The signature element of the undergraduate study experience at Villa le Balze, and what sets it apart from Georgetown’s many other study abroad opportunities, is its identity as a Living and Learning Community. As an extension of Georgetown University, the Villa promotes core Jesuit values of intellectual inquiry, reflection, service, and education of the whole person, challenging students to cultivate and enact those values within the context of a new culture. These values permeate all aspects of life at the Villa, from its curriculum, social and co-curricular activities, to its physical space, all of which are designed to encourage integrative academic and personal development, and to foster a common intellectual experience among students and professors.
Of foremost importance to the living and learning community model is meaningful and sustained interaction between faculty, students, and Villa staff, all of whom commit to participating fully in each other's academic development and personal growth. Students at the Villa have extensive opportunities to engage with a combination of professors and scholars hired from the local Florentine community as well as Georgetown faculty from the Main Campus, both through formal coursework and beyond the walls of the classroom. Likewise, faculty members gain new insight into their discipline through increased access to international faculty and are able to bring their international experiences into the classroom and their future work with Georgetown students. Like Living and Learning Communities on Main Campus, the Villa seeks to foster a rich, holistic educational experience for all participants in the tradition of the Georgetown University academic experience.