For over 20 years, Vassar College, Wellesley College, and Wesleyan University have offered a study abroad program at the University of Bologna in Italy.  The program is committed to high academic standards and to providing opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of the Italian language and culture in one of the most venerable and prestigious academic environments in Europe.


Applications are welcomed from sophomores, juniors and seniors in good standing at their home institutions. To be eligible for the program, students must already have completed the equivalent of at least four semesters of college-level Italian. At least three semesters of college-level Italian for Wesleyan students. Participants are subject to specific requirements laid down by their home institutions for study abroad.

Undergraduates wishing to study humanities, sciences and social sciences may enroll for the fall or spring semester or for the full academic year. Typically, students enroll in one course per semester at the University of Bologna and in two courses offered by the ECCO program.  The University of Bologna offers a wide range of courses in all disciplines.  Students who opt to enroll for a full year may enroll in two courses at the university in the spring semester. Students are guided by ECCO staff and by the Resident Director in their selection of university courses. In addition to university and program courses, students also take an intensive Italian for Academic Purposes course in either August/September or January/February and a Writing Workshop course.

Features of the Program

An extensive program of cultural events and volunteer activities is designed to use local resources to introduce students to the local community and enhance their experience abroad.

Accommodation is supplied in University of Bologna student housing.  ECCO students share apartments with Italian or international University of Bologna students.

Tuition and fees

Unlike other programs, tuition for the E.C.Co. Program is virtually all-inclusive. Tuition for the academic year is decided the preceding February.

The E.C.Co. program fee covers the following expenses:

  • Student housing (furnished)
  • Daily food allowance of 20E/day
  • Assistance and supervision of all immigration requirements
  • Tuition for all courses (including the intensive language program in August/September (Fall Semester) and January/February (Spring Semester), academic courses at the E.C.Co. Center or at the University of Bologna)


  • Day-long (curricular and co-curricular)
  • 1 out-of-town trip (typically 2 nights) per semester, inclusive of travel

Cultural activities:

  • Varied activities (gatherings, dinners) in and around Bologna throughout the semester
  • Cooking classes
  • To encourage students’ exploration of cultural activities, E.C.Co. offers a partial reimbursement (up to 100 €/student/semester)
  • Extensive academic orientation and advising
  • Academic support for university courses and exams

The E.C.Co. program, in addition, organizes group travel from the United States to Bologna (and return) at cost. If students do not take the group flight, they do not pay for it. Students not taking the group flight communicate their travel plans to E.C.Co., so that arrival plans can be coordinated.

Typical costs to students not covered by the program fee:

  • Any travel students organize on their own
  • Textbooks for Unibo courses
  • An Italian SIM card/telephone number is required by the program in case of emergency (cost approximately 12 € per month).
  • Other incidentals: laundry, towels, some kitchen items