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Pavia, Italy

Collegio Ghislieri, located in the Northern Italian city of Pavia (30 minutes south of Milan), is unique among the study abroad programs at UC San Diego and across all UC campuses. UC San Diego students have the opportunity to spend one semester or a full academic year at Collegio Ghislieri, a historical, elite academic institution in Italy, among the best Italian and international undergraduate students, with fully covered food and lodging expenses.  A selected number of students will have their additional costs and airfare covered as well, thanks to a generous gift funding the “Dr. Renato Dulbecco Italy Study Abroad Endowed Scholarship.” 

Besides having access to all the undergraduate courses and some of the MA courses in English and Italian at the University of Pavia (established in 1361), UC San Diego students will have access to all the extra resources that Collegio Ghislieri offers: special courses, seminars, conferences, and social events, together with an extensive private library, a single bedroom with its own bathroom in a (completely renovated) 450-year-old historical building in the historical heart of Pavia, at walking distance from the main university buildings; full food service (breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week) in its own historical and renowned dining hall. 

Links and Resources:

Important Information for 2024-25

  • Global Exchange Program applications open October 1 in TritonsAbroad
  • Check the nomination and application deadlines for 2024-25 to ensure your application is submitted on time. 
  • Please note that Global Exchange Programs have two applications: one for UC San Diego (TritonsAbroad) and the other for the partner university. 

Visit the How to Apply section for more information on the application process and the Pre-Departure Requirements section for important steps and considerations leading up to your time abroad. 


Basic Information

Exchange Details:

  • Academic Level: Undergraduate (3rd and 4th year)
  • Eligible Major(s): All majors/ minors. Arts & Humanities are given priority to access the available endowed scholarship.

Academic Calendar:

  • Fall Semester: September to February
  • Summer Semester: February to July
Orientation days are offered by the University of Pavia each semester during the first week. Students are invited and the dates are shared in the acceptance letter they receive at the end of the nomination period.

Course Information

  • Full Time Enrollment: Thirty (30) ECTS per semester (approximately 22 semester hours per week).
  • Courses (at the University of Pavia): Ghislieri has Bachelor and Master's programs fully taught in English. There are many more courses in English outside those programs. The searchable course catalog can help you identify these options, simply select select "English" as the "Language" option for all and only courses taught in English.
  • Language of Instruction: English and Italian (level B1 or above in Italian is preferred for courses taught in Italian).
  • Language courses (at Collegio Ghislieri): Students can take entry level foreign language classes in German, French and Spanish for free. Italian language classes and/or tutorships are organized depending on the number of interested students.

Housing and Dining

 Collegio Ghislieri offers a robust number of services and amenities, including meals. 

Through the exchange agreement with UC San Diego, students are given free housing and meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Students are provided a single room with cleaning services twice a week. Linen and towels are included.

Cost of Living

Students can review the cost of living breakdown provided by Ghislieri. Please note this breakdown includes housing and food which would not apply to UC San Diego students who will receive free housing and meals.

Additional Fees: Public transportation in Pavia for students costs 25 Euros per year by purchasing a UNIPASS Card. 

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Dr. Renato Dulbecco Italy Study Abroad Endowed Scholarship provides recipients with money for airfare, living expenses and travel while abroad. Though all students who participate in this exchange are eligible for this scholarship, Preuss students and Arts and Humanities majors and minors will be given priority.

For information on financial aid, scholarships and additional funding, speak to a Study Abroad advisor.

Immigration and Visas

Depending on the students' citizenship, the duration and the reasons for their stay you may need to get a visa (Study Visa Type D) before coming to Italy. 

Before applying for a visa for study purposes, students should check the documentation required by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. A valid visa is also necessary to apply for the permit of stay once you are in Italy. All visiting students coming to Pavia and remaining longer than three months must register with the immigration authorities as soon as they have an address in Pavia. Once you arrive in Pavia you must report to the immigration authorities and apply for a permit of stay within eight days. Students should go to the Foreign Student’s office (Sportello Stranieri) and bring the following documents: photocopies of all the pages of your passport (also blank pages), photocopy of health insurance,  a certificate of the enrolment at the University of Pavia issued by the Segreteria studenti,  and one revenue stamp of 16.00 Euros.

Certificate of Enrolment: Once a student is nominated, they will receive an acceptance letter from the University of Pavia. Collegio Ghislieri will also provide a support letter, stating the terms of the exchange between UC San Diego and Collegio Ghislieri, which can be submitted for the visa application process. 


Health and Wellness

Collegio Ghislieri has an in-house physician. The in-house physician can be reached at any time to schedule an appointment and is present on campus on certain days.

Italian Health Insurance:

All information regarding health insurance is provided by the University of Pavia during the application process. Students from non-European Unition countries are strongly recommended to take out a health insurance policy, certified and translated by the Italian Diplomatic Representative abroad, Embassy or Consulate, (this is also normally a prerequisite for obtaining a Visa to enter Italy and is needed for asking the Permit of Stay in Italy).

Non-European Union students have two options: 

  • Purchase a private health insurance policy from their home country with a confirmation statement of its validity in Italy which must include the period of validity and types of services covered. The contract must not imply any limitations or exceptions to the tariffs fixed for urgent hospitalization during the period of your stay; The private health insurance contract can be released by any insurance agency, both in Italy and abroad, as long as:
    • it is valid in Italy;
    • it covers all the risks of illness;
    • it covers the duration of your stay in Italy and has its date of release and expiry specified;
    • it indicates the procedures to follow to ask for a reimbursement;
    • it can be legally translated into the Italian language if the insurance policy has been provided by your country of origin. 
  • Alternatively, once in Pavia, non-EU students who do not have such a private insurance policy, can enroll with the National Health Service (SSN) by paying a yearly fee (please note that it is valid until December 31st of the year in which it is subscribed) for approximately 150.00 Euro. This has to be paid at the Post Office, by a bollettino postale on the account c/c n° 379222. Afterwards, you need to go to the Health Local Unit (ASL, Via Indipendenza, 3, Pavia) with the payment receipt. There you will choose a Practitioner. Note: for any emergency, students can go to the hospital or emergency department – first aid (pronto soccorso). All foreigners in Italy have the right to be treated in an emergency, regardless of whether they have health insurance

  • Are there doctors who speak English? Collegio Ghislieri has a list of doctors in Pavia who speak English.
  • Does Ghislieri provide support for students with disabilities? Yes. Both Collegio Ghislieri and the University of Pavia are equipped to support students with disabilities. The University of Pavia has a dedicated center to support students with disabilities and integrate them both on and off campus.
  • Is there access to mental health support and resources? Yes. Collegio Ghislieri provides an in-house psychological support services. At the University of Pavia, a dedicated Psychological Counseling Service has been created to provide psychological support to students in moments of emergency.

Student Experience and Opportunities

  • Research Opportunities: Yes.
  • Internship Opportunities: Collegio Ghislieri allows students to conduct internships within the College, i.e. in the library or in the Dean's Office. Opportunities for internships can also be sought at the University of Pavia by discussing it with the Department mobility coordinator and by applying directly.
  • Buddy/ Peer Mentor Program: Collegio Ghislieri offers a buddy program for students who wish to be paired with one of our boarders, either upon arrival or while they prepare their move to Pavia. A buddy/mentor program is also available at the University of Pavia via the Erasmus program international office
  • Social and Recreational Activities: Collegio Ghislieri is a community of students, therefore every internal activity aims at bringing students together. The Collegio organizes seminars, master classes, language classes, music lessons for its boarders and international students. All students, including our exchange students, are required to attend 70 hours (for undergraduate students) or 25 hours (for graduate students) per year of extracurricular activities offered by the Collegio. Students receive a weekly newsletter to be informed about all the activities on offer. These activities do not require a final examination. Collegio Ghislieri offers recreational activities all year round, as well as clubs (i.e.Philosophicum Ghislieri; Indiscienza) and sport clubs, with training facilities. All of these are open to exchange students, free of charge.