Reggio Emilia, Italy
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Reggio Emilia Courses - 2021 Spring

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 12 to 18 credits per semester comprised of language study plus electives in education, communications, health and nutrition, and Italian studies. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Italian Language Studies

All students must enroll in an intensive six-week Italian language course at the start of each semester, which allows for rapid acquisition of language and culture. The course is offered at three different levels with a maximum class size of 15 and focuses on the skills of speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

Intensive Language Period

After the intensive period, you have the option to enroll in one of the following language courses and/or a conversation course for further practice.

Fall Semester

Education, Communications, Health, and Italian Studies

Taught in English

Spring Semester

Education, Communications, Health/Nutrition, and Italian Studies

Taught in English

To request a course syllabus:

Host University Courses

The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) occasionally offers courses taught in English that are open to USAC students for audit or credit, if the schedule allows. Courses taken at UNIMORE are in addition to your USAC classes and do not replace USAC credits. Work with your Resident Director to determine your options and to avoid conflicts with your USAC class schedule.

Field Studies

USAC helps you explore the historical, cultural, and natural features of the region with carefully planned excursions and field trips. These experiences combined with academic components (readings, research, lectures, written assignments, etc) deepen your understanding of the subject matter. The Italian Food Highlights and Hospitality Field Study course is an example of this type of course.


USAC internships are rich resources for your academic and professional development. Students will be working in an authentic local environment, with exposure to the Italian language. Italian language ability is not necessary to complete an internship, but helpful. Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses. Internship credit(s) are only offered in addition to the minimum 12-credit load.

Reggio Emilia internship opportunities fall into broad categories; previous placements have included: English tutoring or assisting in English classes in local schools and after-school activities; administrative work in the USAC program office; writing / journalism / creative writing / reporting / video making (print, tv, radio); media department; reporting/ translating at Reggio film festival; local health offices (nursing, physical therapy, hospital, occupational therapy, pharmacy), and other exercise /health related option. Other internship sites are possible. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by your application and supporting materials and an interview onsite with the internship sponsor.

Eligibility: enrollment in Reggio Emilia program, a minimum 3.0 GPA and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of $200 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

Course Descriptions

Aging: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Spring (General Health Sciences, Sociology; 300-level; 3 credits)

Introduces the study of aging, its implications for individuals, families, and society, and the background for health policy related to older persons. Presents an overview on aging from different perspectives: demography, biology, epidemiology of diseases, physical and mental disorders, functional capacity and disability, health services, federal and state health policies, social aspects of aging, and ethical issues in the care of older individuals.

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Cognitive Psychology

Spring (Psychology; 400-level; 3 credits)

The course covers human cognition, the ways we come to understand and know ourselves and the world around us. This includes such topics as memory, attention, conceptualization, problem-solving, decision-making and reasoning. Developments in research into cognitive psychology will be discussed.

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Communication Between the Sexes

Fall (Speech Communications; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (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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Comparative Education

Spring (General Education, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the origins and development of the field of comparative and international education and to explore how both scholars and educational policymakers have engaged some of the debates that characterize policy and research in education around the world. Special attention is devoted to similarities and differences in educational policy and practice between advanced and developing capitalist, socialist and “transitional” societies. At the end of this course, students should be able to think about their school or educational system within a global context, and how to make meaningful comparisons. Other basic purposes of the course are to introduce students to the broad topic of comparative education and to develop understanding of different theoretical approaches for understanding formal and non-formal educational issues in comparative perspective. Attention is also devoted to similarities and differences in educational policy and practice between “emerging” societies and others. Students will gain first hand understanding of an alternative systems of education through theoretical knowledge and observation of practice in Italian local schools.

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Comparative Global Health Issues and Systems

Fall (General Health Sciences; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course examines both global health issues and health systems from a comparative view. It will explore the health care systems and structures in light of their relative success in addressing health care delivery, quality and costs. Students will acquire tools and concepts for analyzing health care systems and will apply them to various global examples.

Important global health issues such as healthy lifestyle, prevention programs and ethic medical issues will be analyzed, looking also at the role of media.

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Early Childhood Education

Fall (General Education, Human Development and Family Studies; 200-level; 3 credits)

Principles of working with young children ages birth through eight years old in child care and other group settings. The course covers philosophies, theories, history, program models, practices and resources, environment, curriculum, and guidance, and emerging issues in the field.

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Education for a Changing World

Fall (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

Fall (Italian; 100-level; 4 credits)
Spring (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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Elementary Italian II

Fall (Italian; 100-level; 4 credits)
Spring (Italian; 100-level; 4 credits)

Introduction to the Italian language through the development of language skills and structural analysis. The course also includes an introduction to Italian culture.

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Food and Culture

Spring (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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Foundations for Personal Health and Wellness

Fall (Community Health Sciences; 100-level; 3 credits)

The course explores health attitudes, knowledge and behaviors of self and others with a goal of understanding the value and personal responsibility for a healthful lifestyle. It will include wide range of personal health topics such as the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and environmental influences on personal health.

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Health and Wellness Communication

Spring (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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Intercultural Communication

Fall (Speech Communications; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (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

Fall (Italian; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (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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Intermediate Italian II

Fall (Italian; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (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: three semesters of college Italian.

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Italian Cinema and Film Criticism

Fall (Film / TV Production, Journalism, Other Foreign Language, Speech Communications; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course intends to use Italian films in order to speak about film criticism and as a key to understanding Italian society and culture. The history of Italian cinema will be read through its relationships with film genres, literature and the political and social landscape surrounding the making of the films and partially explaining its contents.

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Italian Composition I

Fall (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (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 Composition II

Fall (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)

Designed to continue expanding accuracy in writing Italian. Covers syntax and idiomatic usage. Prerequisite: five semesters of college Italian.

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Italian Conversation

Fall (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Italian; 300-level; 3 credits)

This course facilitates the acquisition of language necessary to express oneself in daily situations as well as in more difficult contexts. Functionally oriented conversational themes and related vocabulary and phraseology will be introduced for discussion and intensive practice.

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Italian Cuisine

Fall (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (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

Fall (Anthropology, Italian; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Anthropology, Italian; 200-level; 3 credits)

This course analyzes various aspects of Italian culture through lectures, readings, discussions, and observation research projects. The main course objectives are to develop an understanding of contemporary Italy, encompassing its recent history, regional differences, social institutions, and contemporary issues. Students will be asked to reflect on their cultural upbringings and beliefs, and to share their Italian culture experiences in class. Particular attention will be given to breaking down commonly held stereotypes and revealing the realities of contemporary Italian life.

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Italian Food Highlights and Hospitality Field Study

Spring (Nutrition, Other Foreign Language; 300-level; 1 credit)

This field study course is designed to provide a solid base for studies of Italian food and hospitality practices- ideal for students of hospitality, cuisine, culture, Italian studies and many other areas. The point of departure for the course will be the sites visited on various outings around Reggio and the region of Emilia Romagna. We will use the mouthwatering backdrop of the Emilia Romagna region to learn about Italian food and hospitality highlights. We will focus on examples of the Italian food industry known around the world, including Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar, pasta, prosciutto ham and gelato. Visits to at least 2-4 production sites and points of sale will be scheduled. Discussions and presentations by local experts in the fields of Italian food production, sales and hospitality will be included. While Italian cuisine will be the main focus, the related important cultural topic of hospitality will also be addressed.

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Models of Teaching

Spring (General Education; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course is the study of various models of instruction with an emphasis on application in classrooms. This course provides students with the theoretical and practical understandings of how to use models of teaching to both meet and exceed the growing expectations for instructional practices and student achievement. This course employs the use of the following teaching methods: in-class discussions, technology application, group work, and class presentations.

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Multicultural Education Issues

Spring (Art, General Education; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course seeks to address and delve into curriculum and pedagogy issues relevant to race, religion, primary language, gender, and socio-economic class differences. The course helps to address and fine-tune curriculum and teaching strategies in order to meet the needs of diverse learners. The course provides a structured approach for understanding contemporary education issues, addressing curriculum and education materials with an eye on diversity, and developing teaching and assessment strategies targeting the achievement gap and diverse student needs.

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Nutrition Across the Lifespan

Fall (Nutrition; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course addresses the effects of nutrition at all stages of the lifecyle 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.

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Social Media and Intercultural Media Topics

Fall (Speech Communications; 300-level; 3 credits)

Analysis and use of current and emerging social media, in relation to intercultural media issues at play within the city and in Europe, as tools to enhance educational opportunities, integration and reciprocal comprenhension, and digital storytelling. The course will emphasize multimedia-rich genres of journalistic storytelling, for example, blogs and features (profiles, slice-of-life stories, etc.). Students will also produce reflective and analytic multimedia texts. Course assignments are often project based.

It is mandatory to take notes and to present each day of class the assignments due. The class will focus more on the practical side than the theoretical side of the connection between social media, communication and journalism, offering tools to analyze different scenes. A theoretic basis will be provided as needed at the start of the course.

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Spring (Recreation / Physical Education; 100-level; 1 credit)

This course introduces and applies fundamentals of yoga, including varying disciplines and posture, alignment, and breathing in order to establish a basic yoga practice.

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