I look back at my time in Siena and smile. Speaking Italian, tasting wine, taking art classes and traveling to interesting places with Carla was incredible! But even more incredible was the way my experience in Siena became a turning point for me. While previously reluctant to leave home, I was so changed by my semester in Siena that I chose to live in other faraway places both during and after college. Being in Siena was one of the best experiences I have ever had!

Anna P - former Siena student

The Gap Year experience (in Siena) was the best thing that ever happened to our daughter. It did just what we had hoped - it allowed her to mature; to see a different way of life; and to come back having discovered things she is interested in learning about in college.

Elaine D - parent of Siena student

Semester in Siena Gap Year

The Bel Camino Semester in Siena is a three-month immersion in the language, culture and landscape of Italy that combines daily language study, home-stay accommodations, exposure to a variety of arts & crafts, yoga instruction, plus weekly cultural excursions and group meetings.

Unlike other programs that focus solely on an urban experience of Italy, Bel Camino includes a week-long group hike through the beautiful, culture-rich province of Tuscany – a unique feature that reflects Carla’s passion for walking and in cultivating the bel camino (‘beautiful path’) of a life lived with gratitude and an ever-deepening awareness.

Set in the heart of Tuscany and considered one of the safest cities in Europe, Siena is also amongst its most beautiful. Along with its complement of superlative museums and art-filled churches, Siena is home to a centuries-old university, two music conservatories, a well-known school of jazz, well-regarded soccer and basketball teams and boasts a wide assortment of cultural events.

It is, in addition, a perfect setting for a program such as ours, for life here is mainly conducted afoot!  In an effort to conserve the city’s unique atmosphere and to protect eroding stone facades (not to mention Sienese sanity), happily much of the historic center is off-limits to automobile traffic. Consequently, the pace of life here is more in tune with the ‘slow’ values espoused by Bel Camino.  Whether lingering over a cappuccino in the Campo, one of Europe’s loveliest squares, or walking through the quiet medieval streets, the rhythm of experience decelerates to a delightfully human pace that allows for deeper observation, serendipitous encounters and spaciousness of reflection.

Semester in Siena is designed for young adults between the ages of 17 & 22 (high school grads, gap year and college students).

Ideally, we are looking for good ambassadors: respectful, responsible young men & women with a positive attitude, with a healthy measure of maturity and resilience, curious and open-minded, willing to step out of their comfort zones, eager to embrace a new culture. And be changed by it. They should also be in good physical shape, able to participate in a week-long hike over hilly terrain (a central component of the Semester).

[Women 21 or older who are intrigued by the Semester description are invited to read about Bel Camino’s upcoming Adventures in Mindfulness.]

Semester in Siena runs twice a year: September through November & February through April.

Fall 2013:  August 30 -November 23.
Spring 2014:  February 7 – May 3.

How much
$14,900 (US) See Costs and Fees for details.

Apply on-line

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