Prepare to be charmed by Siena’s medieval history and rich culture. Located on three hills in the heart of the enchanting Tuscan countryside, this ancient city’s historical center has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once you arrive, it’s easy to see why.
This program’s core course, Presence of the Past, makes Siena and the Tuscan countryside your classroom through activities that explore important sites in and around the city, introducing you to the beauty of Siena’s cultural and artistic heritage.
While you’re in Siena, you’ll not only have time to see the sites, but also to interact with Italians and improve your Italian speaking skills. With an integrated curriculum of English- and Italian-taught courses led by Italian faculty, IES Abroad Siena offers you the opportunity to increase your Italian language skills no matter what your proficiency level.
If you have four or more semesters of Italian, we encourage you to enroll in courses alongside local students at the Università degli Studi di Siena.
Explore the many piazzas, cathedrals, and squares inside Siena’s city walls that harken back to the Middle Ages. This isn’t just an exhibit at a museum—this is where you’ll live. Welcome to study abroad!
These dates are preliminary and are subject to change. Students should not book flights according to these dates.
If taking IES Abroad courses only
If taking courses at a partner institution
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.
We offer unique courses that explore Italian Language, History, and Culture, as well as other topics, through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and the opportunity to take courses at Università degli Studi di Siena enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
You take 15–19 credit hours per semester, and all courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified. The course options that are available to you are determined by language proficiency, based on the results of your pre-departure and on-site language tests.
Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components distinguished by language level:
This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
Università degli Studi di Sienawww.unisi.it
Founded in the 13th century, the Università degli Studi di Siena is one of the oldest universities in Italy. Its campus, which is spread throughout the city, is an integral part of the community. Occupying space in several historic buildings, including subterranean spaces and crypts, the University allows students to take in the rich history of the city as they study.
Highly regarded courses are available in the following areas:
Students who choose to enroll in individual courses (corsi singoli) at the Università degli Studi di Siena must apply for outside enrollment through the Italian Consulate in the U.S.
Course offerings vary from semester to semester. Exact course availability is determined shortly before the start of each semester. For this reason, it will not be possible for you to officially register until your arrival in Siena; however you will need to refer to current course offerings in order to preregister as part of your application.
University buildings are spread throughout the city and are within walking distance of the IES Abroad Center.
While adding study abroad to your resume is impressive enough, adding an international internship experience is even more powerful, and can help distinguish your application for graduate school or a job opportunity in today’s competitive job market.
An internship provides an invaluable cultural experience, and helps you develop professional and personal skills.
IES Abroad Siena organizes field study trips that complement IES Abroad courses and contribute to a general knowledge of Italian culture and society.
Past field study excursions include:
San Domenico Basilica, Banchi di Sopra, Piazza Tolomei, Croce del Travaglio, Loggia Della Mercanzia, "Strada Romana"
Discover how the past was used to enrich the cultural identity of the historic present and what lessons the classical past offered.
Palazzo Pubblico - Town Hall
Learn about the architecture and history of Palazzo Pubblico and its chapel.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Siena's Duomo
Conduct a case study of the Duomo area and find out about the how Sienese imagery was projected onto the public spaces in the city to present a distict urban identity.
Ancient Hospital of Santa Maria Della Scala
Consider the roles pilgrimage and devotional ritual played at Siena’s prestigious hospital. Visit the dungeons of the hospital and the “charnel house” where Black Death victims’ bones can be found.
Contrada Della Civetta Territories and Rocca Salimbeni
Visit museums and analyze the Salimbeni’s square and buildings, as well as the interior of the Rocca.
Our job is to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding what landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Siena, it will feel like home.
Apartments - Share an apartment and make friends with local Italian students in the historic center of town. Furnished apartments are single-sex, and usually two IES Abroad students share a bedroom. Apartments have equipped kitchens, and you are responsible for your own meals.
Homestays - Choosing to live in a homestay is the best way to get to know the “real” Siena and experience cultural integration. Homestays generally house one or two students. Accommodations vary, and hosts will provide you with light daily breakfasts and one additional daily meal, usually dinner.
Part of making you feel at home in Siena is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
The program begins with a two-week orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Siena staff, your fellow students, and the city of Siena. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during the weeks.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
In addition to intensive Italian language sessions, settle into your new home in Siena as you sample aperitivi with Italian students; visit the Contrada Museum; pick olives in the Tuscan countryside; and explore the medieval past of Siena’s surroundings during an archeological excursion.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Siena through cultural events, such as:
Università degli Studi di Siena - University Clubs & Events
One of the best ways to integrate yourself into the host culture and to meet local students is to become involved in groups and activities on campus. There are several sports clubs and activities, as well as student societies that you can join at the Università. Click here for more information.
Although your adventure begins in Siena, our field trips take you to other cities in Italy to provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Siena. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Past destinations are listed below.
2 Days | Fall
Explore the Emilia Romagna region and medieval Bologna, the lively town of red-brick squares that is home to the oldest university in Europe.
Umbria (Assisi, Perugia, and Bevagna)
2 Days | Spring
St. Francis of Assisi lived and ministered in this beautiful hill town that offers a wealth of artistic and cultural treasures. Gain insight into the development of one of Italy’s most beautiful and peaceful regions.
2 Days | Fall
Visit this modern metropolis, where ancient ruins coincide with contemporary European life. From architectural delights to quaint sidewalk cafés, this Italian city encapsulates the spirit of the ancient world and modern Europe.
3 Days | Spring
Spend three days discovering Milan, world-renowned as the European capital of fashion, design, architecture, publishing, modern art, and music.
IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and length of stay may vary according to term and availability
Located in a beautiful liberty-style villa in the San Prospero area of the city on a quiet tree-lined street, IES Abroad Siena overlooks the historic town center. You will enjoy Siena’s large open market and several parks that are just steps away.
IES Abroad Siena Center Director - Veronica Semeraro
IES Abroad Staff
Chia JorentoStudent Services Coordinator
Niccolò Conti,Political Science
PhD in Politics, Universita degli Studi di Siena
Marco Gaetani,Philosophy/Political Science
Ph.D. in Semiotics and Psychology of Symbolic Communication, Universita degli Studi di Siena
Silvia Giorgi,Art History
Ph.D. in Classics, Universita degli Studi di Siena
Daniele Lo Cascio,Literature/Religious Studies
Ph.D. in Italianistica, Universita degli Studi di Siena
Ph.D. in Economics, Universita di Verona
Francesco Mosetti Casaretto,Literature
Ph.D. in Medieval Latin Literature, Universita di Firenze
Sara Pizziconi,Art History
Masters in Art History, Universita degli Studi di Siena
Ph.D. in Classics, Universita degli Studi di Siena