo Spirito is still very much inhabited by Florentines and full of artisans, artists, galleries, trattorie, and antique shops, which provide a unique atmosphere. You can join sport teams, take part in a language exchange, volunteer, or participate in student groups.

    Housing & Meals


    Students choosing to live with a host family will experience true Florentine life. You will have a furnished bedroom in an Italian home with some meals included. A homestay offers a great opportunity to excel in your Italian language ability and live and learn with Florentines, who can give you a glimpse into true Italian life.


    Students choosing an apartment will be housed with other study abroad students on the program. You will live in a furnished student apartment with two to four bedrooms and will be responsible for your own meals.


    In addition to exploring Florence all students participate in a 5-day study tour to Sicily. This study tour includes intensive language study, historical tours, guest lectures and a visit to Mount Etna. 

    All students will have the opportunity to experience Italian host families through a hosted evening dinner with an Italian family.


    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.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Understand how cultural heritage affects contemporary Italian society
    • Uncover a more complex understanding of Italy through visits to various geographic regions of the country
    • Gain a deeper understanding of Florence and Italian culture through experiential classes and required Italian language learning
    • Develop a better understanding of own values and beliefs through intercultural activities
    • Develop critical and analytical thinking skills that can later be leveraged in industry and the workplace

    Faculty & Staff

    On-site support is provided by ACCENT International. Students take courses at the ACCENT center and have access to a computer lab and classroom space. ACCENT on-site staff provide information to students regarding cultural activities as well as ensuring 24-hour emergency support. ACCENT provides housing, classrooms and study areas, as well as on-site orientation, program excursions and social and cultural events. Italian and international faculty from universities in and around Florence provide all course instruction.

    About the Learning Abroad Center

    Learning Abroad Center programs are:

    • Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
    • Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
    • Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
    • Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.
  4. Program Structure

    Program Type Field Study, Study Abroad Center
    Program Level 1000–3000 level courses

    14–18 credits per semester

    Study Italian language while also taking courses taught in English in a variety of fields. You'll be able to satisfy liberal education requirements and have the opportunity to gain professional experience through an internship with a Florentine company.


    Check out the Course List for syllabi and brief course descriptions as well as University of Minnesota–Twin Cities course equivalencies. 

    All semester courses will incorporate excursions and local study tours around Florence to engage you with the local culture. The following extended study tour may be incorporated into the semester program:

    • A one week study tour to the coastal town of Siracusa in Sicily, a city rich in ancient history. While in Sicily, you will study the Italian language and have guest lectures and visits related to your semester courses

    Course Options

    Select the term and, where applicable, the number of semesters (or equivalent) of language instruction you will have completed by the time you start the program.

    Term Take the Following


    Semesters of Italian


    Take the Following Courses
    FLOR 1001: Italian 1

    3–5 Additional Non-Language Courses


    Take the Following
    FLOR 1002: Italian 2

    3–5 Additional Non-Language Courses


    Take the Following
    FLOR 1003: Italian 2

    3–5 Additional Non-Language Courses


    Take the Following
    FLOR 1004: Italian 3

    3–5 Additional Non-Language Courses


    Take the Following
    FLOR 3100: Italian 3

    3–5 Additional Non-Language Courses
  5. Instructions for the Course Enrollment Form

    • You will be enrolled in the courses you list on the Course Enrollment form, unless you hear otherwise from our office
    • All students must select one Italian language class, and must take a minumum of 13 credits
    • Due to the size of the spring semester program, we may need to cap some courses and internship placements. Therefore, we recommend applying early, and finalizing your courses with your academic advisors. We also recommend having backup courses in mind in case one is full.

    Italian Language Courses

    Italian I
    FLOR 1001
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    First semester Italian. Develop basic listening, speaking, reading, writing, and communicative competence skills. Some cultural readings are included. No prerequisite.

    Syllabus for Italian I (PDF)

    Italian 2
    FLOR 1002 FLOR 1003
    Fall & Spring
    5 Credits

    Further develop basic skills, and improve conversation and comprehension proficiency as well as reading and writing skills. Includes grammar review. Prerequisite: Completion of one or two semesters of Italian language. If you have completed one semester of Italian, register for FLOR 1002. If you have completed two semesters of Italian, register for FLOR 1003.

    Syllabus for 1002 (PDF)

    Syllabus for 1003 (PDF)

    Italian 3
    FLOR 1004 FLOR 3100
    Fall & Spring
    3 or 5 Credits

    This intermediate through advanced language course will focus on practical skills while emphasizing conversation and vocabulary building. Prerequisite: Completion of three or four semesters of Italian language. If you have completed three semesters of Italian, register for the 5-credit FLOR 1004. If you have completed 4 semesters of Italian, register for the 3-credit FLOR 3100. The 3-credit version of the course has fewer tests, and more focus on a higher level of oral and written work.

    Syllabus for 1004 (PDF)

    Syllabus for 3100 (PDF)

    Area Study Courses

    Sociology of Crime: Mafia & The Media in Italy
    FLOR 3346
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    The course will deal with the most relevant sociological theories on crime as a particular form of deviance. The aim is to apply different theoretical perspectives to the study of the deep relation between crime and culture in our contemporary societies. Given that crime and culture are two complex and multilayered notions, a variety of materials will be used (sociological essays, newspapers, audiovisuals, TV shows, movies, music, among others) in order to analyze specific case studies both from the US and Italy using a cross-cultural comparative perspective and to stimulate an active in-class students’ participation.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirements: Social Sciences core and Global Perspectives theme.

    Syllabus for Sociology of Crime (PDF)

    Florence & the Mediterranean—A Sea of Culture
    FLOR 3012
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    The sea is a place where cultures meet. This course will explore its influence, with a special focus on art history and a mainly Italian and Florentine point of view. Topics will include: the impact of Islamic art on Western culture; the role of Byzantine art in the development of Florentine painting; the rediscovery of Greek classical culture and its importance in Renaissance civilization; the consequences of the fall of Constantinople and of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. Students will explore Florentine churches, palaces, and museums in search of visual evidence of the links between the city and the diversity of Mediterranean culture.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Arts & Humanities core and Global Perspectives Theme, and is equivalent to the Art History course ArtH 5323.

    Syllabus for Florence & the Mediterranean (PDF)

    Cross Cultural Psychology
    FLOR 3006
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    This course attempts to examine core principles of psychology from a cultural perspective and how communication and culture interrelate. Students will use Italy and Italian culture as an experiential classroom to facilitate intercultural awareness.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Social Sciences core and Global Perspectives Theme

    Syllabus for Cross Cultural Psychology (PDF)

    Drawing Studio, Beginning or Intermediate
    FLOR 1201 FLOR 3201
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    Students work from the model, with still life and from natural surroundings, and proceed through exercises designed to refine the senses, the student learns to perceive the subject in ways that consider placement of form and division of space. Concepts such as volume, negative space, and the impact of every mark or imprint are presented. Perspective, proportion, composition, and analytical expression, as well as thorough exploration of the possibilities and limitations of various drawing media—pencil, pen, drawing stick, ink, and charcoal—are all confronted. Group and individual critiques are given regularly.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Arts & Humanities Core

    Syllabus for Drawing Studio (PDF)

    Photography for Social Media
    FLOR 3016
    3 Credits

    This course will introduce students to the principles of photography for social media and how essential it is to learn about storytelling. Students will also learn about the power of imagery and its wider impact in the digital world. While an increasing amount of people carry around a phone every day, how many really know the potential of these powerful cameras, and how to use them to create and share images that make an impact with social media audiences? The course will appeal to students majoring in Communication, Marketing, Design, Journalism, Sociology and to all students interested in learning practical skills in photography, including compositional and technical aspects to aid their camera work

    Approved for: Arts and Humanities Core & Global Perspectives Theme.

    Students may either take this course, or the Photography: Exploring Society through the Camera's Lens course. You are not able to take both photography courses.

    Syllabus for Photography of Social Media (PDF)

    Photography: Exploring Society Through the Camera's Lens
    FLOR 3004
    3 Credits

    From its beginning, photography has been used as a tool for the exploration of society, and photographers have taken that as one of their tasks. This class will explore digital photography as a tool to view Italian society (and yourself within that society) through various photographic exercises. Students will need a digital SLR camera for this course.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Arts & Humanities Core & Global Perspectives Theme.

    Syllabus for Photography (PDF)

    Food and Identity in the Mediterranean: A Cultural History
    FLOR 3015
    3 Credits

    This course is an investigation into how the identities of different peoples in the Mediterranean can be understood through the lens of the food they cultivate, trade and eat. After an introduction to different definitions of identity, with a particular focus on the formation, maintenance and evolution of group identity through cultural practices, the course will analyze the history and culture of food in different civilizations of the Mediterranean basi

    Syllabus for Food and Identity in the Mediterranean (PDF)

    Fashion & Arts Communication
    FLOR 3014
    3 Credits

    This course was structured out of four core ideas: how fashion designers and artists communicate and market their art; how institutions communicate and market the fashion items and artworks they have on display; how the audience communicates their experience of fashion and of art and how this influences marketing and promotional strategies; how these three processes are implemented through communication and marketing channels and for which purposes. The course will explore its core ideas integrating theoretical and experiential-learning approaches.

    Approved for: Global Perspectives Theme and Retail Merchandising Elective area

    Syllabus for Fashion & Arts Communication (PDF)

    History & Sociology of Modern Consumerism
    FLOR 3005
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    This course will focus on the rise and development of consumer cultures with specific emphasis on the similarities and differences between the Italian and US American practices using Italian products as the case study. The aim is to study and to apply interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to the study of consumer society now and in the past. The course will explore key substantive themes in the history and sociology of consumption.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Historical Perspectives Core & Global Perspectives Theme.
    *This course will meet the RM 4123 Living in a Consumer Society requirement for Retail Merchandising, and JOUR 4274 Advertising and Society for Journalism School students.

     Syllabus for History & Sociology of Modern Consumerism (PDF)

    Made in Italy: Retail Merchandising in Florence
    FLOR 3007
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    The course explores the relationships linking project, merchandising and market and provides, through direct experience, the methodologies and socio-cultural skills to critically evaluate the development phases of a business project. Students will be getting an insight on how the Italian style (in fashion, cultural events, design, food) evolved and changed, on the principles around which these fields revolve, and on their role in the economic, sociological and psychological elements of society.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Global Perspectives Theme
    *This course will meet the RM 4217 International Retail Markets requirement for Retail Merchandising, and JOUR 4259 Case Studies in Strategic Communication for Journalism School students.

    Syllabus for Retail Merchandising in Florence (PDF)

    Entrepreneurship: Small Businesses in Florence
    FLOR 3008
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    This course will examine the main economic issues concerning microeconomic theory directly related to the study of the European economy with special focus on Italian peculiarities. Students will discuss the characteristics of the role of EU and the recent monetary union that comes from a long period of economic coordination in a globalized context. Students will study markets characteristics through the analysis of the Italian economic structure, discuss the past and the future of “Made in Italy” sectors and the position of Italy in the international markets.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Social Sciences core and Global Perspectives Theme. 
    *This course is also approved for the Retail Merchandising Elective area.

    Syllabus for Entrepreneurship (PDF)

    Internships in Florence: A Comparative Approach to the Italian Workforce
    FLOR 3009
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    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 Florence. You can find more information on internship placements here.

    Syllabus for Internship in Florence (PDF)

    Literary Representations of Florence: Space, Self, & the Other
    FLOR 3010W
    Fall & Spring
    3 Credits

    The course examines literary representations of Italy, with a focus on Florence and its surroundings, and analyzes how discourses of gender, power, national and individual identity inform literary constructions of the Italian landscape and of the Italian city from the 19th Century to the present. Travel writings as well as poetry and fiction inspired by or set in Florence by authors from different eras and traditions will be contrasted with representations of the Italian, Tuscan, and Florentine space by Italian authors.

    Approved for the following Liberal Education Requirement: Literature Core and Global Perspectives Theme. This course has also been approved as Writing Intensive.

    Syllabus for Literary Representations of Florence (PDF)

    The Traveling Self: Writing Autobiography in Italy & Florence
    FLOR 3xxx
    3 Credits

    Traveling abroad has always been, in fact, an experience of enrichment, enhancement and transformation of a traveler’s identity and intimate self. Starting from this assumption, this Creative Writing course will use the narrative strategies offered by modern and contemporary autobiography to draw inspiration from the students’ Italian and European travel experience. At the same time a ‘classic’ field in literature and a flourishing contemporary trend, the genre of autobiography defies categories and allows to experiment with innovative forms - from diary to travelogue, from literary nonfiction to the so-called “autofiction” – that are also currently evolving under the influence of the social networks and the possibilities of augmented experience offered by the web.

    Syllabus for The Traveling Self (PDF)

    Entrepreneurship: The Italy Way
    3 Credits

    Course description coming soon

    Made in Italy: Marketing the Italian Style
    3 Credits

    Course description coming soon

    Fashion & Media in Italy
    3 Credits

    Course description coming soon

    Florence Overexposed: Photography, Cinema, and Urban Development
    3 Credits

    Course description coming soon

    Bread, Wine, & Olive Oil: A Culinary History of Italy
    3 Credits

    Course description coming soon

    Optional Online Course

    Global Identity
    OLPD 3332
    1 credit
    Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience with Your Future is an optional 1-credit online course that helps you process your international experience and apply what you've learned upon your return.  Global Identity gives you the opportunity to work individually with a trained cultural mentor, helping you articulate your newly acquired skills and differentiating you from your peers.

    This course is offered at no additional cost on programs six weeks or longer. The Learning Abroad Center will email out registration instructions, or you may contact a program team member.

    Syllabus for Global Identity (PDF)

  6. Internships

    Academic internships are available and are ideal for becoming more immersed in Italian culture while gaining work experience. Previous Italian language is not required, but more opportunities are available for students with a background in the language. Interested students should complete the internship application materials on the application checklist. You can expect to work about 8-12 hours per week, and will earn 3 credits through your time at the internship combined with the Internships in Florence: A Comparative Approach to the Italian Workforce course. 

    After being accepted into the program, internship materials will be sent to our on-site staff to begin the placement process. Because Italians put a strong emphasis on in-person communication, a majority of the placements will be secured after the students arrive in Florence and interview with their prospective employer. A majority of semester students can expect to start their internship by the second or third week of classes.

    Past internships have been identified in the fields listed below, but this is not a complete list. If you do not see a field that you are interested in, inquire at the Learning Abroad Center about the possibility of doing an internship in that field.

    • Advertising
    • Art
    • Art History
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Event Planning
    • Journalism
    • Marketing
    • Public Relations
    • Social Media
    • Tourism
  7. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Program Term App Open Date Deadline*
    Spring 2021 May 1 Oct 1
    Depart US Jan 12
    Arrive in Florence Jan 13
    Orientation Jan 14 – 15
    Classes Begin Jan 18
    Last Day of Classes Apr 30
    Departure Date May 1
    Fall 2021 Dec 18 May 1
    US Departure Aug 24
    Arrive in Florence Aug 25
    Italy Departure Dec 10

    *Program dates are subject to change. Contact the LAC for verification of dates before purchasing your airfare.
    **If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    Orientation Dates & Locations

    Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

    See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    Fall 2019 Thursday, April 25, 2019, 3:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. 230 Blegen
  8. Fees for Study & Intern in Florence

    University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.

    Fall 2021 Program Fees

    Fall 2021 fees are finalized but have not yet been added to the website. Reach out to the program contact for more information.

    Spring 2021 Program Fees


    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.

    Bridging Loan

    Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.

    Cancellation Policy

    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.
  9. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term Select Fall or Spring
    Program Name Study & Intern in Florence
    Track Name Study & Intern in Florence
    Country Italy


    May & Summer Programs – University of Minnesota Students

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Apply Now

    May & Summer Programs – Non-University of Minnesota Students

    Once you submit your application, Learning Abroad Center staff will create a University of Minnesota student internet account for you. You will use this account to access the Education Abroad Application System, and other University of Minnesota services. You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Our staff will contact you within 2–3 business days with your internet account information, and additional application instructions.

    Apply Now

    Fall 2021 & Beyond Programs – All students

    All students, both UofM and Non-UofM should use this apply button if applying for a program Fall 2021 or beyond (academic year, winter break etc.). You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Apply Now


    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:

    • Course Enrollment Form

    • Transcript (Non-UofM students only)
    • Italy Internship Application (Required only for internship applicants)
    • Italy Cover Letter & Resume (Required only for internship applicants)
    • Home Institution Nomination (Non-UofM students only)

    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 have two weeks to confirm your spot on the program. Once confirmed, you will have additional required forms to complete before participating in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.

  10. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Whitney Westley Fisher or call at 612.625.8827.

  11. 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.
    • Olivia, Fall 2019, Marketing major, lived in an apartment.
    • Adrian, Fall 2019, Human Resource Development major, lived in a homestay, participated in an internship. 
    • Niela, Fall 2019, Child Psychology major, lived in an apartment, participated in an internship. 
    • Luke, Fall 2019, Marketing major, lived in an apartment, participated in an internship. 
    • Morgan, Fall 2019, Marketing major, lived in an apartment, participated in an internship. 
    • Paige, Fall 2019, Journalism major, lived in an apartment, participated in an internship. 
Program Handbook Visa Information

COVID-19 Update

This program was canceled for spring semester 2021 due to COVID-19.