Ferrara, Italy

Italian Language & Culture

Apply by 5/1 and get $400 off!
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Information for term Italian Language & Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Sep 4 – Dec 8, 2020 (14 weeks)*

Application Deadline

May 1, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Sep 4, 2020 – Apr 26, 2021 (33 weeks)*


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Learn to speak Italian like a native in tranquil Ferrara.

Arrive in Ferrara ready to live and learn in a historic city with a tight-knit and “homey” feel. The city is small and relatively free of tourists, with easy access to all the major cities of Italy. It’s such a bike-friendly place that CIEE will provide you with a bike so you can explore the city like the locals!

You’ll stay with a welcoming Italian homestay no more than 15 minutes from where you’ll be studying. With them, you’ll shop at local markets, prepare and share meals, and practice your Italian while living the typical everyday life of the family.

In the classroom, you’ll enter intensive Italian language study with other international students and Americans at the University of Ferrara. When you’re not in class, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city and participate in cultural activities like learning to make pasta and gelato, touring historic buildings, and supporting the local soccer team.

Every day in this tranquil, history-rich city will provide opportunities to gain new knowledge on the banks of the River Po, in a city still surrounded by its medieval walls. Your Italian language skills will flourish, and you’ll create memories you’ll take with you for the rest of your life.

The Take-Aways

  • Language Proficiency

    18 hours per week of Italian language instruction spanning three levels

  • Global Citizenship & Cultural Competence

    Completion of CIEE’s Global Competence course providing you with a strong foundation in the core components of intercultural learning.

  • Certificate

    Earn a Certificate of Learning in Italian and for one optional college-level course

  • of alumni said their language skills improved

  • said it made them more mature young adults

  • said their level of independence increased


Location & Culture

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Perfect your Italian in a beautiful city full of Old World charms.

Seen as Italy’s hidden treasure, the oft-overlooked medieval and Renaissance city of Ferrara draws visitors for its historic art and architecture, still-standing medieval walls, and tranquil atmosphere. A small city with tourist attractions yet a “homey” feel, it features a multitude of green spaces and accessible, bike-friendly streets. CIEE will even provide you a bike, if you’d like to join the locals in their preferred mode of transportation.

Ferrara’s location on a major rail line means you’ll enjoy easy getaways to major Italian cities like Venice and Milan, and the nearby airport in Bologna places other European cities a quick flight away. An artistic and intellectual center of the Italian Renaissance, Ferrara is home to landmarks such as the magnificent Castello Estense, the royal residence of the Estes, its former ruling family. The Ferrara Cathedral and National Archaeological Museum are also popular attractions you’ll want to explore.

Whichever adventures you choose to take on, you’ll be living and studying in a safe, accessible, history-rich gem of a city with a wealth of cultural and social activities.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"After my trip with CIEE I have definitely grown in ways I never could if I had stayed in the US."

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blog.


  • Housing

    Private bedroom in home of carefully screened homestay. Most of our homestays in Ferrara have hosted CIEE students for at least 5 years.

  • Local Support

    CIEE resident staff available 24/7.


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Sample Activities

  • Visit a local gelateria for a tour, lesson, and tasting
  • Take off by train to the historic ruins of Pompeii for a guided tour
  • Experience the spectacle of the Palio di Ferrara — a historical reenactment including parades, races, and competitions
  • Hop on a bus to Verona to explore the site of the epic Romeo and Juliet story, with special visits to Juliet’s house and the famed tower

Your program fee includes two day trips and one multiday excursion hosted by CIEE staff per semester, so you’ll get the chance to take in the diverse sights and sounds of several Italian hot spots:


Hop on a train for a fun day trip to Ravenna, a city that’s rich with art and famous for its colorful mosaics. You’ll go on a guided tour, visit a mosaic workshop, and even have some free time to explore on your own.

Take off by train to Italy’s most-visited destination – the canal city of Venice, built on more than 100 islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. You’ll take a guided walking tour to see sights like the Piazza San Marco , where you’ll find St. Mark’s Basilica. Then you’ll get free time to explore, soak it in, and maybe even travel the canals in a gondola!


This multiday adventure will take you to Naples and Pompeii, where you’ll visit the famous Roman ruins that have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your excursion will also include a guided tour of Naples and some food tastings.


Head out on a private bus for a day trip to Verona to visit the site of the epic Romeo and Juliet story. There, you’ll take a guided tour of Juliet’s house and climb the famed tower for a panoramic view of the city.

Set out for a culinary dream adventure to this epicurean center! In Modena, you’ll spend the day tasting famous foods of Italy in the locations where they’re made. Lunch and tastings are on the agenda, and you’ll see the production of balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese.


During the spring semester, you’ll travel to Turin on an overnight trip. The experience is jam-packed with a visit to the second largest Egyptian museum in the world – Museo Egizio, you’ll do a wine tasting of local Barolo wines outside of the city and have a tour of the Juventus soccer stadium. Of course there will be free time to explore all that Turin has to offer. Take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Sacra Sindone to view the Shroud of Turin or simply relax with a good cappuccino in a café.

Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

What People are Saying

  • In a moment, I realized what the key to building relationships here was. It was not trying to change my American ways to fit Italian ways, or my foreign language accents to be rid of any hint of American. It was to do my best to learn to love different kinds of people so that I can appreciate the language and culture through the people's eyes; appreciate the individual person as a person, not defined as their nationality.

    Hannah H., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna
  • Life is all about being comfortable with new things, taking advantage of opportunities whenever they come along, being independent, and thinking on your feet. This program helped me strengthen in all these ways more than any amount of university studies could.

    Taisa K., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna
  • Taking a gap year was the best decision that I could have made before heading off to college. I have come out a more mature, open-minded, culturally aware, and ultimately happier person. I entered college with a sense of accomplishment for already having spent a year in transition and I find that it is already paying off both socially and academically. If anyone is considering taking a gap year, the answer should be yes!

    Kira F., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna

Eligibility & Fees

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Eligibility & Fees


Fall: Rolling Admissions
Spring: October 15
Contact CIEE for more information.


  • High school graduates in good academic standing.
  • Students must demonstrate, through the application and interview process, flexibility and maturity.
  • Students must be 18 years or older at the time of their departure.
  • No previous language experience required.


Application Fee


You can create a duo program by combining any two CIEE Gap Year Abroad semesters and get 10% off the second semester.

Apply to a Fall Semester or Academic Year term by our 5/1 priority deadline and get $400 off the cost of your program.

Program fee includes iNext travel insurance. Full inclusions are found online.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Academic Year 2020 33 weeks May 1, 2020 Sep 4, 2020* Apr 26, 2021*


Fall 2020 14 weeks May 1, 2020 Sep 4, 2020* Dec 8, 2020*


*Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.

Ready to change your life?