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The Bologna Experience Ages 16-18

ORA's Bologna Summer School 2020

Join us in Bologna this summer on our flagship Italian summer course - The Bologna Experience. Choose two subjects from an extensive range of options and dive into an immersive Italian experience in this historic city, with excursions to nearby Florence, Modena and Rimini Beach.

2 weeks | Available July-August 2020

  • Live and study in Bologna city centre
  • Expert tutoring from ORA's faculty
  • Guest talks by Bologna University academics
  • Exclusively for 40 students
  • Immersive Italian cultural programme

Course Summary

The Bologna Experience - part of Oxford Royale Academy's inaugural Bologna Summer School 2020 - is an exciting course that has been designed to provide students with a flexible programme focused on topics of their choice, along with an authentic flavour of this stunning Italian city, home to the Western world's oldest university.

Available for students aged 16-18, the programme requires students to choose a core morning subject and an additional topic for their afternoon workshops, creating a programme tailored to their interests which they will follow for two or four weeks of study.

Morning subjects form the main element of the course and are taught in a traditional style, while afternoon workshops are skills-based and focused on building valuable leadership and teamwork skills, presentation abilities and more.

For information on course options, please see the 'Course Outcomes' section of this webpage.

What to expect from the Bologna Experience

This course has been carefully designed to provide students with an academic summer experience that maximises their historic surroundings in the city of Bologna. Students choose two topics - one for their core morning lessons, and one for their afternoon workshops - and will spend two weeks building their knowledge and skills in their chosen subject areas.

Students study their morning subject for 30 hours across each two-week session, with ten-and-a-half hours per session for their afternoon workshop.

For morning lessons, students are exposed to a variety of engaging teaching styles, such as traditional classroom learning, interactive seminars, and debates and discussions with fellow students from around the world. Students can expect to have their views challenged and discuss different points of view, leaving with new insights and a refreshed ability to defend their own viewpoints.

For afternoon workshops, which are designed to be more skills-focused, students work in small groups and individually in order to solve a problem or bring an idea to life. In doing so, they work on key skills to help them in future study and employment, including presentation skills, leadership, team-building, creative thinking and evaluating potential solutions.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • Enjoyed a flexible summer programme, combining two subjects of their choice
  • Boosted knowledge of their chosen subject
  • Tried out new, exciting subjects
  • Improved their practical skills
  • Developed a deeper appreciation of their learning style
  • Honed their public speaking, debating, writing or leadership skills in their chosen workshop area
  • Made friends for life from all over the world

Topics Covered

Students are required to choose one core morning subject and one afternoon workshop. Click on the subjects below to learn more about each one.

The Archaeology and Anthropology morning option introduces students to a broad array of intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking debates within Archaeology and the associated discipline of Anthropology, exploring case studies from Bologna's stunning architecture.

Over two weeks, the course will explore some of the key theoretical principles underpinning archaeological and anthropological practice, illustrated by real case studies from prehistory to the present day.

Students taking the Art History morning option will explore the history of art from its strange beginnings in prehistory right through to the present day and Modernism, analysing the key eras that have defined the study of Art History. There is no better setting to undertake such a study than amidst the porticoes and frescoes of Bologna, a city that was central to the Renaissance and its main artistic triumphs.

Students will also have the opportunity to visit Florence and study some of the Renaissance masterpieces created by Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and others.

This morning option provides an introduction to the history, literature, philosophy and belief systems of Ancient Greece and Rome. Students will explore the rise of democracy, the changing face of art from the archaic to the classical periods, the Western world's literary heritage and how it stems from two great masterpieces - the Iliad and Odyssey - and more. Set amidst the history and heritage of Bologna - one of Italy's most historic cities - the course draws heavily on events that took place in Italy itself.

In addition to classical knowledge, studying Classical Civilisations as part of the Bologna Experience course furnishes students with valuable transferable skills – such as the ability to examine and analyse primary sources – through our study of original classical texts.

This Creative Writing option aims both to inspire students, and to provide students with an overview of techniques and processes available to writers, encouraging them to think beyond their perceived limitations while equipping them to exceed themselves.

Students are encouraged to experiment with their own writing, as well as engaging in literary reviews of writing that have preceded them. Based around advice and examples from famous literary figures, including Italian writers, students will encounter the obstacles and opportunities that present themselves when writing – including learning ways to overcome the dreaded writer’s block.

The Law and Legal Studies morning option is the perfect subject for any student considering future studies or a career in Law. During two weeks of interactive study and discussion, students on the course will be immersed in a variety of different fields within the discipline.

The overall aim of this programme, which takes place amidst the proud legal history of Bologna and its university, is to provide participants with an initial advantage as they start their journey towards becoming a lawyer. The focus of the course is on assessing and evaluating the role of Law in society whilst appreciating its foundations and the core theoretical values of the discipline.

This course has been designed to open students’ eyes to the wide-ranging field of marketing, with particular exploration of luxury Italian brands, from sports cars to fashion. It will explore marketing in its many guises, from traditional television advertising and public relations to the various forms of digital marketing, such as social media, email, search engine optimisation and paid search marketing.

Through case studies and practical exercises, students will develop an understanding of marketing strategy and how to plan effective market research, including how to segment groups of people into appropriate target audiences. Classes will also examine the psychology behind marketing and what makes people buy, teaching students an overview of the consumer decision-making process, which every marketer must understand in order to plan an effective campaign.

The Medicine morning subject is designed for students who wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of the science behind modern medical practice, encouraging students to consider human health and its wider impact more broadly. Students will visit the famous anatomical theatre in Bologna, using it as a springboard for discussion on how Medicine has developed over the ages.

The course uses class discussion, debates, presentations, role plays and written work to explore topics that students might not have encountered before, and to encourage students to think more broadly about human health and how it relates to wider social, political and environmental factors. The lessons aim to be an interactive and challenging introduction to medical sciences, and students are expected to get involved in discussions and to participate fully in class activities.

Set amidst the stunning porticoes, squares, towers and churches of Bologna, this afternoon option takes a close look at the stunning city within which you will be living and studying.

From the fascinating due torri - the two leaning towers that have become icons of the city - to its winding porticoes which represent the city's communal heartbeat, the workshop takes a very practical focus. Students can expect to explore deep into the roots of the city's history, examining how and why it has grown into the architectural phenomenon that exists today and exploring the many subtle (and less subtle) signs as to its past.

An afternoon workshop designed for students with a keen interest in business and entrepreneurship, our dynamic Business Challenge workshop has been designed to get students thinking about what makes a good business strategy, as they start up their own entrepreneurial brainchild and test it against the practical realities of business management. Students are divided into groups for the challenge, and must negotiate real-life obstacles such as marketing, budgeting, and the importance of leadership and teamwork in a business context. Within this context students are encouraged to be innovative and consider their own role in the launching of a hypothetical new product.

The Fashion Challenge workshop is an intensive afternoon topic designed and delivered by fashion industry professionals. The course covers many diverse areas of the fascinating world of Fashion, including case studies of specific brands, how to design and develop new Fashion items, drawing techniques and more. Students will gain an insight into the history of fashion, with a particular focus on Italian brands, and will gain a unique insight into the life of a Fashion designer.

Whether you’re interested in becoming a fashion designer or are simply passionate about fashion and want to learn more about it, the Fashion Challenge workshop will provide an inspiring introduction to the world of fashion.

Over two weeks, students will work on practical aspects of speech giving, such as body language, clarity of delivery and maintaining eye contact with their audience. Students gain wide-ranging experience of public speaking and debate, and by the end of the course they have a firm grounding in essential skills and feel confident in their ability to take on new challenges.

In each session students are shown new techniques and strategies, and then given plenty of opportunities to put these into practice. Sessions are structured so that there is plenty of time for questions and discussion; this approach is central to all ORA courses, but none more so than Public Speaking and Debate, where the chance to speak up is paramount. The two-week period leads up to a formal debating competition for the whole class on a chosen subject.

In the Beginner's Italian Language workshop, students will learn key Italian phrases and vocabulary for different scenarios, such as how to introduce oneself, ordering food in a restaurant, going to the supermarket, and more! This will both help students make the most of their time studying in Italy and provide a basis from which students can go on to study Italian at a more advanced level.

The Intermediate Italian Language workshop teaches students to talk about themselves in a more in-depth way, providing them with the skills and phrases needed to talk about their families, friends, work and more. Students will also study Italian vocabulary and syntax, perfecting their language skills.

Students will focus on skill development for all aspects of performing arts; use of voice, body, characterisation, blocking/use of the stage, stage crafts, motivation, emotion and more. A non-judgemental approach is encouraged on this course – where it is not encouraged to see things in terms of ‘good and bad’ or ‘right and wrong’ but rather to promote intuition, imagination, problem solving and freedom of action (both internal and external/physical), which will give all students on the course a sense of confidence, and is designed to bring out true potential, however hidden.

Take this course if... want to enjoy a summer of true Italian immersion and a flexible programme exploring a range of subjects.

Welcome to Bologna - a summer of true Italian immersion awaits!

Man walking through the porticoes of Bologna during the summer

Home to the oldest university in the Western world (founded 1088), the culinary capital of Europe, a stone's throw from Florence and close to the seaside getaway of Rimini Beach, Bologna will welcome a select group of ORA students in summer 2020. Students will experience all that this magnificent city has to offer over two immersive weeks of study and cultural exploration, enjoying its porticoes, cafés, museums, fine cuisine and more.

The Bologna summer campus is in the Camplus Bologna Bononia residence, a state-of-the-art student residence just next to the university district. With comfortable rooms, social areas, a gym, canteen, outdoor relaxation areas and more, Camplus is the ideal spot to live and learn this summer. Regular minibus services run into the city centre to ensure students make the most of their time in Bologna during free periods.

Photograph of the camplus complex
View of student relaxing area on campus
View of the canteen of Camplus Bologna Bononia

Outside of class, the extra-curricular programme is designed to ensure students soak up the atmosphere of their Italian surroundings. Students will enjoy guided tours of the university, the city, its museums and other most famous sites, along with excursions to Florence, Modena and Rimini Beach. Closer to home, Italian Cookery Masterclasses and Beginners' Italian classes encourage students to learn more about Italy and the Emilia Romagna region.

Portico and bunting in Bologna city centre
Tables and chairs with umbrellas on Rimini Beach, Italy
View of the skyline and duomo of Florence

Useful information for students & parents


Students will be accommodation in the modern Camplus Bologna Bononia student residence, enjoying comfortable single and shared rooms. Accommodation is the standard accommodation for students using the Camplus halls of residence.

Take a tour of the Bologna Bononia campus.

Pastoral care & student welfare

The programme is overseen by the Programme Director, who implements the day-to-day running of the programme. The Director is assisted by a team of Counsellors who ensure that students are looked after pastorally, culturally and socially during their programme. Students are able to talk informally and frankly to the Counsellors in order to raise concerns or to discuss university applications. ORA residential staff live in the Camplus residence throughout the programme and are able to assist students at any time of the day or night.

Eligibility & pre-requisites

Students on this course:

  • Must conform to our age policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Registrations Team on [email protected] and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Registrations Team for more detailed information.

Find out more

Find out more Immigration & Visas

Information and advice on securing your visa.

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Find out more Arrival & Departure

Information about how to travel to and from an ORA summer course.

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Find out more Airport Transfers

Details of transfers between ORA and Heathrow Airport.

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Find out more FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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The Bologna Experience for Ages 16-18 | Bologna is residential in the following venues:

(If your course takes place in more than one campus in the same city and you would like to know more about which location you will be allocated, please call our admissions team)

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