For over 25 years, the College of Staten Island, together with institutional partners, the American University of Rome (AUR), the Instituto Venezia, and Lorenzo de’ Medici LDM) in Florence and Tuscania, has enabled hundreds of students to discover the delights of Italy and to experience the life-changing effects of studying abroad.

The programs, which are offered to CSI and CUNY students, and nationally, through the College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS), have been growing in popularity throughout the years. As of 2008, 415 students had studied in Italy under the auspices of the College of Staten Island.

Last summer, President Tomás and Mrs. Evy Morales visited LDM and AUR to meet our partners and learn more about the wonderful opportunities our students have to study in Florence, Rome, Venice, and Tuscania–four distinctly different and rich settings in Italy.

Discussing the programs at Lorenzo de’ Medici (LDM), Chris Tingue, Coordinator of Education Abroad at CSI, says, “CSI students may study abroad at Lorenzo de’ Medici’s main campus in Florence or in Tuscania and now Venice. There is also a unique “Three Cities” semester program that would allow students to do a month in Tuscania, followed by a month in Rome and Florence.

All of CSI’s Italian partners work together to help make this experience available to all interested students, as financial aid, scholarships, and careful planning are essential to many participating students. This has led to recent developments at LDM, according to Tingue. “In order to build on its long tradition of cooperation with CSI,” and in order to attract more CSI degree-seeking students, Lorenzo de’ Medici has now agreed to offer full program cost scholarships to degree-seeking Lorenzo de Medici students. For CSI students at LDM sites for fall or spring, they may benefit from a full program cost scholarship equivalent to over $7,500 or partial program scholarships for the short-term winter and summer sessions. Through increased efforts to create campus-wide awareness of the LDM grants, we anticipate more CSI students being able to benefit from these scholarships and we anticipate seeing more CSI students able to study abroad in Italy via the LDM programs.”

At all participating institutions, CSI students have the opportunity to study Italian language while learning about Italy in a wide range of courses taught in English. Students earn college credit while studying topics that they would be unable to study on their home campus. Whether walking the streets of Florence with a noted art historian, debating issues with students in a political science classroom in Rome, learning Italian language and culture in Venice, studying in one of the new courses in opera and song literature, or enjoying guitar and mandolin studies in Tuscania, students have “the experience of a lifetime” in Italy.

The experience to study in Italy often has such a profound effect on students that they become natural recruiters for the programs upon their return to the U.S. In fact, Study abroad alumna Margaret Ricciardi, an adult student and artist, so enjoyed her experience in Florence, that she created the Frank and Margaret Riccardi Scholarship Fund to help others realize their dream of studying in Italy.

College of Staten Island President Dr. Tomás Morales (third from right) on his trip to Italy