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The University of Bologna (Università di Bologna, UniBo), founded in 1088, is the oldest university in continuous operation, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. It was the first place of study to use the term universitas for the corporations of students and masters which came to define the institution. The University has about 85,500 students in its 11 schools. It has campuses in Bologna, Ravenna, Forlì, Cesena and Rimini and a branch center abroad in Buenos Aires. Freeman students study at the School of Economics, Management, and Statistics at UNIBO's campus in Bologna. Students may opt for courses taught in English or Italian.
Bologna has three nicknames: la dotta, or the learned; la rossa, or the red; and la grassa, or the fat. All three are well-deserved, and no thumbnail sketch of Bologna can do without a brief explanation of each.
The capital of the northern-central region of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna la dotta is a city of about 500,000 inhabitants, including approximately 100,000 university students. The Università di Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest in Europe. Eminently prestigious, it boasts a diverse and cosmopolitan student body, since the university attracts students from all regions of Italy and from countries around the world. As a thriving center of student life, Bologna has a flourishing intellectual climate and all the amenities that one would expect in or near a university community: theater, films, performing arts, live music, and a reportedly diehard club scene in the nearby beach resorts along the Adriatic coast.
From an architectural point of view, Bologna la rossa is a stunningly beautiful city in a country renowned for unparalleled beauty. The university is located in the heart of the rather large medieval quarter, a veritable maze of narrow, winding, portico-lined streets. The burnt reddish tones of the building facades and the red-tiled roofs—hence, la rossa—are characteristic of Bologna and give the city an almost storybook quality. Today, however, the color red evokes notions of the local political climate, for, during most of the post-World War II era, Bologna has been the showcase for Italian Communism. Translated into early 21st-century terms, this means a city committed to political engagement, social service, and a brand of political awareness that seems to complement the intellectual life of the university.
Located in Italy’s breadbasket, Bologna is also the home of some of the finest food to be found on any Italian table. No Italian would ever dispute the deserved preeminence of Bologna’s cuisine. Thus has it earned the last of its three nicknames: la grassa. It is not uncommon to find in the city’s various osterie or trattorie some appreciative Tuscan from Florence (one hour south) or Lombard from Milan (two hours north), enjoying some of the fabulous food for which Bologna is legendary.
In short, Bologna is an ideal destination for study in Italy. Without the hordes of tourists that plague other cities, students are required to negotiate the city on its terms and in its language: Italian. With its population just under half a million, Bologna is large enough to offer diversion, yet not so large that it suffers unduly from the kinds of problems that often accompany life in larger urban centers.
While in Bologna, students have the opportunity to access world class art and cultural attractions including museums, operas, and other theatrical events. UniBo also hosts a wide variety of student organizations including sports clubs, a student choir and orchestra, as well as language study groups. Visit http://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/studying-and-beyond/studying-and-beyond for more information about student associations and cooperatives, language exchanges, sports clubs and other opportunities for students both on- and off-campus.
Fall semester classes take place September - December. Fall exams take place mid-December to mid-February.*
Spring semester classes take place February - May. Spring exams take place late May to late July.*
*Students can look at the exam date when they are in the "shopping period" at the beginning of the semester so that if a course has a late exam date, the student just wouldn't take that particular course. There is usually an early and late exam period. The early exam period usually takes place right after classes end, in the month following the end of the term. An exam for a course is offered in each intake period.
For a list of courses commonly offered at UniBo and their Tulane equivalents, see Sample Courses Offered.
Actual courses offered will vary from semester to semester and year to year. For an updated list of course offerings, please visit the UniBo course catalog: http://www.unibo.it/en/teaching/course-unit-catalogue. Undergraduate level courses are called "First (L) Cycle Degree Programs." It's possible to filter the search by language and School to see the courses in English offered by the School of Economics, Management and Statistics (SEMS). UniBo has multiple campuses throughout Italy. When selecting classes, students should make sure the classes the courses they have selected are offered at the BOLOGNA campus.
When classes take place in two modules, students must take BOTH modules.
In some cases you find a “I.C.” (Integrated Course). That means that the “big” (integrated) learning activity is made of two single courses, which can be taken also singularly.
Course times may overlap! UniBo is best for students that speak Italian and have some flexibility with regard to the courses they can take. Please look at the timetable closely and do not select classes that overlap.
Freeman students at UniBo typically take 3-5 courses per semester (depends on # of crediti formativi universitari or CFU per course).
If you study in Bologna you can attend the courses at University Language Center- CLA. Italian language classes are offered both semesters, but the number of places available in these courses is limited. More information about the Italian language courses can be found online at http://www.unibo.it/en/international/exchange-opportunities-at-Unibo/italian-language-courses.
As is common at Italian universities, students do not pre-register for courses but rather attend classes of their choice and then register for the final exam. You do not have to be enrolled in courses in order to attend, but it is recommended to submit your study plan (learning agreement) to the International Office at SEMS in order to check the availability of the course units. You do not register for courses but rather you must register for exams, which you have time to do after your arrival. However, if you want to attend the Italian language courses, you must register beforehand. If you wish to do an internship, check the possibility well in advance asking the International Relations Office at SEMS.
There are several fundamental differences between the Italian and the American higher educational systems that have important impacts on the overall educational experience of the student. In the United States there are many private universities, while in Italy higher education institutions, like UniBo, are mostly public. Students in the U.S. can personalize their degree programs. Italian universities have stricter curriculum requirements and it is rare to combine courses from different disciplinary fields together.
American universities are centered on students' learning experience. Therefore, lectures are often followed by group discussions. Participation is required. Students have more engagement with their peers and professors. Homework is assigned throughout the semester. Exams are usually written, and a student's final grades represent all of his or her work throughout the whole semester.
In Italy, relationships with professors are usually more formal. Instructors are considered experts in their field and their primary role is to impart knowledge. Student-professor interaction is typically limited. Lectures are the most common teaching style. Participation may not be required. There are few homework assignments. Rather, students are expected to be self-disciplined and stay on top of reading assignments.
In Italy, a good student:
- has a positive self-esteem and a good sense of humor
- is proactive and uses inner resources to find solutions without depending too heavily on others
- is able to get to know other students, forming study groups and asking other students for help if necessary.
Freeman students at UniBo have the opportunity to experience a very different style of teaching and learning. As one past study abroad participant put it, UniBo is "bureaucratic, slow and sometimes frustrating" but "an unforgettable authentic Italian experience."
One final examination at the end of the course is the most common form of student learning assessment at UniBo. Exams may be oral. Oral examinations may be limited to very few questions.
Grading Scale and Conversion Guide
The Italian grading system works on a scale from 18 to 30. 18 is the lowest passing grade (sufficiency). 30 is the highest grade. Tulane works with World Education Services (WES) for credit evaluation and grade conversion. Below please find the U.S. equivalents for grades earned at Ca' Foscari.
Students must be in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing and earn a 3.0 GPA two semesters prior to studying abroad. Students must complete their 3010s prior to their semester abroad. Advanced beginner Italian is required.
Freeman Semester Abroad Application
To access the Freeman semester abroad application, please attend a Semester Abroad Info Session. Once you have attended the info session, Goldring will set you up with a general semester abroad application. Login to your FreemanAbroad account to complete the application. Application deadlines are noted below.
Some exchange programs are more competitive than others. You are encouraged to list six schools on your semester abroad application, in order of preference. All qualified applications are reviewed using a rubric that evaluates a student based on several criteria, including GPA; class standing while abroad; academic, personal and professional relevance of study abroad programs; and academic, linguistic, personal and cultural preparation.
Upon nomination, exchange participants are required to submit secondary application materials to the host university. UniBo will send you the application instructions after you have been nominated to the exchange program. The secondary application is due by UniBo's deadline.
Exchange program participants pay their regular Tulane tuition plus a $1200 study abroad fee but do not pay Reily Center, Health Center or Student Activities fees. Housing is not charged by Tulane University but rather paid directly to the housing provider abroad. Students are responsible for additional expenses, including international airfare, passport, visa, meals, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. See the budget sheet for more information.
Student Accommodation and Information Services (SAIS)
UniBo contracts housing services for exchange students through Student Accommodation and Information Services (SAIS). SAIS offers housing in student residencias and private apartments. For more information please visit http://www.saisaccommodation.it/.
Students may also arrange to live in independent (non-university-affiliated) housing.
UniBo Exchange Student Website
Program Reviews at Abroad101
Bologna, Italy Official Website
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