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.

Machiavelli Seminar May 14 - May 29, 2019

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.
  • The application of Machiavelli’s insights to the contemporary world through simulations and interactions with senior policy makers and military leaders during the European-American Workshop on Global Security Affairs (held concurrently at Villa Le Balze).

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 brochure. Hear from the professors firsthand in this short video: Georgetown University: Florence Machiavelli Seminar

Politics, People, & Playwriting: Contemporary Italian Theater June 4 - June 26, 2019

Immerse yourself in Italian politics and daily life by writing your own play that addresses topics such as immigration and assimilation. During this innovative, multidisciplinary course, you will explore the intersection of geopolitics and contemporary Italian theater. Field trips to Rome and other sites are planned to enhance your experience. You will receive guidance and feedback on your play from the program's professors: a dynamic duo of experts in their fields. The program will culminate with an “actors’ evening” workshop.

For more information regarding the program, view the Politics & Playwriting brochure.

Cultures of Italian Migration June 4 - June 26, 2019

Surrounded on three sides by water, Italy has long been a zone of transit, refuge, and intercultural encounter. Tourists have visited Italy in large numbers from the mid-17th century to the present while Italians have flowed out - 13 million alone between 1880 and 1915 - making Italy the scene of the largest recorded voluntary emigration in world history. In Cultures of Italian Migrations we will explore this dichotomy, examining cultural delineations of the global, the transnational, and the transatlantic by focusing on Florence and Italy. Specifically, we will address the three major categories of what scholars call “Italian mobilities": tourism and the “Grand Tour”; emigration from Italy, especially to the U. S.; and the contemporary migration and refugee crisis.

For more information regarding the program, view the Cultures of Migration brochure.

Encounters with Italian Language and Culture June 21 - July 20, 2019

Join us in Florence and Fiesole to continue your language studies in the “birthplace” of the Italian language. You will be fully immersed not only in the language but also in the culture. While classes will be held daily at Villa Le Balze, you will live with a local Italian host family for the duration of the 4-week program. You’ll step outside of the traditional classroom setting and accelerate your learning through excursions and events with local Florentines throughout the city.

For more information regarding the program, view the Advanced Italian brochure.

The Brain and the Experience of Beauty in Art June 28 - July 20, 2019

This course introduces students to how the brain experiences beauty in visual art. This is a new field of brain research called neuroesthetics. The course will explore and analyze these experiences studying portrait painting from different angles, and will have three main components. The first will be understanding visual information processing and its relationship to the experience of beauty in the brain. In the second, we will study the genre of portrait painting, and its evolution and development by masters from periods ranging from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century. Finally, the students will learn the principles of portrait painting, produce their own art in watercolor, and analyze it scientifically.

For more information regarding the program, view the Brain & Beauty brochure.

Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca

Plague, Tuscany, & the Globalization of a Disease June 28 - July 20, 2019

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 & Tuscany brochure.


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 considered 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 can be fulfill major, minor and certificate, other degree requirements, with appropriate approval from their 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 webpage. 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.

Summer Program Scholarships

Villa Le Balze Dual-Program Scholarship

We are excited to announce that students who participate on two (2) summer 2018 programs at Villa Le Balze will receive an automatic $500 credit towards the second program.

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.