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High School Italian Immersion
Siena, Italy
Overview
Study Abroad - Italy

SIENA

ITALY

2020 Sessions

Two Week – $3,795
Summer 2:  June 26 – July 11

Immersion Extension +$2,995
Immersion Extension:  July 11 – 25
*Add to Summer 2

Tuscany’s Culture-Rich Gem…

Siena is a gloriously beautiful medieval town built upon three hills in the heart of scenic Tuscany! The summer brings a wealth of festivities to Siena, and the town itself is famous for its history, art, cuisine, museums, medieval treasures and the ancient Palio Festival. Siena has long maintained a unique character and beauty that charms its visitors year round! The city is quaint in size yet has a large youthful population — creating an intimate and studious environment that allows students to fully immerse themselves in Italian language and culture. Get ready to enjoy a plethora of places to explore and exciting things to do, ranging from socializing at local pizzerias and cafés to discovering world-famous museums and historic theaters and galleries! Siena truly is ideal for total immersion into the Italian language and way of life.

Request Your Catalog Today.

Fill out the form below and we will send you a catalog and get in touch. Please note all fields are required.

Siena Program Overview

Academics & Leadership

Santander Study Abroad Academics
Academic Overview

School: Local language institute

Course Hours: 40 Hours of Italian Language & Culture

Italian Language & Conversation: Students are broken up by levels and attend Italian language and conversation classes Monday – Friday in the mornings. The courses focus on developing Italian communication skills by simulating real-life situations through interactive class activities that include writing, oral expression, film, music, food, and literature.

> Italian levels 1 through AP/IB
> 5-15 Students per Class
> Certified native instructors with advanced teaching degrees

Cultural Leadership Enrichment

SPI offers a unique cultural leadership enrichment component for our European programs. This component is geared toward connecting students with their local surroundings and language while engaging them in skill-building exercises. We incorporate unique activities, excursions, and daily group discussions with a focus on team-building, leadership, personal growth, travel skills and cultural awareness.

> SPI Leadership Building Seminars
> European Travel Skills Workshop
> Exchanges with Italian locals
> Italian Culinary Experiences

Activities & Excursions

Costa Rica 5
Elective Activities

In addition to SPI’s cultural leadership enrichment program, students will have the exciting opportunity to enhance their experience abroad by participating in optional elective courses and activities! Electives range from sports activities to unique cultural events, and are designed to further engage students in the local culture and, of course, to just have fun! Specific electives will vary per program and are based on student interest and weather. Upon arrival abroad, students will choose which electives they wish to participate in.

Siena Elective Activities:

> Italian Art & Architecture Survey Course
> Photography Survey Course
> Italian Cooking and Gastronomy

> Elective Courses: Italian Art & Architecture, Photography Composition Course, Italian & Tuscan Cooking and Gastronomy
> Additional Potential Electives: Gym & Weight Training, Running, Soccer, Tennis, Travel Exploration
*Optional elective activities may have an additional cost

Travel Excursions

From visits to world class museums to magnificent hikes through lush mountains, students explore the most important monuments, cities and natural wonders in the Siena and Tuscany region. Weekend and cultural day travel excursions help students dynamically use the language of study and interact with the local community.

Siena Travel Excursions:

> Florence
> Orvieto
> San Gimignano
> Palio Festival
> Castiglione della Pescaia

 

Safety & Supervision

Dana Caron4
On-site Directors & Staff

Directors and on-site staff are professional multilingual educators and caring leaders who serve as international “moms and dads”. We maintain a highly personal student to director ratio of typically one director for every eight students. Directors actively participate in all aspects of the immersion experience focusing on student well-being, cultural adjustments, and daily check ins to ensure active student participation.

Daily Supervision & Free Time

To ensure student safety, on-site directors are available 24 hours a day and carry local cell phones at all times. Directors check-in with students on a daily basis in the mornings, afternoons and evenings and monitor all aspects of the program. At SPI, we believe in the educational value of giving students a structured amount of free-time on certain afternoons. Students are expected to abide by SPI’s standards of conduct at all times, and we implement a “buddy system.”

Curfew: 11 PM Weekdays & 12 AM Weekends

Pre-Requisites

Age Requirements: In grades 9-12
Language Requirement: 1 year of language learning

AP/IB Prep

Upper level courses incorporate AP/IB course material, themes & exercises to prepare students for these classes

Flight Information

We can help with your flight, all of our guidelines and info available on our Flight Information page.

What's Included

All SPI Programs include books, tuition, room and board and more. View What's Included.
Itinerary

Siena - 2 Week Itinerary

Day 1

Depart for Rome, Italy!

Board your flight and get ready to embark on the study abroad journey of a lifetime!

Day 1
Day 2

Arrive to Rome & Travel to Siena

Benvenuti! Get to know your group with an orientation meeting and meet your homestay!

Day 2
Day 3

Participate in the Palio Festival!

Celebrate this world famous festival like a local! Cheer as each contrada’s horse races against the backdrop of a medieval piazza.

Day 3
Day 4

First Day of Italian Classes & Orientation.

Meet your Professore/ssa and class after a language placement exam in the morning.  Discover your new ‘home’ during an afternoon orientation tour of Siena.

Day 4
Day 5-8

Second Day of Italian Classes

Continue improving your Italian fluency through morning language and conversation courses followed by afternoon leadership and electives activities.

Day 5-8
Day 9

Travel Excursion to Florence!

Discover the amazing beauty and history of Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region! This medieval gem is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance and will undoubtedly charm you with its endless art and culture.

Day 9
Day 10

Quality Time with Homestay & Friends

Italian Sundays are the perfect day to fare due passi, meet for gelato with friends at one of the many piazzas, and take in the local culture while enjoying una tazza di caffè on an outdoor patio.

Day 10
Day 11-15

Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Be amazed by the progress you’ve made in your language skills and ability to thrive in a new culture!

Day 11-15
Day 16

Depart Italy for Home!

Bid farewell to your beloved Italian homestays before you depart for Rome-Fiumicino Airport. Return home with amazing memories of Italia!

 
Day 16

Siena - Immersion Extension

About the Independent Immersion Extension Option

The SPI immersion extension gives students the exciting ability to continue their immersion experience until the end of July. The extension is ideal for mature, independent students (16 years of age or older) with a keen interest in building their language skills.

Our Language School Partners

It is important to note that SPI offers our July Immersion Extension as a service to students desiring a longer stay directly with our language school partner and their excellent staff. The program is facilitated and supervised 100% by our partner language school and staff. SPI students will continue their classwork within the same framework as the SPI program and will be placed in classes with other teenage students normally from other North American & European schools. Students will gain an additional 30-40 hours of coursework to add to their transcript for potential college credit hours.

Homestay Experience Continued

Students will not change homestays once the immersion extension portion begins. Local staff will continue assisting and supervising students throughout their immersion experience with daily check-ins in the mornings and afternoons. Additionally, there may be new students that join the homestay during the immersion extension period.

Cultural Experience & Activities

The language school will offer optional cultural activities in the afternoons in which the students can elect to participate. This is a great opportunity to meet other students from around the world, gain an increased understanding of the culture, and practice the local language! Students are responsible for any fees incurred while participating in the optional activities.

Continued Supervision & Care

After the regular SPI program ends, supervision and on-site care  is provided by the local bilingual language school staff and managers. All local staff have worked with youth in the past and most are certified Italian instructors at the school, as well. Students are not supervised 24 hours a day (just like on SPI regular summer programs) but are provided with a very high level of support. The on-site language school staff will already be acquainted with the students before the start of the immersion extension component, and students will know this is their main contact for the duration of the extension. Parents will be given the local cell phone number and email contact for the student’s immediate caregiver prior to departure.

Your Day Abroad in Siena

MORNING

8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast and Travel with Roommate to Classes

Enjoy a light breakfast of breads, cereal, and juice/coffee. You will either walk or take a short bus ride to classes M-F.

9:30 – 1:30 Italian Language, Culture, and Conversation Courses

Be amazed at how quickly your Italian improves with SPI’s master instructors at the institute in Siena! Classes are both engaging and fun.

AFTERNOON

1:30 – 3:00 Afternoon Lunch and Break

Enjoy lunch provided at school during the week with friends. You will have a daily meeting with your directors during this time.

4:00 – 7:00 Electives & Cultural Leadership Enrichment Activities

From surfing to photography and exchanges with locals, there are afternoon activities for everyone! SPI’s program also incorporates a leadership and cultural enrichment component where students will interact with the local community. (There is structured free time on some afternoons after activities).

EVENING

7:00 – 8:00 Meeting with Directors 

In the early evening, you will have an informal group meeting with directors to review the next day’s activities.

8:00 – 10:30 Evening Meal & Activity with Your Group or Time with Friends

Enjoy the evening practicing your Italian, eating authentic Italian cuisine, and having free time after evening meals to meet up with other students for ice cream or an evening stroll.

Gallery
Testimonials

What SPI Alumni Say…

SPI Siena Study Abroad12

"Everything about Siena was wonderful! The classes really challenged my Italian skills and I met so many new people. They really made learning the language come to life!"

“SPI provided a fantastic experience every step of the way (and there were a lot!) This program truly immersed me into the Italian language and culture in so many ways from the excursions to the evening shopping strolls around the old town. My homestay mother was very patient with me since my level of Italian was near beginner. She absolutely made my experience in Italy. I just wish I could have gotten all her recipes!”

Jacqueline, Massachusetts

“SPI gave me more than just a travel experience. They gave me a whole new understanding of the world around me. The bonds and knowledge I gained from this program were priceless.”

Maddy, Connecticut

“I would definitely recommend SPI Siena. The city is tucked away in the heart of Tuscany (which is beautiful) and it was an awesome place to explore and there was always something new to try. My Italian improved so much from this experience that I was actually able to move up a level when I started classes in the fall. Grazie SPI!”

James, Texas
Enroll

Enrollment Form

The SPI Online Enrollment is best completed on a laptop/desktop and will take 15-20 minutes to complete. Parents and students should complete the enrollment form together. A $1,000 deposit is required to enroll and counts toward the final program price (you may pay with e-check or credit card.) Please have a clear face photo of the student ready for submission. All notifications, invoices, and pre-departure information will be sent via email. We look forward to your participation!
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SPI Siena, Italy – 2 Week Itinerary​

Day 1  Depart for Rome, Italy!

Board your flight and get ready to embark on the study abroad journey of a lifetime!

Day 2  Arrive to Rome & Travel to Siena

Benvenuti! Get to know your group with an orientation meeting and meet your homestay!

Day 3  Participate in the Palio Festival!

Celebrate this world famous festival like a local! Cheer as each contrada’s horse races against the backdrop of a medieval piazza.

Day 4  First Day of Italian Classes & Orientation.

Meet your Professore/ssa and class after a language placement exam in the morning.  Discover your new ‘home’ during an afternoon orientation tour of Siena.

Days 5-8  Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Continue improving your Italian fluency through morning language and conversation courses, followed by afternoon leadership and electives activities.

Day 9  Travel Excursion to Florence!

Discover the amazing beauty and history of Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region! This medieval gem is considered to be the birthplace of the Renaissance and will undoubtedly charm you with its endless art and culture.

Day 10  Quality Time with Homestay & Friends

Italian Sundays are the perfect day to fare due passi, meet for gelato with friends at one of the many piazzas, and take in the local culture while enjoying una tazza di caffè on an outdoor patio.

Days 11-15  Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Be amazed by the progress you’ve made in your language skills and ability to thrive in a new culture!

Day 16  Depart Italy for Home!

Bid farewell to your beloved Italian homestays before you depart for Rome-Fiumicino Airport. Return home with amazing memories of Italia! 

 

On-Site Supervision Team Abroad

We hire bilingual high school teachers, university professors, and caring local staff who, as a team, serve as international “moms and dads” throughout the program. Directors actively participate in all aspects of the immersion experience: helping with housing adjustments, checking in on classes, and making sure students are taking advantage of the wonderful excursion and activity opportunities. All SPI staff go through extensive reference checks.

Training & Experience

Directors are selected based on their experience working with teenagers in an international setting, their ability to communicate fluently in the language of study, and their academic & professional background. All on-site staff go through an intensive training process.

Daily Supervision

Students are expected to be respectful of their directors’ guidelines and abide by the SPI standards of conduct at all times. SPI directors and program staff are available 24 hours a day. Directors check in with students on a daily basis in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings; they also frequently monitor all aspects of each student’s progress. Homestays and residence directors are contacted to learn how students are adjusting, and to handle any concerns. Daily curfews are enforced.

Student Behavior Expectations

Since 1996, we have proudly attracted an academically-minded student body focused on improving their language skills and growing from cultural experiences. At SPI, we take our role as teachers seriously — we recognize that we are responsible for guiding students through one of their most life-changing experiences. We expect students not only to abide by our standards of conduct at all times, but also to serve as ambassadors of their local communities, schools, and cities.

No Alcohol Policy

SPI maintains a strict policy against the use of alcohol. Directors check in with students in the evenings; however, parents are expected to review our standards of conduct with their children and set clear family expectations prior to the start of the program with regards to their behavior abroad.

Afternoon Elective Activities

Our meaningful afternoon elective activities make local culture, art, architecture, museums, sports, and attractions come to life! Each program offers a variety of engaging activities designed to combine serious fun with truly inspiring “once in a lifetime” experiences. Electives are not included in the program price, and we suggest students budget $100 per week for participation in these incredible learning experiences.

Common Afternoon Electives

CULTURAL: Cooking, Dance, Art & Architecture, Museum & Theater Visits, Local Sporting & Cultural Events

SPORTS: Surfing, Volleyball, Soccer, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Hikes & Walks

ENRICHMENT: Photography, College Prep (Essay Writing, Admissions Prep), Photography, Guest Speakers

Sample Travel Excursions

SPAIN: Bilbao, Pamplona, Santander, San Sebastian, Guernika, Biarritz (France), Comillas, Picos de Europa

FRANCE: Bordeaux, Bayonne, Anglet, San Sebastian (Spain), St. Jean de Luz, Pyrenees Mountains

COSTA RICA: Liberia, Cloud Forest, Puntarenas, Rincon de la Vieja, Tamarindo Beach

ITALY: Florence, Orvieto, San Gimignano, San Vincezo, Castiglione della Pescaia

Our Screening & Selection Process

Students live with roommates in a local homestay or student residence that is experienced in hosting foreign students. SPI has worked with most participating homestays and student residences for a number of years, and they understand students are there to learn the language and experience the culture. SPI diligently screens each homestay and student residence facility with the following in mind: safety, location, cleanliness, and previous experience hosting students.

HOMESTAY EXPECTATIONS

Most homestays have hosted students for many years and take their jobs and duties as cultural ambassadors very seriously. Our foreign schools also work with each family on a year-round basis to ensure a positive experience is had by each student. It is critical to understand that most homestays come from humble means and different dynamics.

Location of Housing

All housing options are located within a 10-30 minute commute from the school. Students will walk or take the local bus, which is a safe and normal way for students their age to get around in our host cities. The majority of our housing options are located in the same areas where students will be close to each other.

Evening Curfews

Student curfews are set based on what a culturally appropriate weekday and weekend curfew would be for teenagers in the country of study. This is normally between 10 PM – 11 PM on weekdays and a little later on the weekends depending on location and group dynamic. As an important safety measure, program staff diligently monitor student curfews. Specific curfews are listed on each program page for your reference. 

Typical Housing Dynamics

Students are well supported in all housing options and are provided with: meals, a living and study space, laundry service or facilities, linens and towels. It is fundamental that students have an open mind to trying new foods and living in an environment different than “home” to benefit from this transformative experience!

HOMESTAY EXPECTATIONS
Although SPI homestays come in all shapes and sizes, the majority are older couples or single/widowed women in their 50s – 60s who have extra room in their home and are eager to host students. We have found this dynamic provides the best support, the most interaction, and the most culturally rich experience. Some homestays do have children, but students should keep in mind that homestays with children are busier and often offer less interaction — much like a busy American family.

Language Course Overview

The language courses focus on developing communication skills by simulating real-life situations through interactive class activities that include writing, oral expression, film, music, food, and literature.

> 2 Hours – Grammatical Concepts

> 1-2 Hours – Conversation, Culture, Literature, Film, etc.

> Small class sizes with levels 1 through AP/IB

College Credit Opportunity

SPI uses foreign universities and accredited language institutes for coursework abroad. These institutions provide high school students, upon successful completion of their courses, with an official transcript that they may use to petition college credit from their future university or college. Official transcripts are first sent to SPI in September, and then we will mail an official copy of the transcript in a sealed envelope to each participant. You will mail the official transcript packet directly to your U.S. university once you are enrolled.

Credit Hours vs. Credit Granted

Most SPI language immersion programs give 30-80 contact hours, or classroom hours, enabling for a potential of up to 1-6 semester college credit hours by your university. Contact hours are treated differently at every school. Some schools will grant specific class credit for the hours (e.g., Spanish), although most give a general foreign language or elective credit. Normally, 15 Contact/Class Hours = 1 College Credit Hour.

IMPORTANT:  Due to the nature of college credit granting by each individual U.S. university, it is impossible for SPI to guarantee credit for any student.