Unpack the Slow Food movement’s motto of “good, clean, and fair” in its Italian birthplace. Explore how the business of food affects the health and wealth of farmers, workers, families, and communities.
In much of the world, industrial food systems provide plentiful and relatively cheap food, a convenience that comes with steep environmental and social costs. HECUA’s exploration of culinary culture and food production in Italy offers an alternative, taking students behind the scenes in the Chianti region, an area known for its innovative organic farming and organic wine production. Students see how Italian and European agricultural policy, business practices, and financial structures affect workers and their communities. Students live and study in Greve in Chianti, a town located about 20 miles south of Florence, in Tuscany. Students observe how Tuscans define sustainability and are working toward it. Students gain direct experience with food systems, rural Italian culture, and policy through an internship at a nearby farm, school, or other local organization. Students live together in shared apartment-style housing and receive a food stipend to prepare their own meals. In addition to the immersive coursework and concurrent internship, students complete a guided individual study project. Italian language instruction each week can accommodate all levels of proficiency. Students also have the option to participate in the “Cucina for English” program, a language and cooking exchange opportunity with local Italian families. Read more about the Italy program here!
Highlights/ Good to Know
Housing: Students live in shared apartment-style homes. The accommodations are operated by Italian families in Greve. Orientation to food shopping in Greve in Chianti and cooking instruction helps students manage the stipends they receive. Students will have access to kitchen space for preparing meals.
Italian Language: Italian language fluency is not necessary. All students are enrolled in an Italian language course upon arrival, and all levels of proficiency can be accommodated.
Partner Institution: The program is offered in partnership with Università per Stranieri di Siena, which sponsors students’ visa applications, hosts the program for a field experience, staffs the Italian language instruction, and collaborates on curriculum.
Field Study: The program is based in the olive and grape-growing region of Tuscany. Students live and study on a working farm with active cultivation and processing of olives and grapes, and land in farro (spelt, an ancient wheat). There are also chickens and bees on the farm. Field trips will include visits to other farms, agricultural coops, food processing plants, and grassroots organizations. Historically, settlement and farming have been quite different in northern and southern Italy; the program will include comparative study with at least one other location in Italy.
Total: 4 course credits / 16 credit hours
- Agriculture and Sustainability in Tuscany (4 credits)
- Economics of Sustainable Food Production in Contemporary Europe (4 credits)
- Sustainable Italy Internship (4 credits)
- Independent Study Project (4 credits)
The courses are taken as an integrated whole and provide the equivalent of a semester's worth of credit, i.e. 4 course credits, 16 semester credits or 27 trimester credits.
Students can expect to gain hands-on experience on an organic farm, a school-based site, or another local organization. This internship experience is integrated with coursework and other field experiences to provide you with a holistic experience of sustainable agriculture.
When I saw that this program had the environmental focus and a hands-on learning component, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. -
Kate, St. Olaf College. To read about more student experiences in Italy, click here.
Click here to view current fees on our website.
Note that fees vary by institution. Fees includes group transportation to field sites, planned group excursions, lodging, meals, local transportation, medical insurance, and administrative costs. Students are housed in apartments.
This program is open to any undergraduate students currently enrolled in a US college or university who have completed their first year of college and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, although any applicant with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.5 will receive additional review. Prospective students are encouraged to contact email@example.com with any other eligibility questions.
Health and Safety
HECUA has been vigilantly and constantly monitoring the evolving conditions of COVID-19, including tracking updates from the Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, the US Department of State and other credible sources. Click here to view HECUA's most recent COVID-19 updates.
Students live in shared apartments and receive a food stipend.
HECUA offers multiple scholarships to students each term. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) students, first-generation students, and students from low-income backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Students are encouraged to discuss options with their home institution's financial aid office. Visit our website to learn more.
If you're ready to apply or just want more information, we suggest that you connect with your HECUA Admissions Advisor. Click here to view the HECUA staff page
- Submit an application to your home institution
- Submit an application to HECUA
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Click here to apply to HECUA.
- November 1st - spring programs abroad & early bird scholarship deadline
- March 1st - early bird scholarship deadline for summer and fall programs
- March 15th - fall programs abroad deadline