Whether Greek ruins, Norman Castles, concerts, or miles of beaches inspire you, Taormina has it all. Foreign students will immediately feel welcome in this Medieval town perched on top of Mt. Tauro. With every turn of its windy streets a breathtaking vista emerges, majestic Mt Etna rests in the distance, and the sparkling blue Mediterranean coastline, with its secret grottos, surrounds the town. Castles perched on rocky summits beckon students to return to centuries past. Taormina hosts international events that include cinema fest, jazz fest, art exhibits, operas, and rock concerts. There is always fun to be had for international students who study abroad in Taormina.
Study Abroad Programs in Taormina
Located in Sicily, a region noted for its warm hospitality and unique cuisine, Taormina boasts an ideal environment for immersing yourself in the Italian language and the local community. With the relaxed pace of life, locals enjoy lengthy conversations over coffee, a granita, or an aperitivo and dinners of fresh, locally grown food become a social event.
In addition to its intensive Italian language immersion courses, there are also Italian studies programs in Taormina taught in English or Italian, with available focuses in Italian opera, history, literature, cinema, archeology, geology, art history, mafia/anti-mafia, and international business.
Study abroad programs in Taormina often incorporate a variety of co-curricular activities that range from thematic seminars and films to paddle boarding, hiking, and horseback riding. Additionally, guided excursions introduce students to the rich natural and historical sites throughout Sicily, and supplemental courses in subjects like cooking, tennis, or scuba diving enhance students daily local experience. Students can even combine their courses with work experience by enrolling in credit bearing internship placements to gain practical skills and enhance their post-graduation employability. There are internship opportunities in Taormina in small businesses, with placements that may entail working with a custom designer of upscale jewelry, at a cheese making and marketing company, in a luxury hotel, at a chocolate museum, and much more. Most importantly, Taromina’s unique internship placements allow students to genuinely contribute to the success of their host business.
Class sizes are generally small, with a maximum of 12 students per course, making class conversations diverse and interesting. Students can study in Taormina during the spring, summer, and fall semesters, as well as for short-term stints of two to eight weeks. Some study abroad programs in Taormina can even be customized to fit specific students’ needs, such as start or finish dates to accommodate sports schedules. Students do not need any previous Italian language skills to study abroad in Taormina, but most semester students choose to enroll in language courses to encourage their immersion in the community.
Life in Taormina
Taormina attracts international visitors year round and has earned its nickname The Pearl of the Mediterranean. Its Mediterranean climate provides a long beach season and mild winters, so students enjoy outdoor hiking, diving, and paddling, along with a vibrant night life, nearly year round. Nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites protecting Greek and Roman antiquities and unique natural phenomenon are easy to access for an afternoon or weekend visit. Festivals and feast days are frequently celebrated throughout the island with fireworks, music, parades, and traditional religious processions. Music is an integral element of Sicilian life and music from folk to opera can be heard daily in the streets and theaters.
Taormina’s restaurants and stores are family owned; no large chains or U.S. businesses have been introduced into Taormina’s business community keeping the atmosphere authentically Italian.
Sicily has been ruled by many civilizations; consequently, its culture is rich with a cuisine, art and architecture that incorporates Greek, Roman, Norman, Arabic, and Spanish influence. Sicilians are proud of their fresh and natural fruits, vegetables, and fish. Therefore, international students can eat healthy and enjoy foods made without GMO products while studying in Taormina.
In the summer months, Taormina is teeming with Italians from other parts of Italy, who have summer homes in Taormina, as well as international tourists. Nightly events are scheduled throughout the town, especially in the 2000+ year old Greek Theater. The rhythm of the town changes from November to March, when students are easily identified as “locals” as the pace slows down and full time residents enjoy time leisurely chatting with students.
Accommodation & Visas
Semester students often live with local host families, sharing breakfast and dinner with them. Students who study in Taormina for a short-term program may live with host families too, or in a shared student apartment with other international students. Regardless of the program duration or housing type, all international students will be located within a short walking distance of their courses. In general, Taormina is a walking community, so gelato can be enjoyed guilt-free.
Visas are not needed for short-term study abroad in Taormina, which includes 12 week semester programs. However, for 15 week semester programs and yearlong study abroad programs in Taormina, a visa will be required. Host schools or program providers will supply documentation needed for students to procure visas.
Benefits & Challenges
For students seeking an authentic Italian experience in an international environment, where they can meet students from diverse backgrounds and ages and immerse themselves in the local community, Taormina is an ideal choice. The number of U.S. students studying in Taormina is minimal, with the exception of the months of May and June, when a significant number of U.S. students choose to study abroad in Taormina.
If you choose to study in Taormina, prepare for an adventure in Italian culture and a genuine study abroad experience! For centuries Taormina has attracted travelers, so enroll in study abroad programs in Taormina to discover why.