The University of Pisa is the first one in Italy to launch the Foundation Year, a whole year of preparation, completely taught in English and aimed at bridging the gaps between high school and college students from non-European countries such as the USA, Russia and some countries from Latin America. The "Foundation Year" is one of the greatest innovations in Italy which will provide students with the academic foundation necessary to be able to enrol in a Bachelor’s or long single-cycle degree programme in Pisa.
According to the regulations of the Ministry of Education, it takes a minimum of 12 years of schooling in order to enrol in an Italian university (Bachelor’s or long single-cycle degree programme). In the case of American students interested in studying at an Italian university, they must have taken 3 “Advanced Placement” (AP) courses while at High School or alternatively, they must have attended at least two years of college. Several European countries (including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands) have already started offering a Foundation Year to fulfil these requisites.
Through the Foundation Year (FY) of the University of Pisa, students obtain a total of 60 credits. These credits may be chosen from subjects within the field of Humanities such as Art, History, Italian literature as well as courses on Italian language and culture taught by staff specialized in teaching Italian to foreigners of Centro Linguistico d'Ateneo (CLi) in order to assist them to achieve a B2 level (necessary for entry to any university degree programme).
Students will also be assisted by a tutor to facilitate their integration into the academic and social fabric of the city and the country. They will participate in hands-on activities and practical training as well as cultural events and tours at museums and cities known for their artwork.
As Alessandra Guidi, Vice Rector for Internationalisation, states: "The University of Pisa has become a prime destination for those who want to follow a road in internationalisation thanks to the progressive implementation of programmes taught in English such as Master’s and PhD degree programmes including One-Year specialization programmes. Furthermore, students may also be able to obtain a double degree with other foreign universities”. Additionally, she confirmed that within a few years the University has established 10 Master’s degree programmes taught in English, three of which in collaboration with the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, in the fields of Computer Science, Economics, Engineering and Neuroscience.
Every year, thanks to the recruitment of students from various parts of the world, the programmes taught in English have had a continuous increase in their numbers. The activation of the Foundation Year for the academic year 2016-2017 is going to further facilitate the influx of excellent students from abroad, from major countries such as the US. Following various initiatives promoted in recent years, the growth of international students at the University of Pisa has been remarkable, increasing from 1,940 to 2,753 students, which equals a 41.90% increase within five years. Initiatives have been launched and promoted in collaboration with several foreign governments, developing important projects with China and other Asian countries, Brazil and all of the Americas.
The University of Pisa offers the greatest number of Summer and Winter Schools in all of Italy, with 32 courses offered in all subject areas, a record that has allowed it to be included amongst the "Study Abroad" destinations, the obligatory study abroad period, of two prestigious UK universities (Sheffield and Bristol), the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) and the Universidade Positivo Curitiba (Brazil).
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