Orvieto Study Abroad

In 2017, I was invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of Arizona in Tucson and spoke to a Communications class of over 500 students.

After class, the head of the Communications Department took us to lunch and asked my wife if I might be interested in teaching a course every year in “Narrative Storytelling” at their study abroad program in Orvieto, Italy. Without hesitation, my wife said “Yes, absolutely. He’d love to do it!”

So, in May of 2018, we flew to Italy and became residents of the hilltop town of Orvieto in Umbria for the five-week study abroad program. While we were expecting a little village with a school, we were surprised to find a charming community that resembled a medieval Beverly Hills. We were given a beautiful two-bedroom apartment that was built in 1100 AD.

In addition to classroom studies, we supervised 40+ students on educational field trips through many cities, learning about Italian culture and history in conjuction with the world of storytelling and screenwriting.

While we visited the usual sights in Rome, we also toured Cinecitta, the largest film studio in Europe.

Other cities visited were Venice, Florence, Sienna and Tivoli.

We also got to witness Festa del Corpus Domini in Orvieto. This is an historic and religious event where the sacred cloth, Sacro Corporale, is accompanied by a parade of medieval costumes.


We asked other entertainment industry professionals if they would like to fly out to stay with us, and also speak in the classroom. Two of them took the offer – Nancy Kruse (Head of Story at Disney Feature Animation) and Matthew Nastuk (Director on The Simpsons)

We also visited an archeology dig in the village of Lugnano in Teverina where we were greeted by city officials and given the royal treatment.
They presented us with the Order of the Rose and named olive trees in our honor.

Unfortunately, the Covid lockdown put the Study Abroad program on hold, but I’ll be back in Italy as soon as the University resumes the curriculum.