Villa Le Balze Welcomes Back Students on Site for Fall 2021
On Wednesday September 1st, Georgetown’s Villa Le Balze in Florence, Italy welcomed its first students back on site since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were greeted by Renaissance style buildings dotting the sprawling Florentine hills, as well as a few changes.
Villa Le Balze presents a unique experience among the many available study abroad opportunities at Georgetown. As a site directly owned and managed by Georgetown, its semester and summer course offerings are considered Georgetown courses that appear on official Georgetown transcripts with their corresponding grades and GPA, providing a seamless transition of credits. While previously, students studying at the Villa stayed in on-site housing, this term is different. Students studying at Villa Le Balze will be housed in off-campus housing at The Student Hotel Florence Lavagnini. Located in central Florence, the Student Hotel is minutes away from local tram and train stops, provides fully furnished rooms, and includes a number of student specific amenities, including on site gym and laundry facilities as well as a free bicycle.
“Our hope is that housing students off-site at The Student Hotel will encourage them to engage with Florence more deeply as their host city, while also maintaining the centrality of Villa Le Balze as an academic and social setting for their study abroad experience,”Gregory Spear, OGE’s Assistant Director of Global Living and Learning Programs
Villa Le Balze’s semester and summer programs are grounded in a focus on cultural immersion and engagement with contemporary Italian society. Students are able to choose from a number of English-taught electives with Georgetown-affiliated professors, as well as a semester-specific course taught by a visiting Main Campus faculty in residence. Along with their chosen courses, all students take Italy Today, a 3-credit class focused on contemporary Italian socio-political and cultural life. Alongside academic offerings, Villa Le Balze staff plan on-site learning experiences through academic field trips and excursions across points of interest in Florence, as permitted by local COVID regulations.
Despite the pause during the 2020-2021 academic year, Georgetown is excited to begin safely welcoming back students to the hills of Florence through the Villa Le Balze program. Applications for the Spring 2022 term are open now through October 1, 2021.