Italy is one of Europe's most creative and distinctive civilisations with a fascinating history and culture. You will receive a good foundation in both the language and in cultural studies and will spend a year teaching, working or studying in Italy. The small class sizes and vibrant Italian Society make it easy to get to know teaching staff and other students. The mixture of exchange students and Italian and UK staff creates an interesting and vibrant learning environment. Philosophy has been at the core of Western intellectual life for at least 2,500 years and it is central to our understanding of the world and of our place in and interaction with it. Philosophy provides the tools whereby the presuppositions of all areas of intellectual and practical activity may be systematically and critically examined. While there are different approaches that philosophers have taken, characteristic of philosophy is the emphasis on the use of argument, critical enquiry, rigour in reasoning, and clarity of expression, including the making of pertinent distinctions. The University has a strong historic connection to the subject, counting Adam Ferguson and Sir William Hamilton among its former students. Edinburgh has one of the UK's largest philosophy departments and the Philosophy Society attracts high-profile speakers. The programme at Edinburgh is structured in such a way that students cover the basics of Western philosophy and have the opportunity to specialise in the areas of most interest.