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Bologna as a Place to Study
Bologna has three nicknames: la dotta, or the learned; la rossa, or the red; and la grassa, or the fat. All three are well-deserved, and no thumbnail sketch of Bologna can do without a brief explanation of each.
The capital of the northern-central region of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna la dotta is a city of about 500,000 inhabitants, including approximately 100,000 university students. The Università di Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest in Europe. Eminently prestigious, it boasts a diverse and cosmopolitan student body, since the university attracts students from all regions of Italy and from countries around the world. As a thriving center of student life, Bologna has a flourishing intellectual climate and all the amenities that one would expect in or near a university community: theater, films, performing arts, live music, and a reportedly diehard club scene in the nearby beach resorts along the Adriatic coast.
From an architectural point of view, Bologna la rossa is a stunningly beautiful city in a country renowned for unparalleled beauty. The university is located in the heart of the rather large medieval quarter, a veritable maze of narrow, winding, portico-lined streets. The burnt reddish tones of the building facades and the red-tiled roofs—hence, la rossa—are characteristic of Bologna and give the city an almost storybook quality. Today, however, the color red evokes notions of the local political climate, for, during most of the post-World War II era, Bologna has been the showcase for Italian Communism. Translated into early 21st-century terms, this means a city committed to political engagement, social service, and a brand of political awareness that seems to complement the intellectual life of the university.
Located in Italy’s breadbasket, Bologna is also the home of some of the finest food to be found on any Italian table. No Italian would ever dispute the deserved preeminence of Bologna’s cuisine. Thus has it earned the last of its three nicknames: la grassa. It is not uncommon to find in the city’s various osterie or trattorie some appreciative Tuscan from Florence (one hour south) or Lombard from Milan (two hours north), enjoying some of the fabulous food for which Bologna is legendary.
In short, Bologna is an ideal destination for study in Italy. Without the hordes of tourists that plague other cities, students are required to negotiate the city on its terms and in its language: Italian. With its population just under half a million, Bologna is large enough to offer diversion, yet not so large that it suffers unduly from the kinds of problems that often accompany life in larger urban centers.
Courses offered by the program will be limited in size and taught by Italian faculty members. In addition to these courses, students with adequate Italian (demonstrated by the exam following the intensive language course in September or January) will have access to a range of courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences at the Università di Bologna. All program courses are taught in Italian.
Lecce Session (August)
Italian Language and Culture—A three-week intensive review of grammar and an introduction to contemporary Italy. This 1/2 credit course is considered summer study credit only; it is not considered to make up part of the 4.0 units ( students will take in the fall semester. Required of students with less than four semesters of college-level Italian. Optional for all others.
Fall Semester in Bologna
During the fall, opportunities for taking courses at the Università di Bologna are available for qualified students. Typical program courses offered are:
Intensive Italian for Academic Purposes—A three-week language course offered in Bologna, prior to the beginning of the regular fall semester program, emphasizing communication skills, grammar, reading, and writing. This 1/2 credit course is intended to prepare students for work in consortium courses or those at the Università di Bologna. Required for all program participants.
Writing Workshop—A 1/2 credit workshop designed to support student writing in the program courses as well as courses taken at the Università di Bologna. This course is mandatory.
Sample E.C.CO. courses (all 1.0 credit courses)
Theater and Visual Arts—Resources in Bologna and nearby cities provide the basis for an understanding of the role of theater and opera in Italy.
The Hundred Bodies of Cinema. How the Materials of Cinema Change: -From Celluloid to Pixels, Films to Videogames—The goal is to identify recurrent characteristics and to study how technological innovation causes continual modifications in cinema. The course includes watching films and visiting the Bologna Cineteca, which is in charge of film conservation, restoration of great films of the past, and of new artistic and technological expressions in contemporary cinema.
Urban Studies, Bologna and Other Centers of Emilia Romagna: History, Architecture, and the City—The course will alternate between a series of classroom lectures dedicated to the comprehension of diverse evolutionary phases of construction and fieldwork exercises in the midst of Bologna’s urban fabric. Given the nature of the course and the necessity of developing a comparative approach to examining various urban case studies, guided tours of Ferrara, Mantova, and other cities are planned.
Art and Architecture in the Middle Ages and Renaissance—with special emphasis on local Bolognese and Florentine art. Past field trips have included Assisi, Florence, Venice, Padua, and Ravenna.
Modern Italian Narrative—A thematic course investigating a body of contemporary Italian writing in accordance with the special interests of the instructor.
Italian Cultural History Since the Unification—A course that explores various themes in Italian social and cultural history since Unification in 1860.
Spring Semester in Bologna
During the spring, more opportunities for taking courses at the Università di Bologna are available. Typical program courses offered in addition would be:
Intensive Italian for Academic Purposes—A three-week intensive language course offered in Bologna, prior to the beginning of the regular spring semester program, emphasizing communication skills, grammar, reading, and writing. This 1/2 credit course is intended to prepare students for work in consortium courses or those at the Università di Bologna. Required for all spring semester-only participants. Accommodations can be made for year-long students.
Writing Workshop—A 1/2 credit workshop designed to support students’ writing in the program courses as well as in courses taken at the Università di Bologna. This course is mandatory.
Government and Politics in Modern Italy—An exploration of the dynamics of the 20th century and their impact on the political and social structures of Italy, with special emphasis on the rise of fascism and the post-World War II era.
Women in Italian Life—An interdisciplinary course exploring gender relations in Italy from various theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.
Art and Architecture in Modern Italy—A course using resources available in Bologna and throughout central and northern Italy.
Italian History after Unification—Topics covered include the formation of the modern Italian state (the Risorgimento), the rise of fascism, and Italy’s role in the post-World War II rebuilding of Europe and within the European Community.
Great Italian Writers—A monographic course focusing on the work of a single writer, chosen according to the interest of the instructor.
Each semester, students can expect to receive:
- 1/2 credit for the Italian language course;
- 1/2 credit for the Italian language writing workshop;
- 1 credit for each program course or supplementary course at the Università di Bologna. In some cases, university courses earn 2 credits. Students who join the program for the intensive Italian language course in August will receive an additional 1/2 credit.
- All E.C.Co program courses (summer session in Lecce included) and University of Bologna courses are taken for letter grades and reported on an official transcript to the home institution.
Of all American students studying in Bologna, only E.C.Co. students have the privilege of living in the University of Bologna’s own “studentati” (dormitories) with same-sex Italian or international roommates. The "studentati" are within a reasonable distance of the city center. All residences have cooking facilities.
Tuition and Fee
The comprehensive semester fee* covers tuition for the academic program, round-trip transportation on the group flight, housing, and extracurricular trips and activities organized by the program. Each semester, students will receive a partial food allowance to cover approximately 2/3 of food costs.
*The Lecce session is an additional fee.
Refund Policy—Tuition refunds are calculated based on the date of the student’s withdrawal from the program. Additional refunds will be based on any recoverable portion of the room and partial board expenditures.
The Program Schedule
The program is run by a resident director who is a faculty member at a consortium institution and who acts as an academic advisor for all participating students. The consortium offers courses designed specifically for program students and facilitates access to courses offered at the Università di Bologna. In consultation with the director, students will develop a program of study suited to their own language proficiency and disciplinary interests.
The first segment of the program consists of a language course for three weeks in August. This 1/2 credit course is considered as summer study credit only; that is, it is not considered part of the 4 credits students will complete in the fall semester. As students’ language skills improve, they will progress to the examination of more complex topics, with the transition to Bologna for three more weeks of highly-focused study in September.
Program courses will begin, roughly, in late September or the first days of October at the same time as those at the Università di Bologna, and will run until approximately mid-December. All single-semester students will take the Writing Workshop, which carries 1/2 credit. Full-year students will take the Writing Workshop in the fall semester. Students will select three program courses (or two if their language skills permit enrollment in one or two courses at the Università di Bologna). The fall semester at the Università di Bologna terminates in late December. Students enrolling in the fall will take their exams in mid-December.
Students may enroll in the program starting in January if they have taken three semesters of Italian. All students beginning in January will be required to take a 1/2 credit, three-week intensive language course. In addition, students are required to take the Writing Workshop which carries 1/2 credit. Students with only three semesters of Italian prior to studying in Italy probably will enroll in program courses only, but there could be exceptional cases, and students whose Italian would, in the director’s opinion, indicate a successful course experience may enroll in a Università di Bologna course. Such students should petition the director. Other students will be expected to take a combination of consortium courses and courses at the Università di Bologna. The spring semester at the Università di Bologna terminates in late May. Students enrolling in the spring will take their exams in mid-May.
The Nature of the Program
Students applying for the program must have the equivalent of at least two semesters of college-level Italian language study. The program is designed to accommodate different levels of proficiency.
Students with two semesters of Italian applying to study in Bologna for the full year must participate in the August session in Lecce and will take, it is likely, only program courses during the fall, picking up courses at the Università di Bologna during the spring.
Students with four semesters of Italian may opt to participate in the August session. They will be expected to take at least two courses at the Università di Bologna and supplementary program courses (including the language course in September) to complete their course work.
Fall Semester Applicants
Students with only two semesters of Italian wishing to study in Bologna for the fall semester must participate in the Lecce session and will take, it is likely, only program courses.
Students with four semesters of Italian may choose whether or not to participate in the Lecce session. They will enroll in the intensive language course in September prior to the beginning of regularly scheduled classes. They will take one or two courses at the Università di Bologna and will complete their course work with program offerings.
Spring Semester Applicants
All students applying to study in Bologna for the spring semester only will arrive in January and enroll in the intensive language course prior to the beginning of regularly scheduled classes.
Students with only three semesters of Italian prior to arriving in Italy probably will take program courses only. If their Italian progresses sufficiently in the first three weeks, they may petition the director to enroll in a course offered at the Università di Bologna. They will complete their curriculum with courses organized by the program, including the intensive language course in January.
The program is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in good academic standing at their home institution. Participants are subject to the specific requirements laid down by their home institution for study abroad. Two semesters of college-level Italian constitute the prerequisite for the fall semester, three semesters of college-level Italian for the spring. A “B” average in Italian language courses is required. Students with two full years of college-level Italian may be exempted from the August session. Students with less than four semesters of college-level Italian are required to attend this session.