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Coastal in Tuscany

This study abroad program is a repeating program that allows students the opportunity to learn about Italian history and culture over the course of 3 weeks in May. The program is based in Arezzo, Italy, one of Tuscany’s most scenic and historic walled cities.  As a historical site, Arezzo dates back to the Iron Age, and became an Etruscan center of considerable importance during the period prior to the establishment and expansion of the ancient Roman Republic.  The city’s continued cultural heritage is manifest in noteworthy Roman, medieval and Renaissance architectural and artistic sites and objects. Coastal’s program is based at the Accademia dell’Arte’s Villa Godiola in Arezzo, an American artistic and educational center that provides housing, classroom space, support services, and meals (  During their stay in Arezzo, students will become familiar with Italian social and other practices of daily life, including travel, dining out, shopping and more. 

The Coastal in Arezzo program has a strong humanities and arts-based focus, and allows students to explore and study some of Italy’s most famous sites of artistic and historic merit under the tutelage of veteran trip leaders and accomplished Coastal faculty. Sites to be visited include Florence, Fiesole, Orvieto, Siena, Rome, and possibly others.  

Coastal faculty will provide all instruction, offering both Theatre and Communication courses.  Both faculty leaders are offering Core Curriculum courses for general recruitment; Independent Study sections of both Theatre and Communication will be offered upon the requests of students who need those credits to meet major requirements. The staff at the Accademia includes both Americans and Italians; they will provide on-site assistance as needed should emergencies arise. 

Due to Italy’s natural terrain, a considerable amount of walking will be required on every day that involves a field-trip or outing.  Religious sites will be visited often, as these include or contain some of the country’s greatest treasures.  Students will be expected to wear suitable footwear, and on days when we will visit churches or synagogues, to wear modest clothing covering shoulders and midriff, with hemlines not higher than mid-thigh.  Most cities and cultural heritage sites in Italy are not ADA compliant, there are few elevators in-country, and many historic sites have steep stairways and narrow doorways.

Course Information

THEA 149 Acting for Non-Majors. (3 credits). (Prereq: None). Introduction to acting through exercises, improvisations and scene study that involve public performance as well as the development of communication skills. Instructor: Benjamin Sota
Satisfies Core Goal 1, Part B

THEA 399 Independent Study: The Italian Theatre Experience. (3 credits). (Prereq: none). For more information, see the Non-Traditional Coursework in the Academic Regulations section in this catalog. May be repeated for credit under different topics.
Instructor: Benjamin Sota

THEA 425 World Dramatic Literature. (3 credits). A critical and historical survey of the cardinal works of dramitic literature across the epochs of theatrical performance. The course accents analysis and interpretation.

COMM 150 Media, Self, and the World. (3 credits). (Prereq: None). This course examines the many ways media systems and messages shape our understanding of ourselves and our world. How various media (e.g., television, internet, newspapers) interact and deliver content (e.g., entertainment, news, advertising) that influence the “real world” will be studied. Special attention will be given to media literacy as it relates to such topics as violence, sexuality, tolerance, materialism, and privacy.
Instructor: Sofia Karatza
Satisfies Core Goal 4

CLC/COMM 301 Intercultural Communication. (3 credits). (Prereq: None). This course focuses on the dynamics of how culture influences the communication process. It will navigate through unique topics, such as the roles of rituals and social dramas, and provide an extensive and relevant discussion of different worldviews and gaining cultural competency.
Instructor: Sofia Karatza

Faculty & Staff Leaders 

Ben Sota, Assistant Professor of Theatre 843-349-2145
Benjamin Sota holds dual MFAs in physical theatre and directing and has performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Al Hussein Amphitheater in Amman Jordan, Mass MoCA, Summer Stage in Central Park, EMERGENCY in Kabul Afghanistan, Hager Fikir Theatre in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu, The White House, and many others.  Ben spent three years living as an actor in Arezzo, Italy where Coastal in Tuscany is based.  He has lived also in Turin, Naples, and Syracuse (Sicily) and can suggest travel itinerary, aid in translation, and help with appropriate cultural diplomacy.  Artist websites are and

Ben Sota was faculty leader for the 2016 Maymester Coastal in Tuscany program. He has abundant experience living in Italy.

Sofia Karatza, Assistant Professor of Communication, Media, and Culture
Sofia Karatza holds a PhD from The University of Iowa and specializes in Intercultural Communication, Media, Ethnographic Methods and Film.  Karatza is originally from Greece and Cyprus, and has also lived in England.

Karatza’s expertise lies in the intersection of culture, communication, and everyday life. She has extensive experience teaching intercultural communication and applying cross-cultural methodologies in the classroom to enhance students’ understanding of their own and others’ cultural experiences.  As a leader of the Tuscany study abroad, Karatza will bring both her area of expertise and her cultural background (having immersed herself and lived in a variety of European cultural contexts) to facilitate students’ cultural growth.

Cost of the Program

Cost of the Program = Program Fees + (Number of Credits x Tuition Rate)

In-State Students ($357/credit)
CCU credits  Program Fees Tuition  Cost of Program
3 credits $4,129 $1,071 $5,200
6 credits $4,129  $2,142 $6,271


Out-of-State Students  ($432/credit)
CCU credits Program Fees Tuition Cost of Program
3 credits $4,129 $1,296 $5,425
6 credits $4,129 $2,592 $6,721

Included in Cost of Program: Program fees include roundtrip airfare from the U.S. to Italy; accommodations while abroad; breakfast everyday and 10 other meals at the Villa; local transporation; planned excursions; and emergency medical insurance.

Not included in Cost of Program: 

  • Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Approximately $350 for meals not covered by program fees and miscellaneous expenses. Please note that this estimate will vary based on individual spending habits, and does not cover the cost of a new passport. Students should ask their program leaders for more details about estimated out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Pre-departure Housing: Students will be meeting on-campus for classes in the week leading up to the departure date. Students will need to make sure they have accommodations leading up to the program departure date.  Students should confirm with faculty leaders the date of departure before securing housing.

Payment Schedule for Program Fees and Tuition

Program Fee & Tuition Schedule Due Date Amount Due
Deposit November 1, 2017  $300
1st Payment December 8, 2017  $1,277
2nd Payment January 12, 2018  $1,276
3rd Payment February 12, 2018  $1,276
Tuition April 20, 2018 In-State: $357/credit
Out-of-State: $432/credit

Deposits can be made in-person at Student Accounts (Baxley Hall) or over the phone. After acceptance to the program, payments can be made either online through Webadvisor or at Student Accounts.  Please note that payments made with a debit or credit card will be charged a service fee of 2.7 percent. For more information about methods of payment, visit

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