Summer in Sicily
Spend your summer in Siracusa, Sicily, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, studying the rich and complicated history through topics such as migration, human rights, entrepreneurship and supply chain management. Participate in a research project with a local organization.
Known for its unique blend of cultures, 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 uncovering the rich and complicated history that has led to modern day Sicily through topics like human rights, migration, and business. Further immerse yourself in the culture by doing research with a local human rights organization. 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.
Excursions around the island of Sicily will be included and will be tied to academic content. 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 6–9 credits in the summer
Check out the Course List for syllabi and brief course descriptions as well as University of Minnesota–Twin Cities course equivalencies.
All courses will incorporate excursions and local study tours around Sicily to engage you with the local culture.
Additional Information about the Coursework
- You will take between 6 and 9 credits.
- If you choose to take 9 credits, it will be an academically intensive program.
- There are two Human Rights focused courses and two Business focused courses, but you are welcome to choose courses across disciplines.
- If you want to take the Research in Sicily course, you will also be enrolled in the co-requisite Migration, Human Rights, & the Media course. Because the research will all be human rights focused, this co-requisite course will give you the contextual knowledge to succeed in your research project.
Full Course List
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 take a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 9 credits.
Students who take the Research in Sicily course will also be enrolled in the co-requisite Migration, Human Rights, & the Media course. However, students who take the Migration, Human Rights, & the Media course are not required to take the Research in Sicily course.
Entrepreneurship in Southern Italy: Small Businesses as Drivers of Social Development
Building a new business is a difficult endeavor anywhere in the world; tenacity, creativity and endless intrinsic motivation are needed to drive the entrepreneurial spirit. Successful entrepreneurship also requires government and institutional support, infrastructure, and investment. This is clear in the development of “hubs” - tech, finance, AI, etc. - in urban centers around the globe. Such factors create business ecosystems where new entrants to a specific field can thrive. This is also true in Italy.
As one of the world’s most industrialized economies, Italy has important manufacturing, finance, and agricultural hubs that foster entrepreneurial growth. However, in Southern Italy, the obstacles to entrepreneurship are outsized in comparison to Northern Italy. Poor infrastructure, low cooperation, and a lack of entrepreneurial education have helped to perpetuate slow development of the South. Young people often move north or abroad to study and work. This phenomenon, oftentimes dubbed the “brain drain,” can also be seen replicated in other highly industrialized countries, where capital, knowledge, and labor end up concentrating in specific geographical areas creating social divides. Nonetheless, entrepreneurship in Southern Italy is growing. In recent years, over 50% of new small businesses registered in Italy were concentrated in the South and Island regions of the country. Thanks to focalized national and regional funding initiatives and collective advocacy movements for business development in Southern Italy, new companies have been able to take root.
Ethics & Integrity in Supply Chain: Fair Trade, Corruption, & Labor Rights in Sicily
Ethics and integrity in supply chain management are continually coming into question as global discussions of fair trade, labor practices, and corruption are more frequently exposed to be connected to business-as-usual practices. Sicily can be viewed as a microcosm of global supply chain challenges and as a laboratory for ethical business practices. From international labor market competition and inequality to the logistics of operating from an island and the implications of corruption and organized crime, businesses of all scales find themselves benefitting from the island’s geo-political integration in the European Union but also struggling with poor infrastructure, transnational competition, complex transportation logistics, and shifting cultural beliefs.
This course focuses on the language and tools of sustainability and responsibility as new standard currencies in business and challenges students to consider complex issues of ethics and integrity within real-world business cases in the Sicilian economic and sociocultural context. As a result of this analysis, students will better understand the realities of applying ethical frameworks to complex, global business environments, and also recognize the medium- and long-term impacts of corporate decisions that can lead to not only thriving businesses ready to adapt to the demands of new and evolving markets, but also to sustain local communities and address complex economic and social challenges through innovation.
Migration, Human Rights & the Media
This course will provide undergraduate students with an advanced knowledge of policies, practices, discourses and media coverage of migration and asylum in the Mediterranean, while focusing on migration crises in the region as well as on human rights issues. It offers students a comprehensive view of the different models and challenges related to the complex social phenomenon of migration, as well as its main actors and processes. The complexity of migration phenomena will be disentangled through a cross-cutting perspective that combine distinct yet complementary study areas: politological and sociological approaches to analyzing European migratory flows and policies, human rights and criminal justice perspectives on migration, and analysis of contemporary communication strategies, framing, media coverage and related impacts.
Research in Sicily
This course aims to provide undergraduate students with an advanced knowledge of how to conduct research on migration, asylum, and human rights in the Mediterranean. It delves into the research process and the ensuing methodology, equipping students with a fully-fledged ‘toolbox’ and offering them the opportunity to learn the appropriate analytical methods and data collection techniques to investigate migration and asylum, and implement comparative research designs. The course aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice, giving students the opportunity to understand, learn and experience the appropriate research approaches, methodological and data-collection tools in relation to the many aspects of migration. Moreover, students will have the possibility to conduct original research, and take advantage of resources in Sicily as well as, possibly, analyzing data and sources in the US, thus implementing a comparative research approach.
Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
Application Open Date: September 15, 2021
Application Deadline: March 1, 2022
|Depart US||Late May (exact dates TBD)|
|Arrive in Italy||Late May (exact dates TBD)|
|Depart Italy||Early July (exact dates 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.
Due to COVID-19, current US passport processing times are significantly delayed. 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, and pay for expedited processing.
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
- Course Enrollment Form
- Home Institution Nomination (Non-UofM students only)
- Transcript (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 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