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University for Foreigners of Siena – Leading partner

University for Foreigners of Siena – Leading partner

The University for Foreigners of Siena is a public university specialized in the teaching of Italian as well as many other languages. It also specializes in scientific research on the diffusion of the Italian language and culture in the world and in contact between Italian and other languages and cultures.

Degrees and Certifications Offered

  • Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degrees (Three years)
  • Postgraduate Master’s degrees (Two years)
  • One-year postgraduate non-degree courses (Master level I and Master level II)
  • Postgraduate studies
  • Ph.D studies
  • Italian language and culture courses for foreigners
  • Training, refresher and specialization courses for teachers
  • E-Learning and distance education
  • Certifications for language learners and teachers

All of the undergraduate degree courses, master’s degrees, master programmes, postgraduate schools and certifications of teaching competences are open to Italian and foreign students. They include courses in teaching and promoting Italian language and culture, linguistic and cultural mediation and translation in the tourism business. The Italian language and culture courses are intended for foreigners, who may also sit the Certificate of Italian as a Foreign Language (CILS) exams.

At the University for Foreigners of Siena you can learn European languages including English, French, German and Spanish as well as non-European languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian to become a professional in the tourism, translation, economics, legal and sociological fields.

The university has received the European Label for Languages eight times, from 2004 to 2013. This is an award given by the European Union for language projects that have promoted the teaching and learning of languages through innovation and effective teaching practices, encouraging awareness of European linguistic heritage and motivating citizens to pursue multilingualism throughout their lives.

In addition, the university has obtained the UNI EN ISO 9001: 2008 for all academic activities: graduate and post graduate courses, language courses, CILS and DITALS certifications. This certification guarantees quality and reliability for all students.

The research group of RiUscire is formed by:

Prof.ssa Antonella Benucci – Scientific Coordinator 


Antonella Benucci is an associate professor of “Modern Languages Teaching” at Università per Stranieri di Siena. From 2005 to 2010 she was Director of CLUSS (Linguistic Center of Università per Stranieri di Siena). She has published several articles and handbooks on language teaching. Her research currently centers around intercomprehension, interaction between natives and inmigrants with a especial attention to foreign prisoners, and about intercultural pragmatics.

Prof. Benucci has taught training courses to Italian language teachers all over the world: Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Germany and many Italian universities. Prof. Benucci is part of Academic Committees of: Linguistic and Cultural Mediation Degree, Specialization in Teaching Italian to Foreigners; Department of Humanities and then Department of Languages and Cultures Sciences; Ph.D in Linguistics and Teaching Italian to Foreigners.

Prof. Benucci has combined the experience gained in the field to the theoretical reflection of areas for which she has been given the appointment as researcher, that is, Italian Linguistics, Teaching Italian as a Second and Foreign Language and Sociolinguistics. She gained a large experience on training teachers for teaching italian to immigrants.

Prof. Benucci has been part of several Scientific Committees and Working Groups created by University for Foreigners of Siena.

Dr.Giulia Grosso – Post doc Reseacher


Giulia Grosso holds a PhD in Linguistics and Didactics of Italian as a second language from the University for Foreigners of Siena with a thesis on the use of Italian as Lingua Franca in the spontaneous interactions of native and non native migrant workers.

She is also currently involved at the University for Foreigners of Siena as a researcher and collaborator for the DEPORT, a project  about intercultural communication in the prison context. She has a long-standing interest in language and identity in migration, and a more recent interest in intercultural pragmatics, applying Conversation Analysis to the study of spontaneous interaction in Italian as a Lingua franca in superdiverse contexts. She is a member of the SLI (Italian Society of Linguistics) and DILLE (Società italiana di Didattica delle Lingue e Linguistica educativa).

Serena Carmignani – Researcher 


Serena Carmignani is a teacher of Italian language and culture, she works with the Language Centres of various Italian universities, and conducts research connected to the project DEPORT, Oltre i confini del carcere: portfolio linguistico – professionale per detenuti [Beyond the confines of prison: A Linguistic-Professional Portfolio for inmates] at the Università per Stranieri di Siena.

She studied at the Università per Stranieri di Siena where she is a Specialist in Didactics of Italian Language. Since 2011 she has participated as a scholar and researcher on contract for research projects about second language teaching/learning in contexts of social marginalization. The reflections on Italian L2 classroom management in this context have induced further considerations on contemporary glotto-didactics and strengthened her research interests in: the role of linguistic contact in educational and professional contexts; data collection of linguistic variety in “super-divided” contexts; the use of the concept of “partial competency” and recourse to the contemporary approach of intercomprehension; the modalities of data collection of multilingualism in marginalized contexts, in educational and professional contexts; “Workplace studies” meaning investigation of communicative and educational practices in the setting of institutions and companies. She participates in conferences and seminars on the theme of applied/educational linguistics; currently she is conducting research in the sector of Italian prisons focusing particular attention on the relationship between academic investigation and its repercussions in this sector.