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*Communication and Culture in Tuscany

Bologna, Italy ; Florence, Italy ; Siena, Italy

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty program director CostsDatesApplication



The MU International Center sponsors this summer, faculty-led program in collaboration with the Department of Communication.

This program offers the opportunity to learn about culture and communication in a vibrant Italian setting. You will study how culture and communication theories are enacted and challenged all around you. This program facilitates understanding of cross-cultural communication theories and experiences both through traditional classroom discussion and opportunities to visit local businesses, museums and churches, and enjoy delicious meals surrounded by locals and people from all over the world who are drawn to this beautiful and historic area.



You will be enrolled in two MU courses for a total of six credits.

COMMUN 3470: Culture as Communication (3) — At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain and discuss real world applications of at least three key theories of intercultural communication.
  • Identify key cultural differences among the U.S., Italy and other cultures.
  • Interact more effectively with people from other cultures, both talking and listening.
  • Recognize cultural commitments and assumptions that are part of policies and organizational decision making.
  • Have a more critical perspective on American culture, recognizing the presence of ethnocentrism.

COMMUN 4960: Directed Readings in the History, Culture and Communication of Food in Italy (3) — At the conclusion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Analyze aspects of the history, culture and communication of Italy and Tuscany as reflected in their cuisine, gastronomic traditions and language.
  • Analyze, describe and compare the communication, art and the context of Tuscan and Sienese foods in their past and present socio-cultural connotations.
  • Speak some very basic Italian, with a particular emphasis on participating in the food culture through language.

Academic credit

You will be enrolled in actual MU courses. You are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, you must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will calculate into your MU GPA and appear on your MU transcript when grades are recorded by the faculty program director. You must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to your home university. You must work with your home university to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The MU International Center will issue one transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on your Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU Registrar.


Accommodations and meals

You will stay in shared rooms with shared baths in furnished apartments. These centrally-located apartments will include a kitchen and access to laundry facilities. Each apartment will be equipped with basic cooking utensils and supplies, and will have easy access to local markets and grocery stores. Bed linens and pillows will be provided on-site. With the exception of a few group meals, you will be responsible for all meals on your own.

Host cities and surrounding areas

Set among the gorgeous hills of Tuscany in northern Italy, this program will encourage you to take full advantage of the opportunities for conversation, sightseeing, food and connection in this beautiful area. As an amazingly well-preserved medieval city nestled in the Tuscan countryside about 45 miles from Florence, Siena is a major tourist attraction and bustling university town. But with only 70,000 residents — 20,000 of whom are students at the two local universities — Siena feels like a best-kept secret, allowing you opportunities for gentle immersion into an exploration of Italian society and culture.

Founded nearly 3,000 years ago, Siena remains an important political, financial and artistic center in Italy. Siena is perhaps most famous for its heart-stopping horse race, Il Palio. This spectacular event takes place twice a summer in the central square of the city and has roots that can be traced back centuries. The first race occurs during the last week of this program. The race pits each of the city's 17 neighborhoods, or contrades, against one another in a 75 second bareback horse race, with the victorious neighborhood celebrating for an entire year. This is the first year the program will stay for the race, and it will be an experience to last a lifetime.

Nearby Florence is a vibrant Italian city known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Its people, monuments, architecture, cuisine and art create a tapestry of Tuscan culture that you will learn about during a two-day visit to the city. Its close proximity to Siena invites your continued enjoyment of Florence throughout the program. In addition to the major cities, seemingly endless nearby coastal and hill towns are waiting to be explored via bus or train. Enjoy some hazelnut gelato while taking in the towers of San Gimignano. Walk along the cliffs in sun-drenched Cinque Terre. Ride a bike along the fortified wall surrounding Lucca or watch flag tossing in Corona. The options abound.

There will be at least one long weekend during the program, allowing easy independent travel to nearby locations. Rome, Milan, Venice, Pisa and Cinque Terre are all within two to four hours of Siena. Overall, Siena is the perfect home base for the study and enjoyment of Italian culture and communication in Tuscany. You will experience what Italians call la dulce vita, the sweet life.


You will travel with the group, but will have opportunities to explore some sites independently during your time abroad.

Faculty program director

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students with opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.

Please contact former faculty program leader Rebecca Meisenbach ( with any questions.


Program budget

Additional expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial aid information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarships toward program costs.

Dates and deadlines

Term Application deadline Program start Program end
Summer 2019 02/15/2019 05/30/2019 07/05/2019
Summer 2020 02/15/2020 05/28/2020 07/03/2020


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you start an application for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the International Center study abroad adviser listed in the program snapshot if you have any questions.
  2. Start an application using the button below if you are an MU student.
    • Non-MU students should visit our page for non-MU participants for more information about the application process.
    • Once you have started an application, you can return to it later by logging in to myStudyAbroad (see the button at the top of the page).
  3. Complete and submit your application.
  4. Receive your admissions decision within 7–10 business days.

Ready to get started? APPLY NOW