A Semester in Urbino, Italy


A Semester in Urbino, Italy

Explore mobile photography as you experience Italy the way the Italians do.


In the spring of 2022 Iowa State University will offer, for the fourth time, a spring semester in cooperation with the University of Urbino in Urbino, Italy. Associate Professor Deni Chamberlin leads this LAS Study Abroad program, which is open to all majors who meet the prerequisites.

You’ll attend classes that focus on topics such as Renaissance art history and literature, take an intensive Italian language course and study photojournalism with a focus on mobile phone image making. Classes will take place in the historic city center but many class sessions will also take place outside of the traditional classroom, including trips to Florence, Siena, Rome and other towns closer to Urbino. In your free time, you’ll also have the opportunity to travel to other destinations in Italy and beyond.

Immerse yourself in Italian culture as you make friends, earn 15 credits and have the experience of a lifetime. Adventure starts now.

The City

Urbino, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a picturesque Renaissance city that sits on top a hill in central Italy. Approximately the same size as Ames, the city is rich with art and history that is normally only found in major cities – the painter Raffaello grew up there. Today the city, with a population of 15,000, is home to the University of Urbino which brings approximately another 15,000 inhabitants during the academic year.

Unlike the larger cities of Italy that cater to foreign tourists, Urbino offers a small-town experience. Its historic center is very much alive with the daily activities of the citizens as they pick up groceries at a neighborhood shop or stroll in the evening with a gelato in hand. Living in a foreign country for an extended period of time will allow you to integrate into a community in a way that is not possible during short visits. Within weeks you will be calling out “Ciao!” to you neighbors. You will find that people in Urbino will do their best, with a friendly smile, to help you learn Italian and feel at home in their gorgeous town.

Although the municipality is spread out over an area twice the size of Ames, most of the town’s amenities are concentrated in, or just outside the city center and easily accessible by foot or city bus. Don’t forget to pack shoes that are good for climbing the hilly streets that make up the town!

Walking around Urbino streets and afternoon light.

Housing and Meals

All students will be housed in single rooms with a private bath in the Collegio del Colle at the University of Urbino. A full meal plan (21 meals a week) at the two university cafeterias is included in the program fee. One cafeteria is located at the dorm and the second one is in the historic city center.

The 2018 class participated in a food photography workshop at the renowned restaurant Casa Tintoria and followed that with an amazing meal.
The 2018 class participated in a food photography workshop at the renowned restaurant Casa Tintoria and followed that with an amazing meal.


  • Italian (3 cr.) Intensive class that takes place Monday-Friday during the first two weeks and then twice a week for the rest of the semester. Italian films will be shown during afternoon sessions.
  • Art History of the Renaissance (3 cr.) – ART H 385 Meets humanities requirement.
  • Literature of the Renaissance (3 cr.) – WLC 300 Meets humanities requirement.
  • History of Material Culture (3 cr.)
  • Fundamentals of Mobile Photography (3 cr.) — JL MC 311 * Meets Greenlee majors 300-level skills requirement.

*All participants must register and complete the sequence of five courses listed above.*

Students visit a 15th century villa and learn about the frescos on the walls.

Program Prerequisites

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
  • Students are not required to have previous photography courses.
Donatella, owner of the restaurant Casa Tintoria, explains the history of her Urbania restaurant to students after an afternoon meal and food photography session.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The semester program cost is comparable to the cost of studying in Ames for one semester. Iowa resident students will pay approximately the same as staying in Ames and living in a dormitory with a meal plan and non-resident students will note that costs are less than a semester on campus. See ISUAbroad’s budget worksheet for more info.

Participants can generally apply their financial aid packages to study in Urbino and should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information. Some departments, as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, offer competitive scholarships specifically for students studying abroad. Learn more about LAS study abroad scholarships and deadlines.

Greenlee School Study Abroad Scholarship Application for Spring 2022 is due by Oct. 15, 2021 (11:59 p.m.). This scholarship is for Greenlee primary majors planning to study abroad in Spring 2022. Apply here.

Students who receive a pell grant are eligible for the Gilman Scholarship which is due Oct. 5, 2021.

Contact Deni Chamberlin, program director, or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Office.

Download the Program Brochure


Apply by Oct. 15, 2021. For more information, visit the ISUAbroad website.

Urbino Student Experiences

What’s it like to study abroad in Urbino? Find out from students who have completed the program in the posts below. You can also follow @cyclonesinurbino on Instagram. #cyclonesinurbino20