LVC Students Live, Explore, and Experience the Italian Lifestyle

Rachael Barrick ’21 and Anne Baney ’21 study abroad in Perugia, Italy

Lebanon Valley College juniors Rachael Barrick ’21 and Anne Baney ’21 spent four months of 2019 living and studying in Italy at the Umbra Institute. Umbra has been an LVC partner for many years, bringing students to Perugia, which is also known as Italy’s “big university town in a small Italian city,” to experience the Italian lifestyle while taking classes taught in English to keep them on track for their degrees. Barrick, a communication sciences & disorders/speech-language pathology major, and Baney, an exercise science and physical therapy major, built their semesters at Umbra by working with LVC advisors to create their ideal semester abroad. 

“I was able to take a Critical Disabilities class, which complimented my studies in Annville,” said Barrick. The Critical Disabilities course has traditional, in-class instruction along with 30 hours of on-site work with the VIVA Sports Association. The association is a local athletic program designed to teach people with motor and/or intellectual disabilities various team-building sports and games to help integrate them into society. Rachel described how much she enjoyed her work with VIVA: “I was able to work with kids who had mental disabilities such as autism and learn a lot from them. Since I want to work with children with autism in the future, this was an amazing experience to have.”

“I benefited by taking classes in subjects I wouldn’t normally study, and this opened my mind to different experiences,” said Baney when talking about how she chose to save general education credits for her experience abroad. She took a course on Human Development that gave her experience working with children as she taught the English language and American culture. She added that she enjoyed the experience because she’d been able “to learn about Italian culture from the students, and they were able to learn about American culture from me…it was an experience I will never forget.”

Both students took advantage of Umbra’s academics and made the most of life in Italy. “I am not a huge city person, and I think I made the right decision by coming to Perugia as opposed to a big city to study abroad,” said Barrick. She went on to share that through her time playing soccer with Italians, her courses, independent travel, and her days exploring Perugia, she came to feel that the town was very authentic. “There is more to study abroad than studying…I learned to adapt to new situations and how to be more independent, which was something I struggled with coming into study abroad.”

Baney added that studying abroad in Perugia helped her feel, “more laid back about things…in life, it is so important to be flexible to changes and important to know how to keep going without getting upset.”

Barrick and Baney return to LVC this fall to continue their studies. The Umbra Institute would like to thank LVC for supporting the students through their experience and wishes the best of luck to Barrick and Baney as they continue their studies and pursue their careers. 


Build Your Semester at the Umbra Institute 

The Umbra Institute allows students to select courses from a variety of disciplines to complement their degree, as well as personal and academic goals. Umbra is an American study abroad program located about half-way between Rome and Florence in Perugia. Perugia is the ideal setting to study abroad in Italy as a university city that regularly welcomes international students from across the globe. For more information about the Umbra Institute or its curricular options, contact Jill Russell, LVC’s director of global education, at You can also watch a short video describing studying in Perugia.