Summer Programs

Three summer participants pose on the Villa's veranda.

Villa Le Balze’s summer study abroad programs offer something for all undergraduates. Whether you wish to deepen your knowledge in Italian studies, approach other academic interests through the lens of a new discipline, or simply explore a new language and culture, the Villa’s summer offerings provide a range of options. A signature element of the Villa’s programs is greater interaction among faculty, staff, and students through academically rigorous courses, shared meals, and the opportunities these provide for developing interpersonal relationships.

Summer 2022 Programs

Following Machiavelli’s concept of a “discussion with the ancients” with relevance to modern issues, highlights of this 3 credit seminar include:

  • In-depth study of Machiavelli’s writings and an appreciation of the Florentine environment in which he wrote them;
  • Actively applying Machiavellian teachings through student involvement as decision makers in a “balance of power” laboratory created by two “Nth Power” political-military simulations. The “Nth Power” simulation is an interactive role-playing, geo-spatial simulation that has been used to brief strategic planners in the Department of Defense.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive credit for a 3-credit Government seminar (GOVT-486-62) that can count toward their major, minor or general education elective requirements.

For more information regarding the program, view the Machiavelli online brochure. Hear from the professors firsthand in this short video: Georgetown University: Florence Machiavelli Seminar

Both wine and cheese production depend on harnessing the biochemical potential of a variety of different microorganisms. This course will be a rigorous exploration into the characteristics of microbes important for the development of these foods, with an emphasis on the biochemical pathways necessary for the production of ethanol and other products that are responsible for the unique flavors and textures associated with these foods. Part of the course will involve hands-on activities comparing genes for these processes among different organisms; using tools of bioinformatics, a relatively new field that combines biology, computer science, and statistics.

For more information regarding the program, view the Microscopic View of Tuscany online brochure.

Since Maria Montessori first developed her teaching methods for disadvantaged and disabled children in Italy in the early 20th Century, Italy has promoted inclusive participatory early childhood education. In this program, you will compare and contrast early education models across the globe, beginning with two popular Italian models, Montessori and Reggio Emilia. Other early childhood education models such as the Step-by-Step model, used throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Scandinavian models will be examined providing a comprehensive analysis. Through site visits, lecture, discussion, and participation in a UNESCO co-sponsored one-day symposium, students will develop a uniquely crafted, global understanding of the early education of disabled children.

Georgetown students receive 3 GU undergraduate credits for the following course: DBST/EDIJ 350 Educating Young Children with Disabilities- A Global Comparison. Students enrolled in the Disability Studies minor or the Education, Inquiry, and Justice minor may use this course to meet minor requirements.

For more information regarding the program, view the Educating Young Children with Disabilities – A Global Comparison (new window) program brochure.

With the constant blare of a 24/7 news cycle and endless pings from Instagram, Twitter and various app alerts, it is easy to become desensitized to the news, and yet it has become increasingly important to adopt a broader global perspective to discern what’s real, what’s right, and what’s truthful. Join us this summer where you will be in the role of the reporter, learning how to quickly navigate unknown places, people and points of view.

You will hear from global correspondents, interact with local Italians, and simulate the real-world experience of a foreign correspondent writing for a major news organization. You will also get to research, write, and compose articles in various different media formats, such as print, podcast, and vlogs; all culminating in a portfolio of work.

For more information regarding the program, view the International Journalism online brochure.

This class presents both micro and macro histories of plague. On the one hand, you will learn about and visit multiple plague sites in northern Italy, private and public spaces (like hospitals, foundling homes, churches) constructed to help contemporaries cope with the disease and medieval and early modern art that conveys the magnitude of the mortality Italians witnessed firsthand. Florence and Siena in particular are used as an ‘open book’ on the pre-modern plague experience. On the other hand, the Black Death is presented not as an Italian or European disaster but as an Afro-Eurasian catastrophe. You will be introduced to plausible evidence of the demographic ruin from regions as disparate as East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Greenland.

This course is thus deeply multidisciplinary. It is at once a history, biology and art history class. You will be introduced to the written and architectural sources for plague as well as to the evolutionary biology of Yersinia pestis, the bioarchaeology and detection of pre-laboratory disease, and the methods of the paleopathologic and paleogenetic sciences. In other words, they come face-to-face with the urban fabric of pre-modern public health, the written record of mass death, and the bones of medieval plague victims.

For more information regarding the program, view the Plague in Renaissance Florence online brochure.

Academics and Eligibility


Most summer programs at the Villa are taught in English, although there are opportunities to engage with the Italian language on a daily basis. All courses offered on Villa summer programs are Georgetown courses, and students will receive credits and grades that will transfer automatically to their GU transcript and GPA. Additionally, courses offered at the Villa may fulfill major, minor and certificate, or other degree requirements, with appropriate approval from a student’s Dean or academic advisor.

Non-Georgetown participants are issued a GU transcript with grades and a semester GPA.


Students are eligible to participate in a Villa summer program anytime during their GU career – from the summer after their freshman year to the summer after graduation.

All students applying to summer programs should have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7, unless the program requires a higher GPA. Additional program requirements can be found on each program’s online brochure. Students whose GPA is currently below a 2.7 are encouraged to speak with an OGE advisor early in the process to learn about their options for summer study abroad.

Additionally, applicants are expected to be in good academic standing at Georgetown University or their home university. Students must maintain a strong, consistent academic record and meet the academic standards set forth by the University. Students are not eligible to participate in a study abroad program while on active academic probation.

Applicants are also expected to be in good disciplinary standing at Georgetown University or their home university. Students are not eligible to participate in a study abroad program while on active disciplinary probation.


Villa Le Balze Dual-Program Scholarship

We are excited to announce that students who participate on two (2) summer programs at Villa Le Balze will receive an automatic $500 credit towards the second program.

Arielle Kasey DaCosta Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was created by the family of Georgetown student Arielle Kasey DaCosta C’11, an alumna of Villa Le Balze who passed away in 2009.  The scholarship supports students with financial need who are studying at the Villa during the summer term.  Priority is given to students majoring in the arts or humanities, or studying these subjects at Villa Le Balze. Students who meet these criteria will be automatically considered for the scholarship; no application is necessary. Awards may vary on a yearly basis, up to $5,000.  OGE identifies recipients in coordination with the Office of Student Financial Services.

OGE Summer Scholarships

Each spring, the Office of Global Education awards a few, small fellowships to participants on summer study abroad programs. These awards range from $500 to $2,000 and are made according to need and merit. Students who are currently receiving financial aid are immediately considered for these awards.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

Students receiving Pell Grants during the regular academic year may be eligible for additional Pell Grant support for summer study abroad. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Services for more information. Pell Grant recipients are also eligible for Gilman Scholarships for summer study abroad. Gilman Scholarships are open to students of all majors who receive Pell Grants and planned to study overseas for at least three weeks in the same country. Students should check the program website for more information.