Promoting the study of Italian at foreign universities plays an essential role in our country’s cultural diplomacy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation promotes Italian in foreign universities mainly through language assistantships and grants to professorships.
Grants to the promotion of the Italian language and culture in foreign universities
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation promotes the internationalization of the Italian higher education system and supports initiatives of international cooperation between Italian and foreign universities.
The CINECA platform, which records the international agreements of Italian universities, includes more than 11,000 collaborations, proof of the dynamic nature of our universities.
To promote the Italian higher education system, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation facilitates inter-academic agreements, disburses annually study grants for foreign students and, through the diplomatic and consular network, facilitates student mobility by providing study visas to those who meet the requirements, along with legalizing academic qualifications and issuing declarations of value.
The promotion of our higher education system abroad is to be considered a veritable driver for the economic development of the country, by virtue of the direct and indirect effects ensured by the greater degree of internationalization of our higher education institutions on the Made in Italy brand as a whole.
The Ministry ensures there are Italian language assistants at foreign universities by sending teachers of languages and/or literature from Italy or by encouraging local contracts at universities through financial contributions. The procedure is managed by Office V of the Directorate General for Cultural and Economic Promotion and Innovation.
The students all over the world that are reached through this strategy are an important result for the dissemination of Italian in a strategic and qualified target segment.
The role of language assistants
Language assistants are a significant resource in the higher education system abroad: they are teachers with permanent positions in Italian secondary schools assigned to teach Italian in foreign universities, also collaborating in student support and research in the field of Italian language and culture.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation may also assign language assistants to additional activities to promote the Italian language and culture, including extra-curricular assignments such as the organizing cultural events, teaching in Italian language and culture courses organized by Italian cultural institutes, embassies or consular offices and developing bilateral cultural relations, also with reference to study grants and youth exchanges.
The selection of teachers is based on a call for applications issued every three years by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Education, which manage the procedures jointly. The application requirements are a degree in languages or literature and holding a permanent teaching position in a lower or upper secondary school. Furthermore, those with a language degree must have passed at least two Italian language and/or literature exams during their university career. Language teachers can also apply for the position of assistant by local contract, by contacting the foreign university directly. In this case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides funding directly to the foreign universities to support the creation and operation of Italian language teaching positions. Finally, the Ministry of Education, after consulting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, may collaborate with foreign universities in the selection of specialist personnel to whom they intend to assign the role of teacher or Italian language and culture.
Italian language assistantships in the world
There are 130 assistantships in place for the academic year 2021/2022, of which 45 with extra-curricular assignments, distributed in 63 countries around the world. The largest number of language assistants are found in Europe (62), followed by the Americas and Asia and Oceania (21 and 24 respectively).
Browse the map and discover the Professorships and Assistantships in the world supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.