Earth Science in Sicily: New Opportunities for Summer 2022


After a successful summer of programming at the new Accent Sicily Center for Field Studies, including a summer semester for students of architecture and design with the University of Minnesota and a faculty-directed program with Texas Christian University, Accent is collaborating with U.S. partners to develop new customized programming for 2022 with a focus on earth science.

Sicily is a natural laboratory, and its combination of geography and research activity make it the ideal location for the study of earth science through field studies and experiential learning. Two areas that are teeming with opportunity for U.S. undergraduates are volcanology and marine ecology.

Mt. Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The Aeolian volcanic archipelago is a short ferry-ride from the northeast coast. Sicily is a perfect location to study volcanism, whether learning volcano monitoring techniques and studying geochemistry, exploring the impact of volcanic eruptions on human activity and history, or analyzing links between volcanos, agriculture and nutrition.  

 Through on-site lectures on Mt. Etna, meetings with researchers, and field work, students learn about the volcano’s history, types of eruptions, eruptive products and the long-term beneficial effects of its activity on human life. Programs and courses are developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Volcanology and Geophysics (INGV), the organization responsible for monitoring and surveying volcanic activity in the Etna area, as well as devising and implementing safety protocol for related research activity. 

Marine Ecology
While the Mediterranean basin represents less than 1% of the planet’s ocean area, it is one of the world’s most complex marine ecosystems, providing unmatched opportunities for the study of coastal and marine biodiversity. The small, semi-closed sea has an abundance of islands and underwater beds and is also a major area of wintering, reproduction and migration. It is also among the most polluted and overfished marine areas on Earth.   

Hands-on coursework in and around Syracuse challenges students to analyze rich and diverse biota, past geological events, contemporary challenges including coastal urbanization and biological invasion, and the variety of climatic and hydrologic conditions that characterize the Mediterranean Sea. Workshops, research projects, and study tours will be designed in collaboration with local marine reserves, fisheries research centers, wildlife conservation organizations, and advocacy groups in southeast Sicily, as well as nearby Malta. 

To learn more about how programming in Sicily can help you university deliver global learning opportunities and outcomes, contact us today at