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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: Italian Language Prerequisite: 4 semesters of college level language for fall or full-year program; 5 for spring (or equivalent)
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: Grades of B or better in Italian Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: September 20
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
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Ca' Foscari University, established in 1868 as a business school, is a public university based in Venice.  Today the University is home to approximately 20,000 students and a wide variety of departments under four main umbrellas: Economics, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Humanities, and Sciences.
For additional information, visit the Ca’ Foscari website
The City of Venice

Venice is the capital city of the Veneto region of northern Italy.  The city is composed of 118 small islands, connected by canals and bridges, which are located in the shallow Laguna di Venezia, or Venetian Lagoon.  Despite the fact that it is a vibrant tourist destination, full of world renowned art and architecture, Venice still boasts a pleasantly slow lifestyle.  This lifestyle is particularly evident in the way Venetians tend to move about their city - on foot, or on a vaporetto (water taxi) if absolutely necessary.

Did you know…?

The historical seat of the university is Ca’ Foscari, a Venetian Gothic palace overlooking the widest bend of the Grand Canal (in Venetian dialect, Ca’ is the abbreviated form of ‘casa’, which means ‘house’ in Italian).

The ubiquitous Italian greeting of “ciao,” has its origins in the Venetian dialect, specifically the word for slave or servant.  The original Venetian salutation, “s-ciào vostro,” with a meaning along the lines of “at your service,” was shortened to ciao and adopted by the rest of Italy beginning in the late 19th century.  Today ciao is used interchangeably throughout Italy, and the entire world, as both an informal hello and goodbye.



The program at Ca’ Foscari is for College credit only

Minimum GPA Requirement
: 3.0

Language Prerequisite for the Fall and Academic Year Program: Successful completion of Italian 140, or the equivalent, by the end of the spring semester prior to departure.  Grades of B or better in all Italian classes.

Language Prerequisite for the Spring Program: Successful completion of Italian 202, or the equivalent, by the end of the fall semester prior to departure.  Grades of B or better in all Italian classes.

Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Italian 202 is a pre-requisite for upper level Italian credit and hence for Italian majors.


Language of Instruction



A full course load at Ca’ Foscari consists of four (4) to five (5) classes per semester.  Students are required to take all of their courses in Italian.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

Ca’ Foscari Academic Calendar
Ca’ Foscari Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Italian universities award grades on a thirty point scale (i.e., 18 is considered passing, optimal grades are in the upper 20s).  Students are frequently assessed solely on the results of a final exam (written or oral).  Grades are reported to Penn on the Italian scale and then converted to Penn grades according to standard Italian – U.S. grade equivalencies:
Ca’ Foscari Grade Penn Grade
29-30 A
27-28 A-
25-26 B+
24 B
23 B-
22 C+
21 C
20 C-
19 D+
18 D
17 and below F

Special Features

BVI Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Ca’ Foscari prior to the start of each semester.

Buddy Program

A "buddy" is a Ca' Foscari student who acts as a mention to an international student, devoting free time to facilitate integration into university life. They help international students to become familiar with university courses, with the various locations and services that the University provides, and with city life and its cultural environment.  More information can be found here.

Student Associations

Penn students studying at Ca’ Foscari have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. More information can be found here.


BVI Campus
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

The Housing Office at Ca’ Foscari helps students to find suitable and affordable accommodation in one of the Venetian student residences that have an agreement with Ca’ Foscari, or in a private flat.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Venice, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.