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 required core course, Presence of the Past, makes Siena and Tuscany 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. 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 live.
While you’re in Siena, you not only have time to see the sites, but also to interact with Italians and immerse yourself in the local culture. With an integrated curriculum of English- and Italian-taught courses led by Italian faculty, IES Abroad Siena offers you the opportunity to enhance your Italian language skills no matter what your proficiency level.
Take advantage of student life in Siena as you participate in Università degli Studi di Siena-sponsored activities and enjoy the libraries, cafeterias, and WiFi in university buildings throughout the city. You may be able to take courses alongside local students at the university if you are at an advanced Italian language level or meet the course prerequisites to take English-taught Business and Economics courses.
We want you to feel at home in Siena, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into your life in Siena. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible. You even have the opportunity to enroll in an internship, which includes time spent working at your placement in addition to an academic seminar that helps you contextualize what you’re learning.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
If taking only IES Abroad courses.
If taking courses at the University of Siena.
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 must take 15–19 credits 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.
Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:
Signature CourseLiving Siena: Exploring Historical & Contemporary Tuscan Culture
Take learning outside the classroom as you explore Tuscany in this program’s signature course and develop an independent research project throughout the semester. You’ll visit sites including:
This is a full list of courses offered in Siena. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings for your term in your MyIESabroad account. The final course list for each term will depend on faculty availability, students interested in each course, and discipline diversity.
To learn more about IES Abroad’s innovative theoretical and pedagogical approaches to teaching language abroad, refer to the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication.
Università degli Studi di Sienawww.unisi.itFounded in the 13th century, the Università is one of Europe’s oldest universities. The campus is spread throughout the city, including subterranean spaces and crypts.
Location University buildings are spread throughout the city and are within walking distance of the IES Abroad Center.
English-Taught Business and Economics Courses
Enroll in one of the following courses:
Starting in 2017-18
These business and economics courses will carry 4.5 IES Abroad credits each.
Highly regarded courses are available in the following disciplines:
Most courses carry 3 credits but credits can vary based on course level. 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.
Get to know local and international students through activities at the Università degli Studi di Siena. You will be provided with a membership to the Erasmus student network, a group which organizes social activities for international students. You will also receive periodical newsletters publicizing events around Siena, and on-site staff will assist you with getting involved in activities such as clubs or gyms.
A few highlights of student life at the Università include:
IES Abroad Siena organizes course-related excursions that complement your courses and contribute to your knowledge of Italian culture and society. All course-related excursions are included in your program fee and depend on your course enrollment.
Past course-related excursions have included:
Interning while you study in Siena gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:
All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a 3-credit seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship.
Personalized PlacementsOnce you indicate your interest in an internship, we work with you to find the ideal internship placement that fulfills your academic and career goals. We've placed students with a wide variety of organizations and businesses. If we don’t currently work with a business or organization in your field of interest, we'll search for a placement that's right for you.
Placments FieldsPast students have interned in the following fields. Don’t see your field listed here? Just talk to your IES Abroad Advisor—new internships are always being added.
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which 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.
ApartmentsShare an apartment with other IES Abroad students and a local Italian student in the historic center of town. Furnished apartments are single-sex, and usually two students share a bedroom. Apartments have equipped kitchens, and you are responsible for your own meals. Italian roommates can help with improving your Italian language skills, getting to know Siena, and immersing yourself in the local culture. They also serve as a first point of contact for housing questions.
Choosing to live in a homestay is a great way to experience cultural integration. Homestays generally house one or two students. Accommodations vary, and hosts provide you with light daily breakfasts and one additional daily meal.
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 one-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 week.
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 archaeological excursion.
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.
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.
Even though your adventure starts in Siena, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the cultures and traditions of your host country. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations:
FlorenceTwo 1-Day Trips | Fall & SpringCompare the cosmopolitan city of Florence to your home of Siena on two day-long trips. As IES Abroad faculty guide you through world-renowned monuments of art and architecture, they help you explore Florence’s role in Italy from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to the modern era. The histories of Siena and Florence have been intertwined for centuries, and these trips will give you deep insight to the history of the Tuscan region.
Bologna3 Days | FallSpend three days discovering some of the many cultural and historical monuments in Bologna and the Emilia Romagna region—one of the richest and most beautiful in Italy, known for its regional cuisine.
San Gimignano1 Day | FallAfter a visit and lunch in a local agriturismo, explore the small, walled, medieval town known for its skyline which earns the town its nickname of “The Town of Fine Towers.”
Pienza & Montalcino1 Day | FallExplore Pienza—the ideal Renaissance town, wanted by Pope Pius II—and Montalcino. This day trip consists of visiting the Palazzo Piccolomini with its beautiful garden and the Cathedral, touring the Sant’Antimo Abbey, and partaking in a wine tasting.
Milan3 Days | SpringSpend three days discovering Milan, world-renowned as the European capital of fashion, design, architecture, publishing, modern art, and music.
Assisi1 Day | SpringSt. Francis of Assisi lived and ministered in this beautiful hill town that offers a wealth of artistic and cultural treasures. Learn more about the development of one of Italy’s most beautiful and peaceful regions.
Via Francigena1 Day | SpringPartake in a hiking outing along the Siena portion of an old pilgrimage route running from Rome to France.
IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and length of stay may vary according to term and availability.
About the Center
The IES Abroad Siena Center is located in a palace on the famous Piazza del Campo – a large, sunny plaza which is center of social life in Siena. The palace, called Palazzo Chigi Zondadari, was built in the 18th century and served as a home to the prominent Chigi family whose lineage includes many intellectuals, artists, businessmen, and even a pope!
Veronica Semeraro has worked at our IES Abroad Siena Center since the founding of the program in 2006 when she was hired as Student Affairs Coordinator. Since that time, she has been actively involved in all aspects of the program, including housing, customized programs, arrival and orientation, field trips, and academic coordination. Veronica was promoted to Center Director of IES Abroad Siena in 2012.
Prior to working with IES Abroad, Veronica graduated with honors in Archaeology from the University of Siena. Her thesis addressed the GIS platform of the newly discovered and frescoed rooms beneath the Cathedral of Siena. She contributed, with vectorial maps and archeological drawings, to the publication Sotto il Duomo di Siena (2003). Upon winning a research grant following graduation, Veronica spent six years working in the University of Siena archeology laboratory in Computer Science. She also spent several years drawing dig maps while working on site in various important archeological digs in Tuscany (rooms beneath the Siena Cathedral; castle of Miranduolo, Podium Bonizio village) specializing in GIS technology. Veronica is an avid traveler and a member of an all-female Brazilian drum group in Siena.
IES Abroad Siena Staff
Sigrid VeneriStudent Services Coordinator