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About the Program

Designed specifically for incoming first-year UC students, this program offers individualized support and regular check-ins with on-site staff to discuss your progress and overall experience. This program builds first-year intercultural competency, financial literacy, and global citizenship skills as you enter the University of California system. The skills gained on this program abroad not only look good to employers post-graduation but also help you succeed at your UC. You'll travel light with a small group of UC students from around the system, making lasting friendships that you can support your academic career. Earn UC academic credit while you explore future possibilities before settling into UC campus life. The experiences gained from this program help you step beyond who you currently think you are stretching your boundaries, expanding your perspectives, and widening your comfort zone.


Courses are held at the Sicily Center for Field Studies in a beautiful baroque-style palazzo in the heart of Syracuse's historic center on the island of Ortigia. The Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco, built in the 14th-century, comes with a significant history. It was the seat of local government when Italy was invaded by Spain. In 1798 it hosted English admiral Horatio Nelson and in 1806, Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies. An epigraph above the main entrance reminds visitors about the building's illustrious heritage. Enclosing a charming courtyard paved with ornate cobblestones, the Palazzo is a perfect example of late baroque architecture in the historic Piazza Duomo. Walk inside and you'll find large light-filled studio spaces, a computer lab, modern classrooms, student and faculty lounge areas, and a desk for student services. You will find the surrounding district a rich and colorful tapestry of street markets, delightful cafés, and the majestic Temples of Apollo and Athena, constructed to celebrate the victory over Athens and used over the centuries as a place of worship by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Christians.