Return to the search form Return to your search results

Studio Art Centers International (SACI)

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Florence, Italy




2.75 GPA and in good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Fall 3/4, Spring 9/27, Summer 3/4

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

sky line

SACI is the oldest and most prestigious American art school in Florence. The institution was founded in 1975 by painter Jules Maidoff, whose goal was to offer the finest and most challenging training to the next generation of artists, art historians, and art conservators, as well as the opportunity to live out a full, first-hand immersion within Florentine culture and customs.

SACI's mission is to provide a unique, life-enhancing study abroad experience in the center of Florence for Students of both traditional and contemporary studio arts and design by offering:
• Direct access to centuries of Florentine and Italian culture;
• A wide range of art and design studio and complementary academic courses of outstanding quality;
• The opportunity to be part of an institution engaged in leading areas of research and exploration;
• The unparalleled opportunity to interact with the Florentine community through a variety of social and humanitarian programs.

Academic Program

Duomo at night

The student body is comprised of students enrolled at US universities and at institutions in other countries. In both Fall and Spring, a student can enroll in five classes for a total of 15 credits. During these terms advanced students may be eligible to take a directed independent study or traineeship in a design firm, museum, or gallery. As part of their classes, SACI students often create artwork for local hospitals and human rights organizations, and restore major art treasures that are a part of Italy’s cultural heritage. Outside of class, student volunteers can teach English at elementary schools, serve as English-language museum guides, and assist at human rights agencies.

In addition to visiting many famous Italian cities over the course of the year, students use a museum pass provided by SACI to visit Florentine museums and historic sites. Students visit artists’ and designers’ studios, private collections, galleries, art fairs, and theaters. They have access to modern and historic art collections, research libraries, and contemporary art museums.

Academic Year and Semester Abroad Program students enjoy many opportunities to exhibit their artwork in SACI’s two galleries. The Academic Year Abroad culminates in a major end-of-year student exhibition which serves as an opportunity for students to display their work also to the Florentine public.

Students studying abroad at SACI can take coursework in the following disciplines:
• Two-dimensional Area
• Three-dimensional
• Multidisciplinary Studio
• Photography and Media
• Design Area
• Art History, Museology, Cinema Studies
• Art Conservation
• Italian Language
• Creative Writing
• Craft Arts Area

Specific course listings can be found here (note: courses vary from term to term): SACI Courses

Embedded, Credit-Bearing Internships

SACI offers credit-bearing internships that can be completed alongside other coursework during the Fall and Spring semesters in the following fields: Museology Internship, Design Internship

Some internships require Italian proficiency, some do not. Please consult SACI and the webpage for more details.

Cultural Activities and Excursions

Field trips throughout Tuscany and elsewhere in Italy are an integral and deeply rewarding part of the SACI overseas study experience. Students will be attending the field trips that are scheduled in classes in which they are enrolled, as well as field trips that are open to all enrolled students. Tuition includes all required class field trips and museum entrances.

Some of the numerous sites typically visited by SACI students include Venice, Rome, Milan, Naples, Bologna, Pisa, Lucca, Ravenna, Siena, Fiesole, San Gimignano, Arezzo, San Sepolcro, Monterchi, Assisi, Urbino, Tivoli, Hadrian’s Villa, the Certosa di Galluzzo, Vinci, Faenza, Pietrasanta, and Carrara. See the Downloads section of the website for a list of required and optional field trips each term.

Program Dates

Dates for SACI vary by semester. In general, the Fall semester begins in early September and ends in late December, the Spring semester begins in early January and ends in late April, the Late Spring session begins mid-May and ends in late June, and the Summer session begins in late June and ends in late July. Check the SACI website for exact dates for upcoming sessions.

For More Information About Study Abroad

Cory Petersen, Advisor
The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353


ponte vechhio

The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence (Firenze) is possibly the most beautifully preserved and artistically rich city in the world. Here, artistic treasures and architectural masterpieces of the past blend with ancient streets lined with elegant boutiques, peaceful parks, streetside cafes offering steaming hot expresso and fresh biscotti, unforgettable dining establishments and breathtaking views at every turn. Set in a valley on the banks of the Arno, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, Florence (Firenze) is one of the best-known and best-loved cities of the world. Striking buildings, treasure-filled galleries and ancient churches attest to the nature of the Florentines to proudly display their riches for all to enjoy. With the historical part of the city largely contained in a small area, many of the places to visit can be reached easily on foot where pedestrians often mingle between the popular mopeds dashing through the city streets.


Aside from the unending, tangible history in Italy, the nation has beyond remarkable landscapes which bring any visit to an entirely new level. You can go skiing in the Alps, visit Roman ruins and Greek temples, or explore the Grand Canal in Venice.

As one of the world's best-loved destinations, Italy is also the land of la dolce vita meaning "the sweet life". After an adventure tourists can unwind, relax, and be pampered by staying at one Italy’s high end spas or simply enjoy Italy's sophisticated dining pleasures, such as family-owned places where you can experience real Italian cooking.

People and Culture

Despite its rich and magnificent art and architecture, there's no reason to be intimidated. Italian people are very hospitable and are rarely indifferent. Hundreds of local festivals take place across the country in any given day to celebrate a saint or a local harvest, including the daily domestic ritual of passeggiata, a collective evening stroll celebrated by the young and old alike in towns and villages across the country. If there is one special national characteristic Italians are known for, it's that they know how to live life to the fullest.

Living Arrangements

View of Florence

SACI apartments are fully furnished and allow students to live independently. All apartments have bathrooms and kitchens, and are fully equipped with stoves, refrigerators, heat, and hot water. The SACI accommodation fee includes reasonable utilities usage and an administrative fee. SACI apartments differ in style, furnishings and amenities. Although most have been recently renovated, there is no way to standardize student apartments - some are in buildings which date back to the Renaissance and others are only a few decades old. Please note that none of the student apartments have telephones. Students can arrange for private portable cellular phone rentals if their budgets allow. Wifi is provided in all SACI apartments. All UI students are required to use SACI housing.

More information about SACI's housing can be found here:SACI Housing Information

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to Florence, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Within Florence and around Italy, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Italians are also very used to walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes!


This program is open to all University of Iowa students who meet the following requirements:

  • Clear interest and commitment- Students must demonstrate a clear academic or personal interest in the program’s subject matter, and a commitment to engage responsibly in coursework abroad.
  • Preparedness and Maturity- Students must demonstrate preparedness to take on the heightened responsibilities associated with international study and travel. Students must demonstrate a commitment to behave responsibility abroad while respecting cultural differences. Students are expected to obey both local laws and program directives conveyed to participants before and during the program. The University of Iowa Code of Student Life applies to all program participants while abroad.
  • Minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA- Students must have at minimum 2.75 cumulative G.P.A. to participate in this program. Applications from students who have a G.P.A. below 2.75 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Students placed on either academic or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad on a University of Iowa program. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who are not in good standing at any point overlapping with the program dates will have their acceptance revoked, will be responsible for the associated late withdrawal fees. 
  • Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing- Applicants must have Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing by the time the program begins to participate in this program.
  • Approval by SACI and UI Study Abroad- Applications will be reviewed by UI Study Abroad, and by SACI, and students will be accepted based on their review of their application materials.
  • Attendance at mandatory orientation programming- Students must attend all in-person and online pre-departure orientation programing presented by UI Study Abroad and SACI. 

Additional notes on eligibility


Students will be responsible for paying many of their program costs through their University of Iowa Ubill, while other costs will be out of pocket costs paid by the student directly to vendors before and after going abroad. Please refer to the following cost sheet for details on the costs associated with this program.

The cost sheet outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheets below apply to the Summer 2017 and Fall 2017 sessions. The final cost sheet for upcoming sessions will be posted here prior to departure.

  • Summer 2017 Cost SheetPDF
  • Fall 2017 Cost SheetPDF
  • The cost sheet includes the following fees:

    The cost sheet does not include the following optional additional costs:

    These fees are all optional and not included in the course fee for the program. The cost should be paid directly to SACI, failure to pay will result in SACI withholding transcripts.

    • Single Apt Surcharge
    • Optional course material fees

    Contact SACI for more information about these optional additional costs.

    In addition, personal travel costs are not included in the cost sheet.

    Costs charged to the Ubill

    • Application fee- (charged at the time of application, before financial aid/scholarships disbursed.
    • Program Tuition, Housing, some meals, IES health insurance- (charged shortly before departure.)
    • Study Abroad Administrative Fee- (charged shortly before departure.)
    • CISI Health Insurance- (charged shortly before departure.)

    Out of Pocket costs (not charged to Ubill)

    • Round trip airfare from Cedar Rapids- (paid by student directly to travel agent or airline- approx. 6-8 weeks prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disbursed.)
    • Visa and Residence Permit Fee- (paid by student prior to departure. Contact Cory Petersen for more information, before financial aid/scholarships disbursed.)
    • Textbooks- (paid on arrival to Italy)
    • Food- if not living in IES housing- (paid by student at their discretion while abroad.)
    • Cell phone- does not include usage fees- (paid as needed while abroad.)
    • Local Transportation- (paid at student’s discretion while abroad.)
    • Personal expenses- (paid by student at their discretion while abroad.)
    • Passport- (paid by student prior to departure.)
    • Medical Exam/Immunizations- (paid by student as needed prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disbursed.)
    • Single Apt Surcharge- (paid by student to SACI per program contract- contact SACI for more information)
    • Course material fees- (paid by student to SACI per program contract- contact SACI for more information)
    • Personal travel costs- (paid by student as needed while abroad)

    Withdrawal Policy

    After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to University of Iowa Study Abroad . The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the early admission period, after confirming, or before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay.

    Note: In rare cases of withdrawal due to injury, illness or other significant and verifiable extenuating circumstances, a financial appeal process exists to consider the financial aspects of late withdrawal. Contact your study abroad advisor for more information.

    Full Payment Dates

    • Fall, August 1
    • Spring, December 1
    • Late Spring, April 15
    • Summer, May 30
    Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
    Within the first nine days after the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
    Portion of course fee: $500
    After FULL PAYMENT DATE Passes Administrative fee: $400
    Portion of course fee: 100%
    On or After the first day of the term Administrative fee: 100%
    Portion of course fee: 100%

    Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing.

    Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited.

    Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

    Application Deadline

    Applications for the Spring 2018 session are due on September 27, 2017.

    Applications for the Fall 2018 and Academic Year 2017-2018 sessions will be available by February 2018.

    How to Apply

    Application Deposit

    Notice: Students will pay a $500 program deposit directly to SACI to complete the application process. This deposit goes towards the total cost of the program and is not an additional expense.

    A Note About Summer Applications

    For the Summer Term, this program has late spring, summer, and late spring & summer options. In the UI online application under “Offering” you will be asked to choose between “Codes” A, B, or AB.

    Code A= Late Spring

    Code B= Summer

    Code AB= Late Spring & Summer Sessions

    Please be careful to choose the correct session that corresponds to the dates you wish to be abroad. If you need help with this, please consult your study abroad advisor.


    Acceptance decisions are made by SACI directly via an email to you. Once you receive your official acceptance from SACI, your study abroad advisor and SACI will be in contact with further information about documentation you will need to complete the admission process.

    Shortly after the application deadline you will be informed of an orientation session. At orientation we will review the credit approval process, visas, and other logistical information (airfare, travel, etc.).

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    First Steps

    You may be able to use financial aid and scholarships, to cover some of the costs of this program. Take a look at the Financial Aid section of the UI Study Abroad web site for information on applying your aid package to study abroad, and contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to find out what might be available to you.

    Applying for Scholarships

    Before you apply for any scholarship, please review the Suggestions for Scholarship Applications section of the Study Abroad website for valuable tips on making a successful application!

    Help with Scholarship Essays

    If you need help writing scholarship essays, please contact the UI Writing Center.

    Study Abroad Awards

    Please explore the following links for study abroad scholarship opportunities offered through the University of Iowa, SACI, and partner organizations:

    If you have any questions about funding for study abroad, please contact Cory Petersen at or call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 for an appointment (Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm).

    Pre-Departure Resources

    View of River Arno

    SACI and Iowa have a variety of resources available to you to prepare for departure. It is recommended that you review these materials, share them with your parents, and refer back to them if you have questions.

    1. Iowa Italy Pre-departure GuidePDF
    2. SACI Pre-Departure GuidePDF
    3. A Parent Guide to Study AbroadPDF
    4. Health Preparation Guide for International TravelPDF


    U.S. citizens will need a visa for the semester program only. Non-U.S. citizens should reference the Italian Consulate Webpage to see what is required of them. We will have group advising for Italy visas and assist students with processing. The visa process can begin 90 days prior to departure, no earlier.

    Program Payment

    You will be billed for the program on your U-Bill through the University of Iowa's billing office. Billing occurs the semester you're abroad and is due with the first U-Bill of the term, this allows for financial aid and scholarships to disperse BEFORE the bill is due.


    In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

    Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

    You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

    Program-Specific Orientation

    This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

    Helpful Information

    SACI's Website

    Admitted Students
    Checklist and Required Forms
    SACI Facebook

    Florence Information

    The Florentine
    Timetables and Train Ticket Information
    Hotels, Restaurants, etc. in Florence

    Student Blogs

    Karlyn Lienhard, Academic Year 2016-2017

    An American in Florence

    Hannah Grahek, Spring 2016

    Ciao Firenze!
    Wherever the Tracks May Take Us
    Get to the airport early, they say. Listen, I did not.
    The teachers becomes the student
    It's time to adjust... again

    Madeline Rosa, Summer 2014

    Preparing for the summer of a lifetime
    A surprise Andrea Bocelli performance and other happenings in Florence
    Live, love, lead: lessons from Italia
    When in Rome: Exploring Italia
    Two Weeks Notice
    The most beautiful place in the world
    Back in the USA