La SPEZIA, Italy

FAU Opera in Italy



Program Description

Spend a month with FAU Opera Theatre faculty in a captivating port city along the Italian Riviera, refining your musical skills or deepening your music appreciation. This faculty-led education abroad program is open to all students and is perfect for voice students or non-music majors seeking general education (IFP)/elective course credit while studying abroad. Voice students will train with scholars from the USA and Europe, participate in expert-led workshops, sing in multiple concerts throughout the region, and attend classes in the historic Giacomo Puccini Conservatory. The conservatory will still be in session, so this program offers a unique opportunity to train simultaneously with Italian students. For students seeking general education/elective credits in Music Appreciation, your journey will encompass daily classes, the chance to observe singing master classes, and engagement in cultural events across La Spezia, Florence, and Verona. The program allows ample free time for students to discover places like Cinque Terre, Pisa, Genoa, Lucca, and more at their own pace. The program culminates with a visit to the historic Arena di Verona to experience an opera performance.

The singing courses, led by Dr. Mitchell Hutchings, cater perfectly to emerging vocalists looking to solidify their foundational techniques. This intensive education abroad training program delivers specialized instruction in Italian song literature, operatic literature, and staged scenes selected according to the individual needs and abilities of the student. Public performance opportunities include concerts of operatic and/or song literature. The highest standards are sought in a nurturing and supportive environment, allowing participants to leave La Spezia with new skills and elevated poise and confidence.


Program Dates and Deadlines:
Term Year Application Deadline
(or as space permits)
Start Date/Check-in End Date/Check-out
Summer 2024 February 11, 2024 May 11, 2024 June 11, 2024


Program fee payment deadline: See details below in program cost section. 

Information Sheet

Open to All academic disciplines
Language of Instruction English
Level of Study Undergraduate & Graduate
Credit Offered FAU credits
Program Primary Subject Music 
Sponsoring College College of Arts and Letters


Program Course Offerings:

  • MUL 2010: History and Appreciation of Music (3 credits) - IFP course open to all non-music majors
  • MUS 4957: Music Study Abroad (1-6 credits) 
  • MUO 6505: Opera Workshop (1 credit) - only open to music majors

Course Eligibility & Requirements:

All participants are required to enroll in at least 1 program course offering listed above. Each course requires permission from instructor

Include your course(s) of interest on your study abroad application in the course section.

Program Eligibility & Requirements

  • Must have a 2.5 overall GPA for undergraduates & 3.0 GPA for graduates 
  • Must be in good academic standing at the time of application
  • Must be eligible to take FAU courses during the study abroad program term
  • See Policies & Procedures page for more information


Program Faculty Leader: Mitchell Hutchings

Education Abroad Contact: Alex Baker 

Department of Music Coordinator

Phone number: 561-297-4065

Phone number: 561-297-1039




Travel Documentation

*Important notice* Passport processing times have changed. Review up-to-date details HERE.

Routine processing times can take 10-13 weeks, and expedited applications in 7-9 weeks. Processing times begin when your application is received by a passport agency or center, and do not include mailing times. It may take up to 2 weeks for your application to be received by passport agency, and up to 2 weeks for you to receive your completed passport after agency mails it to you. Therefore, you should add an additional 4 weeks to you passport application processing time. 

A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you are traveling anywhere abroad, you need a passport to board an international flight and to enter the country. Passport cards will not be accepted as form of I.D. You may be denied boarding if you travel with a passport that appears damaged or altered.

Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. Check the Country Information to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country or countries in which you are traveling.  

If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you need to renew your passport, or you have any other passport questions, you can find information on the Travel.State.Gov website. In addition, several U.S. Embassies and Consulates provide information to assist applicants in collecting the documentation needed. For a list of Embassies, please visit U.S.


Situated in the Liguria region on the western point of the Italian Riviera, La Spezia is a charming harbor town with just under 100,000 residents resting about halfway between Genoa and Pisa. La Spezia is large enough to experience diverse cuisine, shopping, and attractions, yet small enough to explore by foot or bicycle. The city is notable for its museums, port, and proximity to the beautiful Cinque Terre coastline.


Students will stay in shared apartments with other program participants. 


Program Cost and Funding

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information 

  • Students participating on FAU Faculty-led Programs may use eligible financial aid
  • Program participants may be eligible to apply for the FAU Education Abroad Scholarship
  • See additional scholarship and funding information here.


Program Cost

$3,750.00 program fee + tuition for the required program summer course(s). FAU in-state or out-of-state rates apply. 

Program fee payment deadlines: 
1ST PAYMENT:       $1,800 due Sunday, Feburay 18, 2024
2ND PAYMENT:      $1,950 due Thursday, February 28, 2024

Accepted participants will receive detailed payment instructions from the Education Abroad team via email. Payments can't be deferred. Plan accordingly. 

Program Fee Includes:

  • Accommodations from check-in through check-out date
  • Transportation from train station to accommodations upon arrival
  • Concerts
  • Engagement in cultural events across La Spezia 
  • Day trip to Florence 
  • Travel to the city of Verona and ticket to see Verdi's Aida at the Arena di Verona
  • Daily classes
  • International medical insurance 

Activities and excursions are subject to change by faculty leader or program provider/vendor if needed. Replacement activity or excursion would be provided.

Program Fee Does Not Include :

  • International Flight
  • $200 administrative fee paid at time of application submission
  • Tuition for courses/credits taken on program (FAU in-state and out-of-state rates apply)
  • Personal spending money
  • COVID-19 testing related to travel (entry or exit requirements) 


Health, Safety and Travel Documentation

All students must attend pre-departure sessions prior to study abroad. Education Abroad and your program faculty leaders will provide you with further details pertaining to dates, times, and location in the semester before your program. 

1) Mandatory pre-departure orientation hosted by the Education Abroad office. This session will cover general international travel related topics such as health, safety, insurance, and travel tips. 

2) Mandatory pre-departure meeting hosted by program faculty leader. This session will cover program and location specific information such as arrival, expectations, itinerary, and course overview.

International health and travel insurance

All FAU students participating on an FAU Faculty-led Program will be registered in international health and travel insurance coverage through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). This mandatory insurance ensures that students have access to medical and emergency support services while abroad. This is included in the program cost.


  1. Reduced risk of denied entry if a country requires vaccination for entry
  2. Reduced risk of having to get vaccinated abroad if it becomes mandatory in the country of study
  3. Reduced risk of denied acceptance to one of our foreign universities
  4. Reduced risk of denied acceptance into campus housing or host accommodations abroad
  5. Reduced risk of spreading COVID-19 and its variants to other parts of the world, including the communities where we have programs
  6. Reduced risk of contracting COVID-19 while abroad, which could lead to missed classes and excursions, mandatory quarantine or isolation, and other disruptions to the program
  7. Increases student access to local events, services, and travel while abroad
  8. Provides more flexibility in planning study abroad extracurricular activities, including excursions
  9. The WHO and U.S. CDC agree that the vaccine helps reduce the risk of serious illness and helps prevent the spread of COVID-19
  10. Alongside our other prevention measures, the vaccine significantly increases protection for FAU faculty, staff, students, and international partners

Regarding increased access because of being vaccinated, please be aware that businesses and services may legally restrict access to exclude unvaccinated individuals. Local ordinances may allow the same. In such cases, FAU won’t be able to intervene or advocate on your behalf.