SFS-Italy: Sustaining Traditions: Food, Farming, and Climate

Program Details

Program Location Greve (Tuscany), Italy
Sponsor School for Field Studies
Program Type Co-sponsored
Duration Semester
Upcoming Program Dates
Fall 2024 08/31/24 to 12/12/24
Page Links
Click here to apply for this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice


SFS-Italy: Sustaining Traditions: Food, Farming, and Climate

New for fall 2024!

While living in the heart of Tuscany learn how rural development, agricultural practices, and food system policy affect the health and wealth of farmers, local communities, and agricultural, natural, and semi-natural ecosystems. Research contrasting ecosystems, such as the coastal flat land and salty lagoons of Maremma in southwestern Tuscany, the smooth, hilly agricultural landscape of vineyards and olive groves in Chianti, and the mountainous, natural pastures and chestnut woods of Mugello and Casentino in northeastern Tuscany. On a weeklong excursion to Sicily, you’ll explore the diverse and contrasting food systems and culture of central and southern Italy.

Stretching through three biogeographic regions (Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean), Italy is a biodiversity hotspot hosting the highest number and density of both animal and plant species within the European Union. Due to its vast array of differing climates, topographies, and geology, Italy is famous for a diversity of agricultural systems and gastronomic specialties. Italy is rich with historical references from the Roman Empire, while Florence, the capital of Tuscany, was the cradle of the Renaissance, a period of intellectual, artistic, and technological advances.

For more program information, please visit the program website. This program is sponsored by:School for Field Studies.


The program is open to Purdue students in good standing who have completed at least two semesters of university study by the start of the program. Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity, and a desire to experience another culture.

GPA Requirement: 2.8 on a 4.0 scale
Language Requirement: none

Purdue Credit

Direct Credit available from the following: [College of Agriculture] [College of Liberal Arts]

Students interested in completing courses while abroad from Purdue colleges or departments that are not listed above should discuss this with their study abroad advisor before applying to the program.

Academic Program

Students will gain knowledge and make use of practical research field tools and instruments such as: research design and implementation, quantitative/qualitative data collection and analysis, questionnaire development, stakeholder interviews, basic statistical analysis, monetary valuation techniques, multicriteria analysis, biodiversity assessments, population monitoring, animal behavior observation, GIS and mapping, biodiversity survey techniques, scientific writing, and communication.

This rigorous academic program follows a five-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand through classroom work, intensive field trips, and experiential learning, the complexities of balancing conservation with social and economic issues.  Read more about the SFS program model.  Major academic themes include:

  • Environmental, sociocultural, and economic dimensions of food systems
  • The intersections of food production, biodiversity conservation, environmental policy, and climate change
  • Agroecological practices and sustainable management of food systems
  • Food systems policy objectives and implementation



  • Visit the coastal area of Maremma to tour a sustainable artisanal fishery and local farms, coming face to face with endangered heritage breeds of livestock
  • Research creative farmer-driven responses to climate pressures on their olive groves and vineyards
  • Discuss with livestock shepherds how the Foreste Casentinesi National Park balances wolf conservation with predation pressure on their herds
  • Embark on a weeklong excursion to Sicily to experience the contrasting Greek- and Arab-influenced culture, food, and history
  • Join Italian families for cooking lessons and cultural immersion in exchange for English conversation through the “Cucina for English” initiative


The Center is in the ancient city of Greve, nestled in the gentle rolling hills of Chianti. Greve’s main piazza contains multiple medieval-era buildings with numerous restaurants, shops, and museums to explore. Greve also hosts a weekly farmers’ market that attracts both residents from nearby cities and international tourists.

Creating shared community around food is an important aspect of the program. You’ll live in shared apartments in town and immerse yourself in group living through food culture. Share responsibility for cooking, budgeting, shopping, and preparing meals, and enjoy the deeply rooted Italian tradition of connecting over food.

  • Shared and furnished apartments a short walking distance from the Center, where you’ll meet daily for class and excursions
  • Apartments are equipped with cooking facilities, bathrooms, living room, a small garden, and WiFi
  • Lunch and snacks provided at the Center on program days
  • A weekly food stipend is provided to plan and cook breakfasts and dinners together, connecting through the process of food shopping and culinary pursuits
  • Travel easily to other Italian and European destinations during designated long weekends or mid-semester break

Estimated Program Costs

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss. 

Students should carefully note what costs need to be paid to Purdue University or to a co-sponsor or agency, and what costs need to be paid at the overseas study location.  This will vary by program.

The program fee includes: tuition, all meals, local travel, and class-related excursions/field trips.

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Fall 2024

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee $17,000.00
Study Abroad Fee $914.10
Housing $5,500.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month) $32.00

Approximate additional costs per semester
To be paid by the student.
Travel Documents (passport, photos) $175.00

Financial Aid

SFS is offering Purdue students an automatic scholarship:

  • In-state students: $2,500
  • Out-of-state: $3,600
SFS offers many scholarships and/or 0% interest loans (no FAFSA form required). Please see the SFS website for more details.

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.

Application Deadlines

For full consideration, students must submit all supporting documents (typically an essay, transcripts, 1-2 recommendations, and copy of passport) before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline. To ensure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an online application, a My Study Abroad account is created. Applicants should consult this page often to check on the status of the application.

Program Application Deadline
Most Fall Semester Programs Mar 1
Most Spring Semester Programs Sep 15

Returnees Information

Click below to search for Purdue students who have participated in this program and are willing to be contacted.  If you get no results, you can use the search form to find people who studied in the country you are interested in.


The websites listed below contain information about this program. The accuracy of information at external sites cannot be guaranteed.

For more information on this program, please contact the Study Abroad Office by phone (765) 494-2383 or email studyabroad@purdue.edu.