Join Us in Spoleto, ItalyCharleston’s Sister City!

For over a decade, students from the College of Charleston have spent parts of May and June in Spoleto, Italy—a hilltop town with ancient roots, great food, and gorgeous views—studying and practicing the art of autobiography and travel writing.  

The two courses offered provide credits toward the College’s general education requirement. The program fee includes transport to Spoleto from the Rome airport and back, apartment-style accommodations with a shared bedroom (separate beds) at Villa Tota in downtown Spoleto, a crash course in Italian language and culture, an all-inclusive three-day drip to Florence filled with food and cultural experiences, a day-trip to Assisi, explorations of Spoleto and its environs, a winery experience, truffle-hunting, a cooking class with a master chief, three formal group dinners, and some additional meals and snacks along the way: gelato! pizza on the terrace!

The program fee, not including tuition or airfare, is estimated to be around $3,750. Updates on pricing will be available soon.

A generous range of scholarships of up to $2,000 are available through CofC’s Center for International Education. And don’t hesitate to contact Prof. Anton Vander Zee, the program director if you have any questions. This year, we are partnering with a study-abroad support non-profit called Customized European Programs Abroad to help with orientation and international safety protocol and 24/7support, as well as our long-standing Spoleto-based tour provider and site coordinator, Love Umbria. A complete itinerary will be available soon!

The program fee does not include air travel, which students will arrange for themselves, and tuition. The program director will let students know his flight details in case students would like to join the same flight. Students are welcome to extend their stay in Italy or beyond at the conclusion of the program.

The Courses: The Art of Travel

ENGL 370: Autobiography & Travel Memoir
Prof. Anton Vander Zee (

How does travel offer new perspectives on both self and world? In this course, we will explore a range of key concepts that will help us better understand what makes autobiography—literally self-life-writing—work. We will undertake this exploration in the context of a range of contemporary travel memoir and autobiography, and, of course, our own experiences and travels.

ENGL 339: Creative Writing: Travel, Place, Identity
Prof. Gary Jackson (

Nothing awakens creativity and imagination more than travel. And the simple act of writing is a powerful tool: with it we can navigate new landscapes, render new sensations through powerful images, deepen empathy for others outside our subject position, and essentially write ourselves into existence. Our aim is to use the study abroad experience to write, share, and revise, and study the art of writing both poetry and prose along the way.

Meet the Faculty

Anton Vander Zee has taught students around the world, from Singapore and Siberia, to Stanford and CofC. He has published articles and review essays in Modern Philology, The Wallace Stevens JournalAgni, and Agni Online, the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, ESQ, and elsewhere. He looks forward to expanding his teaching interest in autobiography and travel writing during his second trip leading the College’s study abroad program in Spoleto.

Gary Jackson Gary Jackson is the author of Missing You, Metropolis (2010), which was the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and origin story (2021). He’s also coeditor of The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry (Blair, 2021). Jackson’s poems have appeared in numerous journals including Callaloo, The Sun, Los Angeles Review of Books, Copper Nickel, and elsewhere. He’s been published in Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology, was featured in the 2013 New American Poetry Series by the Poetry Society of America, and is the recipient of both a Cave Canem and Bread Loaf fellowship.


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