UCA in Florence: The Italian Renaissance, the Culture of Food and the Modern Mind – 2024


Important Dates

Tentative Travel Dates:  May 27 – June 24, 2024

Interest Meetings: View on Office of Education Abroad event calendar here.

Scholarship Application Deadline: November 1, 2023

Application and Deposit Deadline: January 15, 2024

Program Description

In the middle ages, life on Earth was widely considered to be a brief interlude during which the sensible person prepared for an eternity spent in the afterlife. The Renaissance was a rebirth of the ancient Roman belief that life on earth could be savored and cherished, and that the individual and the surrounding world were worthy of our attention and admiration. One key event that supported and sustained this essential belief was Brunelleschi’s invention of the artistic technique of linear perspective. Florence is the birthplace of linear perspective and the Renaissance, and thus the modern mind.

As such, the Culture of Food today offers us a view into how the Renaissance shaped the linguistic landscape of Florence including art, architecture, public spaces, museums, restaurants, food, and people. Students will experience the food and beverages in Italy through shopping, tastings, cooking, and eating and drinking in local contexts including street food, restaurants, cafes, and markets, and reflect upon the culture and linguistic landscape of Italy and how that relates to the values, attitudes, and beliefs of the people and compare that to our own in Arkansas.

Students taking any of the Psychology, Linguistics or Culture courses will be able to describe differences between American culture and Italian culture, navigate numerous different kinds of Italian public transportation: train, bus, taxi, and funicular, live as a temporary resident in a foreign country in which most residents do not speak English, including how to learn and use simple Italian words and phrases to purchase groceries and other necessities, describe how the following contributed to the development of art, culture, and science in the Proto-Renaissance and Renaissance: Cimabue, Giotto, Masaccio, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Cellini, Verrocchio, Castagno, Fra Angelico, Ghirlandaio, Michelangelo, and Galileo, and describe what is meant by the term ‘Renaissance man’, and how Brunelleschi was the prototype of the Renaissance man.

Health and Safety 

Students registering for programs should carefully read through all health and safety information provided during the application process. In addition, students should honestly complete the ‘Health and Safety Form’ so that any health related concerns may be adequately accommodated on study abroad programs.

Participants will be enrolled in comprehensive international insurance for the duration of programming. It is the student’s responsibility to extend insurance cover if they stay abroad beyond UCA’s planned program dates. For information about international insurance coverage: https://uca.edu/globalstudy/health-and-safety/

Students must attend one health and safety meeting during the spring semester. Meeting dates will be announced after the application deadlines.

Faculty Leaders and Course Offerings

Dr. Ken Sobel said, “During the summer between my junior and senior years in college, I took my first trip out of the U.S., spending a month studying French at the Institut Catholique in Paris. The experience was mind blowing, and it made me yearn to lead my own study abroad courses. I have been a professor in the Department of Psychology at UCA since 2005. During my time at UCA, I have led nine study abroad experiences to Italy in which my students and I were based in Florence, and we traveled on public trains and buses to various places around Italy, including Rome, Padua, Lucca, Pisa, Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean, Bolzano in the Alps, and hill towns such as Orvieto and Siena. Trying to figure out how to navigate Italian public transportation can be a challenge, but after nine study abroad experiences, I think I have it mostly figured out. I’m excited to return to Italy to continue to practice my Italian, and to introduce a new group of students to all the wonders Italy has to offer.”

Courses offered by Dr. Sobel:

  • HBST 1377 Study Abroad Seminar [LD UCA Core: Diversity in World Cultures]
  • PSYC 4377 Study Abroad in Psychology
  • PSYC 4383 Special Topics in Psychology
  • PSYC 6361 Research Lab in Psychology and Counseling



Dr. Lynn Burley is a seasoned traveler both as a citizen of the world and as a Study Abroad Leader. She spent five weeks in Maastricht, The Netherlands with students in 2002, three weeks in Florence with students in 2007, and led a trip to Paris and London in 2012. She’s visited 15 countries in Europe, been all over the Caribbean and spent time in The United Arab Emirates and Oman. As a Linguistics professor and one who has spent a lot of time in many countries, she is well-prepared to teach the culture and the linguistics of Food in Italy

Courses offered by Dr. Burley:

  • LING 1310 Language, Culture, and Society in Italy
  • WLAN 2315 The Culture of Food in Italy
  • LING 4355 Special Topics in Linguistics





HONC 3310 credit may also be offered to students currently admitted to Schedler Honors College.

Program Cost

This year’s program cost can be viewed here.

Learn Italian

Practice some Italian before your trip with our Basic Italian Translations cheat sheet. Also, check out Mango Languages, a language learning resource free for UCA students.