Creative Writing in Pavia

Italy, Pavia

After very careful consideration and evaluation, the Center for Global Education has made the difficult decision to cancel the CSB/SJU summer 2022 Italy Creative Writing program. Please contact Director Kevin Clancy with any questions. 

Tentative dates: May 18 - June 17, 2023

Program Highlights

  • Foster your creative writing skills in an intercultural writing workshop - with students from Italy and around the world
  • Live and study with Italian students in a beautiful and historic college
  • Explore Florence through its art galleries, local cuisine, and walking tours
  • Experience Venice and modern art during a visit to the world-renowned Venice Art Biennial
  • The 2022 Venice Art Biennial will be curated by Cecilia Alemani. "'As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society,' Alemani has declared."

Explore more Italy - Creative Writing Program details on CSB/SJU Global Portal.

Course Information

Course Name: Italy: Cultural and Ethical Aspects of Creative Writing

Course Number: ENGL 280A

Credit Number: 4 credits

Common Curriculum: Intercultural (IC) 

Integrations Curriculum:  Global Engagement (GL)  

Program Description

Northern Italy holds Milan, Lake Cuomo, Verona, and Venice; it features great works of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the historic, beautiful towns of Turin, Parma, and Mantua.  Students enrolled in this four-week May term travel to the northern university town of Pavia, Italy (about 30 minutes by train from Milan) to stay with Italian students in the prestigious Borromeo College.  As guests of the college, students participate in the daily activities of residential student life while taking a class with Italian students from the University of Pavia.  Join us for an intercultural encounter that will bring you into close conversation with students from another part of the world. Though taught in English, this program offers an immersive cultural experience through the many ways that CSB/SJU students will be able to join in the college life of their Italian peers.

The course itself is a creative writing workshop, which CSB/SJU students take together with Italian and international students from the University of Pavia.  Students may also expect to meet visiting poets and writers from Italy who share their writing and discuss their creative work with us.  In our daily classes, we work together to read, translate, and discuss poems in both English and Italian; we practice writing our own poems through many writing exercises; and we workshop and revise our poems together as a writing workshop.  The overall program includes visits to Florence and Venice, as well as a final, collaborative presentation of our written creative work (students may also incorporate visual or performing arts). 

Outside of class, CSB/SJU students share in the lives of their Italian peers, and we explore the cafes, concerts, galleries, and university talks of Pavia.  Interested students may attend Italian language classes for non-native speakers, offered through the Department of Languages at the University of Pavia.  Throughout our stay, we work together to build cultural competency and innovative thinking skills as we experience the life of an Italian university town.  Altogether, this highly immersive course focuses on building writing and intercultural communication skills in a calm and beautiful setting that allows for participation in ‘normal’ daily activities of our hosts and for the experience of learning in a global classroom environment.  No previous knowledge of Italian or creative writing experience is required.

Program Cost & Financial Considerations

During a summer program abroad, CSB/SJU students on this program will pay the cost of the required 4 CSB/SJU credits at the reduced summer tuition rate. In addition, all students studying abroad will pay an Education Abroad Program Fee. Program Fee information will be available in September, but you can find more information about costs on the  CSB/SJU Global Portal.  

Students should plan early for a successful study abroad experience. Financial aidand  scholarships may be available to help with program costs, but must be searched out well in advance.   


Staying in the Borromeo College, students will have opportunities to engage in activities with Italian students (including tutorials in areas of their majors, excursions, and guided visits), to go on weekend expeditions to surrounding towns and famous cities (see Additional Program Details and Basic Itinerary ), and to experience the life of an Italian university town. 

The Borromeo College lies in easy walking distance to the University of Pavia, astounding churches (including San Michele, where Charlemagne was crowned, and the Duomo, designed by Leonardo da Vinci) and plethora of shops and open-air markets.  Saint John's students will stay in the classic men's dormitories and Saint Ben's students will stay in the new women's dormitories.  The dormitory rooms are primarily doubles, though some singles may be available; CSB/SJU students do room together, but they are in rooms next to the Italian students so that they can share in residential life.  

The College has extensive grounds including gardens, a library, music room, and a 16th century chapel.  All students are welcome to dine in the refectory for the meals or to venture out to one of Pavia's many cafés, restaurants, or pizzerias.

You may take a virtual tour of the college using this link:

Program Director Information

The director and instructor for this course is Jessica Harkins of the CSB/SJU English Department. This will be her fifth time leading this program. Dr. Harkins is a poet and writer who studied literature and philology at the University of Pavia, Italy. She is fluent in Italian and her scholarship and teaching includes many Italian authors, including Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch, and the women writers of the fifteenth century. She has published several translations of the female Venetian poet Gaspara Stampa, in addition to poems by the contemporary Italian poet, Rossano Pestarino.  Dr. Harkins’ writing on poetry and the ethics of hospitality has been published in Italy, and her poems about Italy appear in her first book of poems as well as in literary journals in the U.S., Sweden, and the U.K.