Reggio Emilia, Italy
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Reggio Emilia Courses - 2020 Summer Sessions I & II

Summer Session I has been cancelled due to CDC and State Department advisory levels.  A decision regarding Summer Session II will be made mid-April. Please check back here for updates.

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


You will enroll in three to six credits in Session I and in three to five credits in Session II. At least one 3-credit course is required each summer session. Course availability is contingent upon student interest and enrollment and is subject to change.

Italian Language Studies

Summer language courses are intensive, with one to four credits of Italian taught in each session. Language courses generally have a maximum enrollment of 15 students each (varying upon level).

Session I and Session II

Education, Communications, Health, and Italian Studies

Taught in English

The following courses are designed to familiarize you with the region as well as provide a multi-disciplinary perspective to your studies.

Session I

Session II

To request a course syllabus:


Reggio Emilia internship opportunities fall into broad categories that include: assistance in university offices, tutoring English or other languages to Italian university students or children; advertising of USAC and local organizations/firms; English-language kindergarten or elementary summer schools. Additional options with local companies, associations or university departments in health, education, communications areas may be available. Italian language ability is not necessary to complete an internship, but helpful.

The 1-credit internship option is only available for students participating in both sessions. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC; it will be determined by your application, supporting materials and an interview on-site with the internship sponsor.
Eligibility: enrollment in the Reggio Emilia summer program, a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of $100 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

U.S. Professors

Most USAC courses are taught by local faculty; however, the following professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Session I:

Dr. Cheryl Dye | Clemson University

Course offered:

Dr. Cheryl Dye is Director of the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging. She has taught eleven courses in the US, Costa Rica and Italy and received over $6M in funding for her research on promoting healthy lifestyles through use of community-based programs and health coaching.

Session II:

Dr. Gina Cook | California State University, Stanislaus

Course offered:

Gina Cook, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Child Development at CSU Stanislaus is a  Simms/Mann Faculty Fellow and co-developed a measure to evaluate parent-child interactions (used worldwide) and a measure to evaluate home-visitor effectiveness. Her research focuses on early parenting and caregiver behaviors that predict later child outcomes, specifically school readiness.

Course Descriptions

Communication Between the Sexes

Summer Session II (Speech Communications; 400-level; 3 credits)

Students will approach issues of gender and communication, both verbal and non-verbal, through critical analysis of stereotypes, socialization, and male/female interactions using theoretical perspectives. Various social interaction environments such as workplaces, families, media, and friendships will be explored. A special look at the host culture will also be considered.

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Contemporary Issues in Social and Emotional Development

Summer Session II (Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course will explore the various theories regarding early social and emotional development. Contemporary issues, such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), grit, technology, and mindfulness will be discussed as well as their influence on outcomes of attachment security, self-regulation, self-esteem, and aggression. Emphasis will be placed on the social and emotional developmental processes of the typical infant and young child.

An introductory course in human development or family studies is recommended, but not required.

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Education for a Changing World

Summer Session I (General Education; 400-level; 3 credits)

The course will address education's role in society by examining some major philosophical and sociological foundations related to educational theory and practice. It will include the evolution of US education systems and practices and the role of society in shaping those systems. Topics may include issues such increasing global influences, multiculturalism, language, culture, geography, immigration, environment, and government as they connect to education in a changing world.

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Elementary Italian I

Summer Session I (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 100-level; 4 credits)
Summer Session II (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 100-level; 4 credits)

Introduction to the Italian language through the development of language skills and structural analysis. It includes an introduction to the Italian culture. This course is designed to develop students’ linguistic skills in communicating in Italian, learning, and using the basic structural patterns of the language. Intensive study will encourage students in a quicker immersion in Italian life and in a deeper understanding of it.

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Food and Culture

Summer Session II (Nutrition; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course explores connections between the food people eat and how it supports, or helps define, cultural identity. This includes consideration of how food choices are determined, what ‘good’ food means, and how food production, preparation and consumption contribute to and reflect cultural identity. The course seeks to provide students with theoretical and empirical tools to understand and evaluate food systems at local and global levels.

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Gender Issues in Education

Summer Session II (Education; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course helps educators, school counselors, school administrators, policy makers, and others concerned with the field of education gain insight into gender issues in K-12 and postsecondary education in general and in specific subject areas. Attention to the role of family and community will be included. Issues addressed relate to female and male students, educators, and administrators. Examples will be drawn from various countries, with a particular focus on Italy.

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Health and Wellness Communication

Summer Session II (General Health Sciences, Speech Communications; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course introduces students to the theory/practice of health communication as a context within which dyadic, small group, and organizational communication occurs and which is influenced by mass media in a variety of ways. Students examine topics such as the history and current issues associated with health communication, the complexity of patient-caregiver communication, social and cultural issues associated with health communication, communication in health organizations, and public health concerns. The mode of instruction is predominantly discussion with some lecture. Guest speakers and local visits are incorporated to supplement course material. The topic is one that will touch you and your family throughout your lives and as such, it has significant immediate and long-term practical value.

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Healthy Aging: A Global Perspective

Summer Session I (Community Health Sciences; 300-level; 3 credits)

Healthy lifestyles in supportive environments are key to healthy aging. Students will learn how to reduce the effects of aging on both physical and mental health and will study how aging differs in different cultures with special emphasis on Italian culture. The course covers the latest research from several fields such as public health, healthcare, architecture, sociology, psychology, nutrition, and exercise science and its application into practical strategies appropriate for a variety of professional settings. Students will also become proficient in health coaching so that they can motivate others to make lifestyle changes that promote healthy aging.

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Intercultural Communication

Summer Session I (Speech Communications; 300-level; 3 credits)

The purpose of this course is to develop the skills necessary to build and maintain positive communication and relationships across cultures. Students will explore the definition, nature and manifestation of culture while examining their own values, traditions and beliefs. Through active in-class and out-of-class activities, students will learn about the similarities and differences in communication behaviors and explore language usage, nonverbal style, and perceptions in order to see how they influence face-to-face communication between individuals of different cultures in the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. Knowledge about diverse communication and observation practices will enhance the ability to work and to live in a global marketplace.

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Intermediate Italian I

Summer Session I (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 200-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 200-level; 3 credits)

Intended to further develop Italian language skills, both oral and written. Conversation, reading, and writing focus on culture and modern literature. Particular emphasis on oral skills.

Prerequisite: two semesters of college Italian.

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Introduction to Italian Language I

Summer Session I (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 100-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 100-level; 1 credit)

The course objective is to enhance the period of study in Italy for participants with little or no knowledge of the Italian language. A working basic knowledge is provided, including a general introduction to common vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Emphasis is placed on oral communication and pronunciation. Class activities will include some role playing and dialogues. Additional activities such as language lab work and possible class visits to enhance the course topics may be scheduled.

This course is for students not taking intensive Italian language. It is designed to help students assimilate into the community.

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Italian Composition I

Summer Session I (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 300-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course focus is on enabling students to communicate effectively at a high level in Italian. The aim is to develop communicative and writing aspects of the Italian language at a significantly advanced level (utilizing and confirming all the skills from previous levels of courses – from Elementary, and Intermediate through level Composition I). Designed to continue expanding accuracy in Italian composition. Covers syntax and idiomatic usage. The course is designed to continue expanding accuracy in Italian language regarding all competencies. This course will further develop students’ linguistic skills in communicating in Italian, learning, and using complex structural patterns of the language. The course reviews grammar and syntax with intensive practice on refining writing skills, which will be associated with typical subjects of Italian life and culture.

Prerequisite: four semesters of college Italian.

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Italian Cuisine

Summer Session I (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)

In each class meeting, after the lecture, discussion, and introduction to new material and topics of the day, we will start our food preparation and cooking. We will learn how to prepare Italian meals: antipasti, first courses, second courses with vegetable side dishes, and desserts. We will learn how to make a good espresso, as well as how to accompany each dish with the right wine. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance. Attention will also be given to traditional Italian tableware, setting of table, etiquette, and general eating behaviour. Having dinner together will be one of the pleasures of the class.

Not recommended for students on a gluten-free diet.

Maximum enrollment is 20 students.

This course has an additional fee for materials and supplies.

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Italian Culture

Summer Session I (Italian, World Languages and Literatures; 200-level; 1 credit)

This course is an introduction to the basic features of contemporary Italian culture, particularly within the region of Emilia Romagna. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of their time in Italy as active, curious, non-judgmental observers and researchers. Through class discussions, lectures, and assignments, students will develop an understanding of Italian geography, demographics, commonly practiced norms and values, and important issues facing modern-day Italy. Students are asked to reflect on their own cultural knowledge and beliefs and to share their Italian cultural experiences in each class meeting.

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Italian/International Educational Approaches: Reggio and Montessori

Summer Session I (General Education, Human Development and Family Studies; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (General Education, Human Development and Family Studies; 400-level; 1 credit)

The aim of the course is to discuss international education approaches with a focus on the two major ones related to childhood education (pre-K, K, elementary): Montessori and Reggio.

The course will include lectures, inquiry-based dialogues and discussions, audiovisual presentations, critical thinking activities, and projects. This course introduces participants to the experience of the city of Reggio Emilia, in northern Italy, in designing and sustaining infant-toddler centers and schools for children ages 3-6 that have astonished the world with the children’s competence. The high quality of the experience provided for children and families illuminates what it is possible for a culture to support and serves as an inspiration to many cultures to re-imagine education for young children in their own language and culture. We will study features of their experience closely, in particular the environment as a third teacher, documentation, materials as graphic languages of expression, inquiry as theory-building, and collaboration.

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Nutrition Across the Lifespan

Summer Session I (Nutrition; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course addresses the effects of nutrition at all stages of the life cycle from both social and biological views. Nutrient needs for normal growth and development at the various stages from preconception and pregnancy through late life will be examined along with common nutritional deficiencies. This course addresses nutritional concerns, requirements, and metabolism from conception through the aging process. Cultural, environmental, psychosocial, physical, and economic factors affecting dietary intake and nutrition status through the life cycle will be addressed.

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