Education

Italian Universities offering more and more courses in English

Their aim is attracting international students and enacting valuable multicultural projects

Italian Universities offering more and more courses in English

Claudia Astarita

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The drive towards internationalization of the University systems has led to an increasing attention to student recruitment policies, which are implemented through a variety of instruments, including the establishment of international training courses. Thus, in recent years Italian Universities have greatly enhanced the number and level of courses delivered entirely in English, with the dual aim of attracting international students and enacting valuable multicultural projects. A full depiction of the possibilities offered by the Italian academic system is available on the web site Universitaly, managed by the Ministry for Education and meant to be a gateway to help school students and their families when choosing a University or continuing their studies at high school.

From Bari to Milan, from Rome to Turin, several Universities have decided to organize courses in English language. Most Universities limit their offer to Engineering and Economics, but Alma Mater of Bologna tops the list of internationalized academies, with twelve courses, ranging from Bioinformatics to Horticultural Science and to various branches of Engineering and Economics.

According to the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI), an association that reunites state and private Universities, delivering courses in English favours multiculturalism and multilingualism. While multiculturalism refers to the ability to relate and interact with different historical, behavioural and scientific traditions, multilingualism refers to the ability to master various different language codes, allowing a deeper understanding of diverse socio-cultural environments.

Moreover, the international mobility of students - whose expansion is one of the EU's main objectives for the next decade - would be eased by making higher education widely accessible. At the same time, offering courses in English is likely not only to make Italian Universities more attractive for foreign students, but also to better prepare Italian students to the challenges of international scientific research and of a globalized job market. After all, as British theologian and philosopher John Henry Newman wrote, "if a practical end must be assigned to a University course, it is that of training good members of society".

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