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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences

Take a closer look at the social and political complexities of the Mediterranean through its food and nutrition. In studying the contrasts and similarities of each location, you’ll unlock the answers to evolving questions: How can we think about the Mediterranean as a region of unified culture, and where does this notion come apart? Courses include cultural excursions and lectures to complement classroom activities.  

Unique study opportunities

  • Explore what it means to farm, craft, and eat.
  • Participate in debates comparing food practices in regions of the Mediterranean.
  • Investigate how immigrant populations, external markets, and modern technology are changing the food industry.
  • Discover how regional culture manifests through food traditions, politics, and identity.


Language of Instruction: English

Language Study: None

You'll attend two 2.5-hour sessions on survival Italian language skills as a part of your on-site program orientation. These sessions aren't for academic credit. You'll attend a session on survival Turkish language skills when you arrive in Istanbul, also not for academic credit.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four courses for a total of 23 quarter/15.4 semester UC units. Courses include two umbrella courses across the semester, each worth 7.5 quarter/5 semester UC units, and two site-specific courses, each worth 4 quarter/2.7 semester UC units.
  • Attend and actively participate in all required activities, which affect the final grade.
  • You may select one umbrella course for pass/no pass.

Current Program Courses

All courses are taught in English at the upper-division level. Courses in all locations are complemented by visits to local markets, urban farms, various organizations and foundations, migrant neighborhoods, vineyards, museums, agricultural sites, and media production centers. 

Umbrella Courses

Two umbrella courses taught across all three locations weave together themes and perspectives of the three areas of focus:

Site-Specific Courses

Two site-specific courses, one in Florence and one in Sicily, are shorter and focus on the individual city and their unique configurations of food production and consumption. The site-specific courses are designed to enrich your sensibilities, imaginations, and knowledge about the complexities of regional differences in terms of class, gender, and ethnicity and their resonances in everyday life:

Additional or optional coursework, internships, or research outside the program aren't possible.

Catalogs and resources

  • UCEAP Course Catalog: See a list of courses UC students have taken on this program.
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

This program is richly rewarding, but it's also one of the most rigorous semesters you’ll experience. Created specifically for UC students, it requires active participation in order to maintain the pace. In all of the courses, instructors use the cities as course material and you’ll frequently be outside of the classroom visiting various sites to immerse in the subject matter. The sites can be overwhelming, but must also be carefully observed and recounted in the context of multi-disciplinary readings transcending different historical periods. You're required to attend class, arrive on time, and actively participate in courses. Attendance is taken at every course meeting.

You’ll need to balance and complete on schedule a semester-long research project across program sites, readings and exams for each module of the umbrella courses, journals and reflection papers, and oral presentations. Students who miss class or assignments fall behind quickly and have a difficult time catching up during the final weeks of the semester.

In the site-specific courses, you’ll conduct independent research that draws upon coursework to analyze your experiences and observations in each site. Regular classroom lectures and discussions are enhanced by walking tours and visits to both urban and rural destinations. The exhilarating colors and flavors more than make up for the homework as you explore central markets, unique expositions, agricultural production areas, and restaurants of all kinds.

The majority of the courses are taught by professors from local universities who are passionate about their subjects and about their cities. Their infectious enthusiasm amplifies your experience, making the information-packed semester quickly fly by.


You'll earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for this program are usually available in late February and may not arrive in time for degree verification deadlines.