Learning Abroad Center
This program page is for UofM students. If you are a non-UofM student, visit Summer in Sicily
cove with a beach in front of buildings

Summer in Sicily (UofM Students)

LAC Program

Spend your summer in Siracusa, Sicily, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, studying topics of importance to contemporary Sicily such as human rights and migration, international law, and marine biology and ecology. Participate in a research project with a local organization.


I-UROP Scholarship

University of Minnesota students participating in a research project on this program may be eligible for the International Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (I-UROP) Scholarship

Program Details

Sicily, Italy
Summer Session
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year


Program Locations

Accent Syracuse Study Center
Mt. Etna
Aeolian Islands
City of Noto


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, archaeological 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 marine biology. 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.

Program Model

Study Abroad Center

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 amphitheaters, and the Baroque city of Noto.


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.

Program Structure

Program Level
3000 level courses

Students take 7–10 credits in the summer


Check out the Full 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 7 and 10 credits.
  • If you choose to take 10 credits, it will be an academically intensive program.
  • If you want to take the Research in Sicily course, you will need to either take the Migration, Human Rights, & the Media course or the International Human Rights Law course. Because the research will all be human rights focused, these co-requisite courses 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 who do not have a history of Italian language will be enrolled in the 1-credit Survival Italian course.
  • Students must take a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 10 credits.
  • Students who take the Research in Sicily course will need to also enroll in one of the in the co-requisite courses (Migration, Human Rights, & the Media or International Human Rights Law). However, students who take the Migration, Human Rights, & the Media course or the International Human Rights Law course are not required to take the Research in Sicily course.

Survival Italian

Course ID
SCLY 1201
  • Summer

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.

Syllabus for Survival Italian

Language Taught In
  • Italian

Migration, Human Rights & the Media

Course ID
SCLY 3202
  • Summer

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.

Syllabus for Migration, Human Rights & the Media

Language Taught In
  • English
Fulfills Liberal Education Requirement
  • Civic Life and Ethics

International Human Rights Law

Course ID
SCLY 3206
  • Summer

Based on principles of International Law, the course intends to introduce students to the international system of protection of human rights and its foundations, by presenting and analyzing the sources, the categories, the content and the limitations, as well as the obligations which Human Rights generate for states. The course also outlines the main implementation mechanisms of protection foreseen at the universal and regional level to ensure their respect, by studying their scope and their effectiveness.

Along with this theoretical overview, the course proposes an in-depth analysis of thematic case studies from various Human Rights categories and dimensions and accompanied by site visits and guest lectures in collaboration with the Siracusa International Institute of Criminal Justice and Human Rights and international NGOs, allowing for a comparative focus on the Euro-Mediterranean region, on the following thematic areas: climate change and human rights (with relation to migration, food systems, health and sell-being, gender justice), asylum and refugee Law and policy, violence against women, the responsibilities of businesses to protect human rights (duty of care and due diligence principles, seasonal workers, migrant workers), and human rights and national security (terrorism, smuggling, migration).

Language Taught In
  • English
Fulfills Liberal Education Requirement
  • Global Perspectives

Marine & Coastal Ecology

Course ID
SCLY 3207
  • Summer

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the fascinating field of Mediterranean marine biology and ecology. You will explore the unique characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea, its diverse ecosystems, and the interplay between organisms and their environment. Through a combination of lectures, fieldwork, and laboratory exercises, you will gain a solid understanding of the ecological processes, species interactions, and conservation challenges specific to this region. Lab and fieldwork will consist of at least 26 of the total 60 contact hours.

Siracusa, and in particular the island of Ortigia, is perfectly situated for studying the marine environment. Easy access to the shoreline is within walking distance of the school, and the Plemmirio Marine Reserve Center is a stone’s throw away. The coastline varies from sandy beaches to limestone cliffs with a great variety of flora and fauna.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Recognize and identify the main fauna and flora as well as the main biotopes of the marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea
  • Compare the diverse characteristics of some representative marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Discuss the protection and conservation of marine biodiversity of marine ecosystems and, particularly related to the protection of Posidonia oceanica meadows through the intervention of environmental recovery
  • Gain basic scientific skills to conduct research in the sciences and environmental protection and conservation

Language Taught In
  • English
Introductory biology (that includes ecology) or introductory ecology
Fulfills Liberal Education Requirement
  • The Environment

Mediterranean Conflict: Humans & the Environment

Course ID
SCLY 3208
  • Summer

Our seas provide us with a wealth of natural resources, support wildlife, keep our climate stable, and create employment opportunities. However, unsustainable practices threaten the fragile balance of marine ecosystems. Climate change, pollution, and other anthropogenic pressures have led to the ongoing ocean global change, including water acidification, sea surface warming, sea water level rising, deoxygenation, and changes in nutrient and light regimes. These changes alter multiple chemical and physical seawater properties, propagating to diverse marine microorganisms, through the entire food chain, up to the top predators, including human.

Marine biodiversity is essential for well-balancing food webs, making ecosystems more able to adapt to climate change, habitat degradation, and other major ecological disruptions.

In this framework, mitigation actions, management plans, and establishment of protected areas, together with responsible and sustainable management of marine resources can be strategic for the restoration of damaged species communities and habitats.

Field trips in Eastern Sicily, with a special focus in the Siracusa and Catania areas, will show examples, case studies, and data on the presence of marine vulnerable species and their coexistence with anthropogenic activities.

Syllabus for Mediterranean Conflict: Humans & the Environment

Language Taught In
  • English
Fulfills Liberal Education Requirement
  • The Environment

Research in Sicily

Course ID
SCLY 3895
  • Summer

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.

Syllabus for Research in Sicily

Program Dates

Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:

Summer 2024

Application Open Date: August 1, 2023
Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Depart USMay 16 
Arrive SicilyMay 17
Classes endJuly 11
Depart SicilyJuly 12

*Note: Dates are currently tentative and will be finalized in the coming weeks.


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.

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.

Summer 2024

Summer in Sicily

Apartment 1—Shared Student Apartment

Summer 2024

Program Fee

  • UofM students pay program fee instead of on-campus tuition & fees while abroad
  • Billed through UofM account
Non-refundable deposit $400
Tuition and educational costs $8,307
International health insurance $128
Housing and/or mealsRent and utilities, no meals included. $2,280
Transportation (if required and included in program fee) $0
Total Program Fee $11,115
Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable $-500
Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable $10,615

Estimated Additional Expenses

  • Financial aid-eligible but not included in program fee
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 $2,200
Passport/photos $150
Visa/required documents $0
Travel clinic/immunizations* $0
Housing deposit $0
Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure $2,350
Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country
Texts/materials $50
Housing and/or meals not included in program fee$150 per week for meals. $1,200
Essential daily living expensesIncludes the cost of a required cell phone $600
Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country $1,850

Total Estimated Cost of Participation

  • UofM students—compare this to your estimated on campus cost of attendance
Total Estimated Cost of Participation $14,815
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.


The COVID-19 vaccine series is strongly recommended, pursuant to CDC guidelines, but not required for participation in this program.

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:

  • Application Essay
  • Course Enrollment Form

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.

Student Identity

Consult our resources on student identities as you prepare for your abroad experience.

Travel Resources

Ready to go abroad? Our travel resources will help you pack and learn what to expect.

Program Contact

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

Molly Green at [email protected], or call at 612.625.6076

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.

Ellie W. - Summer 2023, Architecture major/Sustainability Studies minor