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Summer in Urbino Italy: Documenting a Community


Urbino, Udine, Italy

Program Description

The Urbino, Italy program engages students in a 4-week multimedia and magazine storytelling emphasis for 3 credits. New this year is an optional 2-week extension in another city (Udine, Italy) where students can receive an additional 3 credits while taking a non-production class (Italian Cinema or Italian Media & Society). The first 4-week program will be required of all students. Those electing to do the 2-week optional extension will receive a total of 6 credits and spend a total of 6 weeks in Italy.

About the 4-Week Program

All students will get to work with a team of media professionals to create a web documentary on the town of Urbino, Italy. Students become immersed in a town and culture by developing a web documentary or webzine on local issues, people or events. No Italian language proficiency is required. You’ll work with University of Urbino students who will serve as translators/interpreters in the development of your stories. During this four-week program, students learn

• how to write for the web.

• how to take great digital photos.

• how to shoot and edit quality video.

• the ins and outs of intercultural communication.

• how to work as part of a production team.

The program occurs in cooperation with The Institute for Education in International Media’s (ieiMedia) Urbino Program. As part of this program, the Institute provides basic language classes and interpreters for fieldwork. You'll work in assigned production teams, using computers, digital cameras, and video cameras. Students are required to bring their own laptop computers. JMU students participate with students from other institutions and are led by JMU professors who coordinates their involvement during the four weeks. The JMU Summer in Urbino Program is open to all majors at JMU.

Media in Italy Program | optional 2-week extension

SMAD 398: Critical Studies in Media Arts and Design: Italian Cinema


SMAD 398: Critical Studies in Media Arts and Design: Italian Media & Society

This program is an optional 2-week extension of the 4-week Summer in Urbino, Italy Program. Students who choose to participate will pick up another 3 credits by taking either an "Italian Media & Society" class or "Italian Cinema" class. In contrast to the 4-week program in Urbino, the Udine course will utilize a more traditional class structure with readings, reflection papers, and discussion. On-site visits and screenings will also be part of the program. Key to the program is a second location in Italy that will provide a change of pace from the hands-on production experience of Urbino.

Location Description


Urbino is a picturesque Renaissance hill town and the capital of the Marche region of central Italy. Although Urbino was a Roman and medieval city, its peak came during the 15th century when Duke Federico da Montefeltro established one of Europe's most illustrious courts. Its impressive Ducal Palace houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in Italy. Urbino’s university is a center for maiolica ceramics, art, and culture. Urbino's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Le Marche is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. Now referred to as “the next Tuscany,” it is located in the central area of the country, bordering Emilia-Romagna (the culinary capital of Italy) and the republic of San Marino to the north, Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to the west, Abruzzo and Lazio to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Except for river valleys and the often very narrow coastal strip, the land is hilly. Adriatic beaches are a mere 23 miles away. In the nineteenth century, a railway from Bologna to Brindisi linked the Marche along the coastline of the entire territory. Inland, the mountainous nature of the region, even today, allows little communication north and south, except by rough roads over the passes.


The university was founded in 1506, and currently has about 20,000 students, many of whom are from overseas. The university has no central campus as such, and instead occupies numerous buildings throughout the town and in the surrounding countryside. The University of Urbino has traditionally given precedence to studies in the humanities, and is especially renowned for its courses in Italian language.

Media in Italy Program | optional 2-week extension

After experiencing the small town atmosphere of Urbino (pop. 15,000), students will travel to the northeastern part of Italy to a region called Friuli Venezia Giulia. Udine is a bustling small city of about 100,000 people near the Adriatic Sea and close to the borders with Austria and Slovenia. Nearby is the famous beach at Lignano Sabbiadoro and the snowy mountaintops of the Alpine Foothills, Carnic Alps and Julian Alps. The city is full of important sites like Cividade del Friuli and Palmanova. The area is also dotted with many villas, towers, abbeys and castles in the countryside and in the hills. Its genuine gastronomy, specialties, and renowned wines give a magic touch to this extremely charming land, from San Daniele - where the famous prosciutto originates - to Colli Orientali (Eastern Hills) del Friuli, replete with vineyards.

Udine is alive with a bustling nightlife, abundant shopping, and a vibrant university community. The local train station provides easy access to Venice, Bologna, Florence, Milan, Trieste, and Ljubljana, Slovenia, among other destinations.

Udine is also a regional media center with a daily local newspaper, radio stations, an RAI television facility, web/Internet companies and video production facilities. The University of Udine is also home to a film school.


Steve Anderson | | Media Arts and Design


The program includes full room and board in a University of Urbino dormitory. Students will either have a private room with a private bath or share a room with one other student. Sheets and towels will be provided. There is Wifi Internet. The dorms are located a short walk from the central part of the town.

Three varied meals a day in the student cafeteria are included.

Media in Italy Program | optional 2-week extension      

The program includes full room and board in a recently remodeled University of Udine dormitory. Wifi Internet is included. Rooms will be shared with either 2 or 3 students to a room. Each room will have a private bath. The dorms are located in the center of town, very close to the classroom building.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided at the cafeteria as part of the program.

Additional Items to Consider

This program is open to all majors or minors.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Application Process

(Program Open)

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Apply to the 4-week, main Urbino, Italy Program 

apply now   

Apply to the 2-week, extension Udine, Italy Program

apply now 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


SMAD 305: Special Topics in Media Arts and Design: Magazine Storytelling (3 credits)

SMAD 305: Special Topics in Media Arts and Design: Multimedia Storytelling (3 credits)

SMAD 305: Special Topics in Media arts and Design: Promotional Video in Italy (3 credits)

SMAD 398: Italian Cinema (3 credits) *extension of program

SMAD 398: Italian Media & Society (3 credits) *extension of program

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.