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

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. Please visit the USAC website for complete course descriptions and prerequisites.

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 take place.

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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.

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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; 100-level; 4 credits)
Summer Session II (Italian; 100-level; 4 credits)

Introduction to the language through the development of language skills and through structural analysis. The fundamentals of grammar (all verb tenses), vocabulary, and useful expressions are studied. The objective of these courses is to build reading, writing, listening, and above all, speaking skills.

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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)

This course will provide an understanding of the dynamics in intercultural communication. Emphasis will be placed on communication perceptions, self-awareness, and world views. Students will develop recognition of their own cultural communication style and the way it differs from other cultures. By examining barriers to intercultural communication, such as ethnocentrism and stereotyping, students will develop cultural sensitivity and become more competent in communicating interculturally. Emphasis will be on the culture(s) of the host country.

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Intermediate Italian I

Summer Session I (Italian; 200-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Italian; 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; 100-level; 1 credit)
Summer Session II (Italian; 100-level; 1 credit)

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

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Italian Composition I

Summer Session I (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)

Designed to continue expanding accuracy in writing Italian. Covers syntax and idiomatic usage. 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)

This course is based on the principle that cooking is a way to get to learn the culture, and learning the culture is a way to appreciate the cooking better. It has both a theoretical and a practical side.

The theoretical side consists in discussions and readings on regional history, geography, and social customs. We will discuss Italian food and products, where they came from, how they were used in the past or in the present, and how popular they are, etc. The course should give you some knowledge of the most common dishes of Italian cuisine, especially Northern Italian cuisine.

The practical side consists in learning to prepare typical Italian regional dishes and in sampling them. You will be encouraged to participate by assisting in the preparation of the dishes.

Not recommended for students on a gluten-free diet.

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Italian Culture

Summer Session I (Anthropology, Italian; 200-level; 1 credit)

This course in an introduction to the basic features of contemporary Italian culture. 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; 400-level; 3 credits)
Summer Session II (General Education; 400-level; 1 credit)

The aim of the course is to discuss international education approaches with a main 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.

This course also includes an overview of the Montessori method and philosophy of education. This is an excellent opportunity for potential or future teachers who wish to learn these methods to individualize their early childhood education programs. It includes the application and analysis of the Montessori philosophy and method, a short survey of Montessori's life and work, terminology, Montessori's research on child development, normalization/socialization of the child, and the fundamental methods used in Montessori classrooms. The class includes methods for motivating, teaching "discipline," managing the classroom for the individualization of learning activities for Montessori environments, and applying and integrating these methods into the traditional classroom. Diversity, assessment, special needs and other important issues in child studies are also addressed. Included is also instruction in the planning, design, and implementation of the beginning curriculum areas of Montessori settings for ages 0-6 years old. Strategies for socialization of children group settings through developmentally appropriate practice and curriculum are studied and applied through practical experience. The course teaches strategies for teaching young children in the areas of practical life (everyday living), sensory education, art, music and movement. Various methods for individualizing learning and classroom management are stressed.

If time permits, the course will help also in the preparation to teach in a Montessori preschool setting as well as integrate the methods into traditional classrooms. Presentations of the Montessori curriculum areas include math, language, geography, social studies and science.

It is fundamental to review education principles along with some essential theories. We will put theories into practice in role playing exercises as well as with young students, where and when possible. We will use an interactive, hands-on approach in class. We will ask students to theorize, research, analyze and produce examples, exercises and concrete materials for a potential future in education / teaching / working with young students. The city of Reggio Emilia will be the most appropriate background and context for our study of the Reggio philosophy, and we will include guest speakers, materials and at least one to two visits to the Reggio Children facility which was created and is based in Reggio Emilia, as well as at least one visit to a local school. Both visit sites will include time of observation, note-taking, interaction with teachers and administrators, as well as interaction with your professor and classmates. Each visit will be analyzed in depth in the following class meeting. A reflective writing assignment will be given for each visit.

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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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