Dickinson's oldest study-abroad program is based at the Nilsson Centre in Bologna's vibrant, ancient city. Students live in shared apartments while studying a variety of subjects rooted in European studies. The curriculum includes courses in international relations, history, economics, sociology, political science, fine arts and Italian studies. Some additional courses are occasionally available in international business and sociology.
The city of Bologna, located in northern Italy, has its own distinct medieval beauty. Centered at the crossroads of Italy, this city of approximately half-a-million people is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. It is just a train ride away from the art of Florence, the fashionable streets of Milan and the historic city of Venice.
Bologna, designated an official European "city of culture" in 2000, is also a major center for trade fairs, where businesses and industries showcase everything from the latest developments in technology to the newest cars, perfumes and books. While providing many varied opportunities for internships, Bologna's current contributions to the modern capitalist economy contrast with the city's historically socialist identity.
The Bologna Program was first offered in 1965 and is Dickinson's oldest program. Eight seniors and eight juniors studied in the first program and sailed to Italy on the S.S. Castel Felice. As of 2008, the program had more than 1,000 alumni.
The K. Robert Nilsson Center for European Studies and the University of Bologna
Named in honor of its first director, the K. Robert Nilsson Center for European Studies in Bologna was established in 1965 and, over the years, has attracted students from many universities around the United States who want to undertake serious study of Europe. The University of Bologna has been in operation for 900 years and has a student population exceeding 80,000 students.
Courses at the center are taught by faculty from Bologna and by the center's resident director, a member of the Dickinson faculty. The curriculum focuses on Europe and includes courses in international relations, history, economics, political science, fine arts and Italian studies. Some additional courses are occasionally available in international business . Independent study that focuses on a specific research topic is also a possibility.
Participants are encouraged to have taken some Italian before attending the program, but it is not required. Although all Nilsson Center courses are taught in English, knowledge of Italian assists students in participating in the daily life of Italy, and students are required to study Italian during their time in Bologna. Students also engage in interdisciplinary study of the contemporary issues facing Europe and use Italy as a window through which to view Europe at large. They can expect to come away with an understanding of European history and culture and an appreciation of Italy's role within Europe. Students with a strong command of the Italian language may take courses through direct enrollment at the University of Bologna.
Upon arrival, all program participants complete a two-week intensive language course appropriate to their individual level of fluency. After on-site orientation and the intensive course, students enroll in four fall semester courses (one of them Italian). Academic year and spring students will enroll in another four in the spring.
During the spring semester, some academic-year students may conduct internships, and a small number of exceptionally well-qualified students may be granted the opportunity to enroll in graduate-level courses at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on a space-available basis.
Courses typically offered at the Dickinson Center include (vary year to year):
History of Modern Italy
Different levels of Italian Language courses
Italian in a Cultural Context (Italian 270)
Italian 320 - Topics in Italian Studies
The European Union
Comparative Western Systems
European Economic History
International Market Regulation
Policy Management/Analysis of Public Policy
Qualified students may complete internships in Bologna. Internship placements are not guaranteed and students with strong Italian language skills will have a greater chance of being placed at an internship site. Students have gained valuable experience in a variety of organizations including museums, a bookstore, elementary and middle schools, and a local community center.
The academic program is enhanced by a number of excursions to areas of cultural, political and historical interest. In the past, faculty members have taken students to Rome, Florence, Assisi, Urbino, Naples, Lago di Garda, Siena, Arezzo and other interesting sites.
A Dickinson College professor serves as the resident director of the Bologna Program. The resident director plans and leads the academic program, advises students and teaches at the Nilsson Center. The director is assisted by Associate Director Clarissa Pagni, who has worked for the Nilsson Center for more than 20 years, and the Bologna Program Associate.
Program participants live in apartments carefully chosen by the director and staff. Participants receive a food allowance and may eat in local trattorie or at the University of Bologna's cafeteria, but mostly they shop in the city's open-air markets and try cooking in one of the world's culinary capitals.
Dates Program Fee* Application Deadline
Academic Year late Aug. to early June $53,410 Feb. 15
Fall late Aug. to late Dec. $26,705 Feb. 15
Spring late Jan. to early June $26,705 Sept. 15
* This is the program fee for 2011-2012; the program fee for 2012-2013 will correspond to on-campus tuition and fees and will be determined during spring 2012.
Program Fee Includes
• tuition and fees
• room and board
• pre-departure and on-site orientations
• academic excursions
The program fee does not include primary health insurance, airfare, passport, visa, immunizations, optional travel, personal expenses, meals and housing during vacations, books or supplies.
3.0 GPA; Italian language study strongly encouraged
Please note, admissions for the Dickinson in Italy program can be extremely competitive. Although we strive to accommodate all qualified students, this may not be possible every term. Please think carefully about how your academic goals align with course offerings in Bologna and be sure to articulate these objectives in your personal statement. This program serves Italian studies, international studies, political science, and history majors well. Some international business and management majors may find appropriate courses in Bologna; however, they are strongly encouraged to seek admission to other programs that may support their language emphasis (i.e. Toulouse if they have been studying French, Málaga, São Paulo or Mendoza if they have been studying Spanish and/or Portuguese, etc.).
University of Bologna
Past Dickinson in Italy Blog
For more information, contact
Prof. Russell Bova, On-Campus Coordinator
Department of Political Science
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, PA 17013-2896
Phone: (717) 245-1550