Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hrs
- Pre-ILP + Fall
- Pre-ILP + Year
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Specialists advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Centers Abroad
The UCEAP Study Center for immersion programs in Italy is located in Bologna. Local staff operate the office and advise students on academic matters, assist with housing, and provide information on cultural and social activities. The staff works closely with the International Offices at all partner universities to provide local support to students.
Mr. Michelangelo D’Elia, Resident Director
Dr. Mariarosa Mettifogo, Academic Coordinator
ACCENT/UC Florence Study Center
Piazza Santo Spirito, 10
50125 Florence, Italy
Phone: (calling from the U.S.): (011-39) 055 23 81 657
Phone: (calling from Italy): 055 23 81 657
Fax: (011-39) 055 264 76 82
Dr. Peggy Kidney, Academic Affairs Coordinator
Leah Kaplan, Program Administrator
University of California
Centro Studi di Bologna
Via Grimaldi, 3
40122 Bologna, Italy
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011 39) 051 231 405
Phone (calling from Italy): 051 231 405
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code ...........011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Italy country code....................39
Bologna city code ..................051
Milan city code ....................... 02
Florence city code ..................055
Approximate Time Difference
Add 9 hours
Pre-Intensive Language Program
If you have not completed two years of Italian prior to departure, you are required to attend UCEAP’s ten-week summer pre-intensive language program (pre-ILP) held in Florence prior to the regularly scheduled ILP. You may also be required to take the pre-ILP if it is determined that your language preparation is inadequate. To better prepare for study in Italy, you are encouraged to take the pre-ILP regardless of your language level.
You are placed in the pre-ILP based on your language proficiency. The level of language instruction ranges from intermediate to advanced. Language classes meet four hours per day, Monday through Friday mornings. Cultural activities and special lectures are scheduled in the afternoons and evenings, and some excursions take place on Saturdays. The pre-ILP course focuses on grammar, conversation, and oral and written comprehension. The entire program carries a maximum of 13 UC quarter units (8.7 semester units), though you may elect to reduce the units to no lower than 3 UC quarter units (2 semester units) with no reduction in workload. The pre-ILP must be taken for a letter grade.
If you receive a B- or below as the final pre-ILP grade, you will be required to meet with the Study Center representative to discuss progress and conditions of continuation. For example, you may be required to take a tutorial support class during the ILP (two hours per week for four weeks).
Eligibility for UCEAP immersion programs in Italy is based upon successful completion of two years of Italian coursework prior to participation; therefore, you may be dismissed from the program if you do not achieve a passing grade in the pre-ILP.
Pre-ILP Attendance Policy
Classes are held regularly Monday through Friday. There are some Saturday excursions. You are expected to attend all field exercises and guided tours, which are integral components of the courses. You are allowed one absence per class on the Pre-ILP program. Any absence beyond the limit will result in a deduction of a third of a grade (approximately 3%) from your final raw total. If you are absent due to a medical reason, you need to submit a doctor’s note. In addition, two tardies are equal to one unexcused absence (being 10 minutes late to class gives you a tardy). There are no exceptions. No make-ups are allowed for missed work. If you miss class when an assignment (quiz, written or oral test, paper due) is taking place, you must submit a valid doctor’s note in order to avoid getting an F grade for the assignment.
Intensive Language Program
Prior to the start of the academic year, you will participate in an orientation and four-week intensive language program (ILP). The ILP includes intensive training in grammar, composition, listening comprehension, reading and conversation, and an overview of Italian academic culture and institutions. Classes meet three hours daily, five days a week. There are also guest lectures, visits to museums, and a major field trip. The ILP is worth a maximum of 6 UC quarter units (4 semester units) of upper-division credit and must be taken for a letter grade. If you earn any grade below a B, you will be required to take additional language coursework during the regular academic term.
At the beginning of the academic term, the Academic Coordinator will meet with you to discuss your academic program for the term abroad. You will enroll in regular host university courses.
Since you are in a new academic system unlike that of UC, it may be prudent, initially, to enroll in more than the necessary number of courses in order to provide flexibility. Extra courses may be dropped from the UC Study List up to approximately the middle of the term. In some cases, host institutions may require making changes earlier in the term.
Once you and the Academic Coordinator determine your program of study, the courses are recorded on a Registration Study List, which you can access through MyEAP
. You are responsible for entering all of your courses on the Study List. Any changes must be made by petition. The UCEAP Systemwide Office processes Study Lists. Units and subject areas are subject to review and revision. All courses must receive UCEAP academic review before credit can be awarded.
Failure to submit a Study List will result in the loss of student status in both UCEAP and UC, and possible dismissal from UC, which carries serious financial consequences. You must also abide by host institution deadlines regarding changes, when applicable.
Graduate students can be accommodated in most fields at UCEAP’s partner institutions in Italy.
Italian high school education is rigorous and generally provides students with a greater academic preparation for university-level studies than U.S. high schools. Italian students begin university studies at age 18 or 19, but because they must declare a major upon acceptance to the university, they tend to be more focused in their field than the average UC student. All UCEAP host universities in Italy are state universities and overcrowding can sometimes be a problem. Only a few particular university departments have an entrance exam to limit enrollment in the three-year laurea degree (the two-year specialization degree often requires an entrance exam). Courses that are particularly affected by this are first- and second-year courses, especially in the natural sciences and in labs. Since no general education requirements are necessary at the university, students focus immediately on coursework in their majors and must have clear and specific academic goals.
Very few students work and study at the same time because the Italian work environment offers few opportunities for part-time employment. Many students who live in the cities surrounding UCEAP’s host universities commute to school. Those who live farther away may live in university housing or rent private apartments.
Although students do not have structured study groups or discussion sections, classmates will usually get together to review course material. You are encouraged to make friends with fellow students, share notes, and study together.
Students entering the university must first complete the required, basic introductory courses for their particular area of study. The new European Union educational reform has split the university degree into a three-year laurea degree followed by an optional two-year specialization: the laurea magistrale. Students must complete all the courses in the first sequence to go on to the second. This has important implications for you regarding prerequisites and expectations about your prior knowledge. You can determine which classes may be appropriate by consulting the MyEAP Course Catalog for courses taken by past UC students and syllabi that may be available on the host university website.
At the start of the term, professors may hand out more detailed syllabi and reading lists. Many professors also provide readers with important articles and excerpts. Since specific topics may vary each year and in order to ensure appropriate UC credit for coursework taken abroad, it is critical that you retain all such information, as well as lecture notes and any papers or projects you produce for these courses.
The Italian university system is undergoing rapid and significant changes. Traditionally, most courses were year-long, but now most are offered as semester or modular courses. However, many semester courses are “intensives,” which cover the same material formerly covered in a year. Credit at the University of Bologna is based on the Crediti Formativi Universitari (CFU) which is the Italian university credit system. The UC unit value assigned to courses is calculated based on the CFU.
First and second year classes at the host institutions, especially in the humanities fields, are large. From the third year on, they range from small seminar groups to large lecture halls.
Attendance is not always required of the Italian students; however, students who choose not to attend a class have a separate study program that they must agree upon with the professor and prepare on their own for the final examination. Your attendance is required (UCEAP policy). In some courses, professors require that students sign in for each class meeting.
Libraries & Textbooks
Most university libraries are open for about 10 hours per day during the week, with reduced hours on Saturday. Most are closed on Sunday. It can be difficult to check out books from university libraries. Often, the books are not organized on an open stack basis. You must consult the online catalogue and fill out a request slip for a book. You must show university ID to check out a book, and some department libraries require you to present a letter from your host university professor to show that you are enrolled in that department. Usually only two books may be checked out at a time, but you can read texts at the library.
The ILP course is designed to prepare you for interacting with professors both in e-mail and in person. This is especially important during the final oral exam, given the more formal academic setting of Italian universities.
Observe your Italian peers for social cues on interacting with your professors. It is the norm to address professors using the formal third person singular. You will benefit from introducing yourself to your professors at the beginning of the semester and establishing a relationship with them through their open office hours. On the whole, professors are willing to meet to discuss your progress, help with paper topic selection, or provide clarification on course content.
Since most classes do not have written assignments throughout the semester and there is generally only the final oral exam, it is very important that you maintain self-discipline and work regularly, pacing yourself throughout the term. It is impossible to read all the material in the last few weeks of class and cram for the final. Therefore, UCEAP discourages extensive travel during regular academic terms.
Do not expect professors to go easy on you just because you are a foreigner. Students often arrive at the beginning of the program having heard the myth that it is easy to get an A during the study abroad program. This is not the case. International students are graded in the same way as Italian students, and to get an A, they must demonstrate that they have studied and thoroughly understand the material.
To be successful, you must be academically independent and resourceful. To excel in oral exams, you must learn to organize your ideas and express yourself clearly and concisely in Italian. Although the thought of oral exams may seem intimidating at the beginning of the year, most UCEAP students have no problem adjusting to oral examinations.
Assessment & Grading
In the Italian university system, grades are assigned on a scale from 10 to 30. An 18 is a pass. For most courses, the entire grade is based on one final oral examination. It is sometimes possible to arrange for oral examinations to be taken in a separate room rather than in a public lecture room with other students and faculty.
Some students have occasionally encountered language difficulties during their final oral exams; you are encouraged to continue strengthening your language abilities throughout the program. You are also encouraged to sit in on an oral exam session prior to your own to get an idea of what professors are asking and to see how the Italian students respond. This is not considered an unusual practice and is in fact generally done by Italian students as well.
Professors are increasingly requiring final papers of 10 to 15 pages. Study Center staff can arrange for aid in reviewing papers before you submit them.
The University of Padova is organized around its Facoltà, which include: Agriculture, Economics, Education, Engineering, Jurisprudence, Letters and Philosophy (including history, art history, anthropology, archaeology, classical studies, foreign languages, literature and Italian studies, linguistics, communication, dramatic art and music), Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Political Science, Sociology, and Statistical Sciences.
Courses are available in agriculture and forestry (including enology), art history, business administration, chemistry, communications, dramatic arts and music, education, history, journalism, linguistics, literature, mathematics, political science, psychology, selected pre-med courses (including biology), and physiology.
Many semester-long courses are offered, ranging from 4 to 8 UC quarter units in value. You can visit the University of Padova
website for a list of courses that are available to students during the current academic year. You should also utilize the UCEAP Course Catalog which contains information on all of the courses previously taken by UCEAP students.
Requirements & Course Registration
You must take a minimum of 18 units per semester (not including the summer pre-ILP and/or ILP coursework). Students typically take 4–6 courses.
You will register for courses after you arrive in Italy. The study center staff will provide you with information on how to register for courses during orientation.
University of Padova Medical School
UCEAP pre-med honors students enrolled at the University of Padova may take courses at the University of Padova’s Medical School, one of the oldest and most prestigious centers of medical research in Europe. A course of study at the Medical School provides an excellent addition to the résumé of a student applying to medical schools in the U.S. and Europe. You can take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, biology, biophysics, chemistry, general pathology, histology and embryology, immunology, microbiology, physics, physiology, and statistics.
Istituto Musicale G.F. Malipiero
UCEAP students enrolled at the University of Padova may take courses at the Istituto Musicale G.F. Malipiero for UC credit. Malipiero offers courses in voice, piano, violin, and most other orchestral instruments. Practice rooms are available for enrolled students. You will need to take an entrance exam or audition to determine your level of study. UCEAP students are officially enrolled at the University of Padova and take selected courses at the Istituto. Credit for performance courses is awarded through the University of Padova.
Each year the University of Padova offers two scholarships to UCEAP participants toward the cost of lessons.
In Padova, you can conduct independent research in a variety of fields and participate in internship programs in local prisons, archaeological excavations, and research laboratories. Past internships by UCEAP students at the University of Padova have included work at the Peace and Human rights Center and a local radio station. New internship programs are constantly being developed. Internships cannot be set up in advance but are organized on an individual basis after arrival.
Extending UCEAP Participation
UCEAP encourages fall students to extend participation to the academic year. The best way to plan for extension is to complete the UCEAP Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form before departure for your program. The DPA does not obligate you to extend, but will expedite the process. If you wish to extend once you are abroad, make an appointment with the Study Center and complete either the Request for Final Approval (RFA) or the Petition to Extend before the November 1 deadline. If you already have a DPA on file, you will only need to submit the RFA for final approval to extend. The Petition to Extend can take several weeks for approval.
You must meet the program requirements and have the approval of the Study Center, your UC campus, and the UCEAP Systemwide Office. Approval is based on a number of factors, including academic performance, the support of your home campus department, and available space at the host university.
Once your extension has been approved, UCEAP will notify your home campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take with regard to finances, see the Extension of Participation
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Extensions for the Permesso di Soggiorno
If you meet all program requirements and the extension is approved, you will need to extend your residence permit (permesso di soggiorno).
If you are a fall student extending to a spring or year program, you must bring your visa and all supporting documents to the local police department in Italy 60 days before your visa expires and request to have your residence permit extended. (Note: As long as you apply for an extension of the residence permit in time, you will not need to return to the U.S. to apply for a new visa.) Supporting documents should include a new UCEAP Participation Letter that reflects the new dates of study, a new acceptance letter from the host institution that shows that you are accepted for a specific time period, a valid passport, one passport-size photograph, and any other document or information that the police department requests. The Study Center staff will assist with this process.
Become acquainted with Italy prior to departure. Newspapers, magazines, journals, and the Internet are important resources available to research political, economic, cultural, and social changes in the country.
It is an exciting time to study in and travel to Italy, and the better you prepare the more rewarding this time will be.
- The Italian national newspapers, La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, provide online editions daily.
- Ciao*Italy offers links to the most important daily Italian national and local newspapers.
- The Florentine is a bi-weekly English newspaper providing national and local news, sports, and local events.
The more Italian you know before leaving for Italy, the easier your time abroad will be. Prior to departure, spend 45 minutes a day, or at least five sessions a week, working to improve your Italian.
The following are good methods outside of the classroom to help you prepare linguistically:
- Read as much as you can in Italian (newspapers, periodicals, novels, short stories), and if possible read aloud so that you get accustomed to hearing your voice in Italian.
- Keep a diary in Italian.
- Keep a journal of Italian phrases, expressions, whole sentences, and structures you would like to use in your vocabulary.
- Listen to Italian CDs in the language lab on your campus.
- Watch Italian movies. If you have difficulty understanding, turn on subtitles in Italian.
- Listen to as much Italian music as possible.
- Meet with Italian reciprocal exchange students at your UC campus. Meetings can be facilitated through your Campus EAP Office.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
There will be an orientation for each host university upon arrival. Attendance at the orientation is mandatory.
Pre-ILP students: You will have an orientation upon arrival in Florence and another one at your host university.
Orientations are designed to familiarize you with Italy and Italian culture, and to provide information on university registration practices, course selection, banking, transportation, housing, medical care, social and cultural activities, etc.
During orientation, you will participate in activities and guided excursions in the local vicinity.
Travel to Your Host Country
Be sure to note the program start date and time before purchasing an airline ticket.
You should purchase a changeable airline ticket.
Arrival information, including Study Center contact information and detailed directions to your arrival city, are included in your Predeparture Checklist. It is important that you take this information with you to Italy. You may also want to give a copy to your family.
You are responsible for arriving in Italy independently at the specified location on the required date and time for the official start of the program. Official UCEAP arrival and start dates are provided in the program calendar located in the Participants web page for your program. Confirm the program start date and time before reserving a flight.
If you feel more comfortable traveling with a companion, you are encouraged to contact fellow UCEAP students while still on your home campus to discuss the possibility of making joint travel plans. You can also find traveling companions on the UCEAP Italy Facebook page.
All students, even those on financial aid, must reserve and purchase their own tickets. Your Financial Aid Office will not do it for you.
Flights are often changed or canceled; confirm your flight schedule with the airline about two weeks before departure and again a day or two beforehand.
The start date of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur for independent travel arrangements.
In order to be kept informed of program changes, you must update MyEAP
with any changes in your address, telephone number, or e-mail address and inform UCEAP.
You must provide details of your itinerary to the UCEAP Systemwide Office no fewer than 30 days prior to the program start date and update the office with any subsequent changes.
If you fail to appear at the designated location on the Official Start Date, you are subject to dismissal from the program (see Student Agreement, Section 10, in MyEAP).
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Student Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Student Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and in the online UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
It is recommended that you scan your passport and e-mail a copy to yourself. This will speed up the replacement process if it is lost or stolen.
You need a passport at the time you apply for the program. If you do not already have a passport, you must apply for one immediately, and you may need to expedite it. The regular process can take approximately four to ten weeks.
Passports must be valid at least three months beyond the end date of the program. If your passport will expire before that time, you will need to obtain a new one before you can apply for a student visa. To obtain a visa, your passport must be signed and all personal information must be accurate (e.g., name, date of birth, etc.).
The way your name is spelled, abbreviated, punctuated, etc., on your passport must be exactly the same in MyEAP and on all other documents submitted with your visa application. Even minor discrepancies can cause big problems.
You must obtain a student visa in the U.S. prior to departure.
A visa is a stamp placed in your passport by the authorities of Italy. The visa grants you permission to reside and study in Italy. You may not study in Italy without a student visa unless you have Italian or EU citizenship.
You will receive detailed instructions in your Pre-Departure Checklist (PDC) to apply for your visa. Use the instructions and sample application provided to complete your visa application. It is important that you follow the instructions precisely; if you fail to do so you may not receive a visa. Note that there are specific instructions for different campuses. The requirements are different for the Los Angeles and San Francisco consulates. To avoid delays (and last minute panic) apply as early as possible for your visa.
If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you are required to have a valid passport and a residence permit, plus proof of permission to reenter the U.S. You will also need to provide proof of your return flight to the U.S.
European Union citizens do not need a visa or a residence permit, but must register at the Ufficio Anagrafe of the city in which you are studying. You will receive information and assistance with this upon arrival in Italy.
Travel Before or After Your Program
You must submit your actual passport to the consulate 60–90 days prior to the start date of your program. It may not be returned for several weeks; therefore, be careful when planning international travel before your program. It may be possible to obtain a second, temporary passport to use while your regular passport is surrendered to the Italian consulate. Contact the U.S. Passport Agency
for more information.
UCEAP recommends that you do not plan to depart for your program more than a week or two prior to the program start date due to the lengthy visa process. It is best to travel after the completion of your program. U.S. citizens may travel in Europe for up to 90 days total before or after the validity date of your visa. This means that if you arrive in Europe 10 days before your visa start date, you will have 80 days of travel remaining after your visa expiration date.
Non-U.S. citizens must check for their own requirements.
Special Note for Non-U.S./Non-EU Citizens
If you are planning to travel outside of Italy during or after the program, investigate the requirements to do so as there may be visa restrictions for certain countries.
Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno)
Officially, you must submit an application for the permesso di soggiorno (permit of stay) within eight days of your arrival in Italy. (If you come as a tourist before the start of your program, you do not need to apply until your program begins.) You must provide the local authorities with specific documents; refer to the Pre-Departure Checklist for specific requirements. Take all of these documents with you to Italy. The residence permit will cost approximately €156; be prepared to pay this fee out of pocket—in cash (euros).
Do not apply for the residence permit alone; you will be given all of the necessary information after you arrive. Staff will help you fill out forms, organize documents, and apply for the permesso di soggiorno.
The permesso di soggiorno is an essential document that allows you to remain in Italy for the duration of your program. It is required for your stay in Italy and also for travel in and out of Italy. If you leave Italy without your residence permit (or a receipt showing that you have applied for it) you may not be allowed to reenter Italy.
The permesso di soggiorno is also required for official registration at some of the host universities in Italy. At these host universities, a blocked registration means that you will not be issued an official libretto d’iscrizione (registration and transcript) document. Without the libretto, you cannot sign up for exams and your professors cannot record a grade.
Keep your passport and residence permit at your home in Italy in a safe place. Make a photocopy of each for you to carry at all times, as required by Italian law. The Study Center must also retain copies of both your passport and your residence permit (immediately after you receive it). Take your original documents with you only when you are traveling around or outside of Italy. It is recommended that you scan a copy of your passport and e-mail it to yourself. This could be very useful in case of loss or theft.
The Italian visa laws may make it impossible to bring children to Italy. It is also difficult to find child care services there. Italian citizens often must wait years to get their children into day care, and a foreign child living in Italy for a short term would not be given priority.
When traveling always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage. Leave extra credit cards at home.
Luggage limitations have become strict and vary by airline. Most carriers have weight restrictions and charge a lot of money for excess baggage. Contact your airline for detailed information.
Shipping items is not recommended. It can be expensive to send boxes to Italy, and you may have to pay a hefty customs fee upon receipt of the package. Packages are not always delivered to the door, in which case you have to pick them up.
Carry only what is necessary and make sure to bring bags that you can carry by yourself. Many buildings in Italy do not have elevators, so you may need to carry your bags up a number of flights of stairs. Suitcases with wheels and an extendable handle or hiking backpacks are recommended.
Identify each item of luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. To avoid theft, never leave your luggage unattended.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Clothing that can be layered
- Warm coat and clothes for the winter
- Residence permit documents (see specifics in your Pre-Departure Checklist)
- Prescription medication (for information on taking prescription medication abroad, see the Staying Healthy chapter of this guide)
- Voltage converter and plug adapter (see Electrical Appliances below for details)
- English/Italian dictionary
- Italian grammar book
- Vitamins and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or Tylenol (they are expensive in Italy and should not be sent in the mail)
- Backpack with an inner frame
- Scarf, gloves, and hat
- One dressy outfit for formal occasions
- Any sports attire you may need
In general, Italians tend to dress up more than most Americans. A typical California wardrobe (with a few modifications) will be satisfactory. Take clothing that is easy to care for, preferably clothes that can be hand-washed and line-dried. Often there are limited washing machines in university housing facilities, and Laundromats and dry cleaners are expensive. Bring comfortable, waterproof walking shoes or boots with thick soles.
Take a good English/Italian dictionary such as the new Zanichelli and a familiar Italian grammar book to help with the language classes.
If possible, take your own laptop. Be sure that you have the appropriate adapter/converter. Italian universities require typed work.
The voltage in Europe is 220–240 rather than the standard U.S. 110 volts, and the electrical outlets are different than those in the U.S. A plug adapter is used to fit U.S. plugs into European outlets. A voltage converter changes your appliance’s voltage from U.S. standards to European standards. All electrical appliances provide information about their voltage, usually on a label attached near the cord. If your appliance indicates 110–240, you will only need a plug adapter to use it in Italy. If it indicates only 110, you will need a voltage converter with round European prongs.
Converters do not work with hair dryers, alarm clocks, and electric razors. You might consider purchasing these items when you arrive in Italy since they are inexpensive. Due to the high cost of electricity abroad and the fact that improper use of appliances may damage electrical outlets and the appliances themselves, ask before using the outlets.
If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date.
The estimated airfare amount in the UCEAP Student Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
The UCEAP Insurance Plan
includes limited personal property coverage. Review the plan carefully before departure. Determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions. Talk to your parents, they may already have insurance coverage for personal possessions. Find out if their insurance will cover your items while in transit and while abroad, and also inquire about deductibles.
You may decide to purchase additional coverage, especially for high-value electronics (e.g., computer, tablets, camera, etc.). If you decide to do so, purchase supplemental coverage before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. You can safeguard your belongings from damage or theft by locking your room and securing money, travelers checks, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- How to and who can make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Student Budget Payment Voucher located on the second page of your UCEAP Student Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Student Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Student Budget frequently. The Payment vouchers are on the second page of the UCEAP Student Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Vouchers.
- Give the UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
The euro (abbreviated EUR or €) is the official currency unit of Italy and most nations of the European Union. The European Central Bank
website provides more information.
Obtain enough euros from your bank (about €400) prior to departure to cover the first few days in Italy. This will cover your residence permit(€156), food, and other incidentals. You should also carry a small amount of money in U.S. dollars for use while traveling.
You cannot use American checks in Italy. If anyone mails funds to you from the U.S., be sure the funds are sent in the form of an international money order. A better way to get money sent to you is through Western Union, but the best method is to have funds deposited into a U.S. bank account and then withdraw funds in Italy with an ATM card.
Exchanging Money After Arrival
You can exchange money at banks, foreign exchange offices, airports, railroad stations, some tourist information centers, and some travel agencies. Avoid exchanging money at hotels, exchange booths located on the street (cambios), and tourist shops; although they are convenient, their rates are often less favorable. A passport is required to exchange money. Cashing travelers checks at a bank generally entails a fee of about €8.
For travel to countries that do not use euros, you will get the best exchange rate if you use your ATM card to get cash once you arrive at your destination.
Be sure to notify your bank that you will be living in Italy and confirm that you will be able to withdraw cash with your ATM card in Europe.
Using an ATM in Italy is as easy as it is at home. You can use ATMs at most Italian national bank branches. ATM cards provide a convenient way to get cash, make deposits and transfers, and verify account balances.
Ask your home bank:
- Do they have a partner bank in Italy?
- Will I be able to access my account while abroad?
- Will my PIN (personal identification number) work and will I able to withdraw cash with my ATM card in Europe? (Keep in mind when choosing a PIN that ATMs abroad do not have letters on the keypads as they do in the U.S.)
- What is the daily limit that I can withdraw from my account?
- What fees will I be charged to withdraw money abroad?
It is best if your card is affiliated with Visa or MasterCard so that you can receive cash advances in case the ATM does not work.
Notify your bank that you will be studying abroad. Due to fraud, some banks have put blocks on cards because they were unaware that the student was studying abroad and suspected that the ATM or credit card had been stolen.
It is strongly recommended that you take a major credit card to Italy. You may also want to take an additional credit card reserved only for emergency use. Visa and MasterCard tend to be more widely accepted in Italy than American Express (AmEx). Check with your credit card company about the cost of using your card abroad, as “foreign transaction fees” can be expensive. However, some companies are now offering competitive “no fee” cards.
You can arrange to use your Visa or MasterCard to obtain a cash advance; however, the interest rates are usually quite high.. Check with your credit card company to see what services are offered and what the rates are.
Notify your credit card company that you will be studying abroad so that your card does not get blocked for suspicious use.
Internet connections are available in most housing options. There are also Internet cafés where you can access the Internet and your e-mail accounts.
Most computer facilities are good, but crowded. A number of terminals are available in various departments. The computer labs in the university libraries and departments do not have consistent hours. Students who find computer accessibility critical should bring their own laptop. Remember to bring the appropriate adapters and converters. Professors expect papers to be typed.
The Study Center has a computer lab with a wireless Internet connection, providing access to e-mail. You can telnet your UC account while abroad. In addition, there are many places throughout Florence where Internet access is available for a reasonable cost (about €2,50 per hour). Most places offer student discounts. One popular local Internet café is “The Internet Train,” which has multiple locations throughout the city center. Details will be provided after arrival. Internet access is not guaranteed in any housing assignment.
The Dante Internet store is around the corner from the Department of Letters. University of Padova departments allow access to computer labs for e-mail and Internet.
You are advised to have a cell phone while in Italy. Aside from being the most convenient way to communicate, it enables the Study Center staff to reach you at all times. They are particularly useful for emergencies.
In Italy, you can purchase a cell phone without a contract. You can then buy rechargeable phone cards available in amounts ranging from €5 to €150. Different phone company stores are located in all cities. Cell phone prices currently start at approximately €50. Students with unlocked U.S. cell phones can simply purchase an Italian number and SIM card upon arrival in Italy. If you own a smartphone, check with your provider about using it abroad. There may be inexpensive options available. You may want to look into smartphone apps such as Viber and Whatsapp.
Prior to departure, you can obtain an MCI, Sprint, or AT&T international calling card to facilitate communication with the U.S. These cards enable you to connect with an English-speaking operator. Telephone calls made through the Italian phone company generally are more expensive than those made with a calling card. Check the rates for both cell phones and land lines before you purchase.
It is increasingly more expensive to call the U.S. from an Italian cell phone and to call an Italian cell phone from the U.S. When purchasing calling cards in the U.S. and in Italy, it is important to ask for the rates to and from cell phones.
You can call the U.S. from Italy by dialing 001 + area code + phone number.
One of the most popular means of communication is through the Internet. Skype
is one option for phone calls through the Internet. Skype options include computer-to-computer calls (free) and computer-to-phone calls (minimal cost). SkypeOut is a service through which you or your parents can charge your account to make calls to regular landlines and cell phones. You are advised to buy a headset in the U.S., where electronics generally cost less.
is another option for Internet calls offering competitive rates.
Florence pre-ILP students: You may have important letters, packages, and documents sent to the ACCENT/UC Study Center in Florence.
Padova students: Have mail sent to your residence address.
Do not send luggage or large shipments in advance (they must be picked up at the airport). You are responsible for any shipping fees not covered by the sender.
IMPORTANT: Whether you use regular mail or courier services, label packages clearly as follows: “Used Items for Personal Use Only—No Commercial Value.” Make sure the value placed on the contents is assessed low (under $25) to avoid high customs fees (30 percent of the declared value).
All insured packages are assessed import duties in the amount of 30 percent of the insured value. It is important to advise senders to forgo added insurance on packages being sent with a courier service such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, or the U.S. Post Office unless you, the recipient, are prepared to pay the import duties.
Do not have medications mailed to you, including vitamins. Try to take enough medication to last throughout your program.
Receiving food items by mail, including candy, cookies, teas, and spices is also not recommended as food products are subject to Agricultural Inspection which is costly and lengthy (packages containing a very small amount of these items generally arrive without problems provided the sender uses only a generic statement to describe the contents of the package, such as “Birthday present—used clothes—value $15”).
The Study Center will not pay shipping and customs fees for students.
Postage stamps may be purchased at the post office or more commonly at tobacconists where the “T” for tabacchi sign is displayed.
In general, Italian students pay less for their housing accommodations than do UC students. For Italian students, staying in a dormitory is like receiving a fellowship—the government subsidizes a large portion of the cost. UCEAP students will not receive subsidies from the Italian government to stay in the dormitories, so your rent will be slightly higher.
If you have dependents (spouse or children) you must make your own housing arrangements. Explore your options thoroughly before departure from the U.S. Also, consult with UCEAP and contact the Study Center early for information about preliminary arrangements for private housing. University housing for dependents is not available during any portion of any program.
You are required to live in UCEAP-sponsored housing. Read the housing information provided in your online Pre-Departure Checklist and complete the housing preference form. Choose which type of housing you prefer (shared apartment or a homestay). The housing preference form must be returned to ACCENT by the deadline. Your first preference is not guaranteed. All housing placements are final for the entire duration of the program.
You will receive an e-mail 2–4 weeks prior to your departure that will state your housing assignment type. Specific housing details (e.g., room assignments, address, and roommates) will be communicated when you arrive in Florence. Most students will stay in privately owned, shared apartments.
Your specific arrival meeting time and place is provided in the online UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Upon arrival, you will receive detailed information regarding your housing. You will be responsible for your own transportation to your accommodations in Florence. If you arrive before the official arrival date, you will be responsible for arranging your own accommodations until the program starts.
Your pre-ILP housing costs are included in your UCEAP fees. The UCEAP Student Budget, located on the UCEAP website, provides an estimate of the costs. The actual cost of each option is listed in the UCEAP Florence Housing Information sheet included in your online Pre-Departure Checklist. The housing cost on the UCEAP Student Budget is based on rooms in privately owned, shared apartments. If you choose other housing, your UCEAP student account will be adjusted accordingly. Amounts are always listed in euros on the housing information sheet, but you will be billed in U.S. dollars at the applicable exchange rate at the time of billing.
There is a non-refundable housing deposit billed through your UCEAP fees. You will sign an ACCENT housing contract, which is included in the Pre-Departure Checklist. The ACCENT cancellation fees are outlined in the Pre-Departure Checklist and in the UCEAP Student Budget.
TIP: Ask your Campus EAP Office for contact information for University of Padova reciprocity students currently studying on your campus. They may have contacts for housing in Padova, or be interested in sharing an apartment with you.
Q: Where will I live during the ILP? How do I pay for ILP housing?
A: Padova students will live in a dorm during the ILP. Details will be sent to you via e-mail.
Q: Where will I live during the academic term and what will the accommodations be like? How do I obtain housing for the academic term?
A: UCEAP students in Padova may live in university accommodations for the academic semester or year or find an apartment on their own.
For photos of the apartments/residences and to see where the buildings are located, go to the ESU website
Many UC students who attend Padova live in university housing, which is considerably less expensive than private apartments. University of Padova dormitories are located in various areas in the city. The dormitories are divided into apartments, each with five to seven double and single rooms. Your dorm mates will consist of Italian and other international students. Most university apartments include kitchens (cooking utensils provided), a study room, a computer room, a TV room, an exercise room, and washing machines. All apartments have adequate bathroom space and cooking facilities. Blankets and pillows are provided, but plan to buy sheets and towels or bring them from home.
You must electronically submit a housing application to the University of Padova housing office by a specified deadline. Details on how to apply will be sent to you via e-mail.
Dependents (and guests) cannot be housed in university housing during any part of the program.
Q: How do I pay for the academic term housing, and how much will it cost?
A: You are responsible for the cost of room and board for your entire time in Padova. You will receive payment details via e-mail.
If you choose to remain in the dorm the whole year, you will have your housing through the end of July whether or not you decide to leave earlier, which means you have to pay the full amount. If you choose to live in an apartment for the second semester, you must notify the SASSA dorm authority by November 15 that you will be moving for the second semester (this allows the SASSA office to assign that space to another exchange student coming for the second semester). Full payments for first semester are through the end of February.
The cost of a room in a university dorm in Padova or in a private apartment is approximately €350 per month.
Meals are available at student mense (cafeterias) at all Italian universities. Because the government subsidizes educational expenses for board, you will be able to get a midday or evening meal consisting of three courses for about €6. Meals in modest restaurants range from about €12 to €20, while more expensive restaurants run from about €25 to €35 per person. You can eat sandwiches and pizza for about €3 to €3,50 in inexpensive cafés and bars away from the popular tourist areas.
For locations of university cafeterias in Padova, view the ESU website
The mense are closed during the summer months. During the ILP, students will find that there are many markets and grocery stores in the city center, so it will be easy to prepare simple meals. There is also a large array of shops, cafés, and affordable restaurants in the city center.
You will be personally responsible for the cost of your food/ meals during the pre-ILP, ILP, and the regular academic term.
The typical modes of transportation in Florence are walking or taking the bus. You can purchase a monthly bus pass for €35. Make sure you ask for the Abbonamento Mensile (only EU citizens can get the student discounted monthly pass; non-EU citizens are not eligible). You can purchase individual tickets for €1,20 at any Tabacchi
, or a card for 10 rides for €10. Riding the bus without a properly validated ticket is illegal and can incur hefty fines, and also gives Italians a bad impression of foreigners. Remember, we are all ambassadors of our home country as well as guests in Florence.
Walking, bicycling, and taking the bus or tram are the most common and easiest methods of transportation within Padova.
One convenient way to get around in Italian cities is by bike. You can find used bicycles in bicycle repair shops or in announcements posted around the universities and also online. As theft is common, you should purchase a strong lock (U-lock or Kryptonite lock) and chain, and always lock the bike to a permanently fixed structure.
You must have a ticket to ride the bus. Inspectors will occasionally check passengers for tickets, and they will fine you if you do not have a properly validated ticket. Tickets can be purchased on some buses, and they can always be purchased at any tabaccheria and most newsstands.
Depending on the city, a regular bus ticket currently costs €1–1,50. You can purchase a pass for 10 trips at a reduced rate (the cost varies in different cities). In most cities, you can purchase a student bus pass at a discounted rate. Additional, detailed information regarding bus schedules, validating tickets, purchasing tickets, etc., will be given at the on-site orientation when you arrive.
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the community.
Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
Study Center staff has information on cultural and social events, and will send out e-mail bulletins and sometimes arrange activities and excursions for the group during the year.
There are clubs, sponsored activities, and facilities available at the various institutions or in the community, but you need to take initiative to find them. Clubs at the universities of Padova and Bologna sponsor film series throughout the academic year. There are also lecture series on art, contemporary literature, music, and politics; organized trips; and special events.
Each university has a Centro Universitario Sportivo that coordinates sports activities. ESN (Erasmus Student Network) is a cultural activity group for foreign students in Italy run by Italian students who have studied abroad. ESN operates in most Italian cities with universities, and as UCEAP students you can take advantage of a variety of cultural activities, including weekly events in your host city and affordable weekend trips. The ESN card costs approximately €10.
For information see the ESN website for your host city.
Students with Disabilities
Contact the UCEAP Operations Specialist if you need special accommodations. All disability-related information will be treated confidentially. Advance planning is critial. Budget for possible costs of accommodations as you are responsible to pay for them at the time of delivery.
While in Italy, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what is found in the United States. Italy’s narrow cobbled streets and storied monuments can pose an issue for students with physical disabilities. Many Italian sidewalks lack ramps, some Italian streets lack sidewalks altogether, or for instance in the case of Venice, may feature staircases and narrow pedestrian bridges. While some major sights have put time and planning into ensuring accessibility, there are others that lack ramps, elevators, or handicap-accessible bathrooms. Most, but not all, train stations in Italy have accommodations for those traveling in wheelchairs. With advance notice, personal assistance can be provided to a person with a disability traveling through a particular station. More information is available at Trenitalia's website
Professors are more than willing to give extra time for exams and even revise course programs to meet students’ particular needs.
Most parts of the Florence city center have small cobblestones or large paving stones which can be challenging for wheelchair users. Cars may be parked on the sidewalks, which are usually narrow and may not have ramps. Most historical buildings in Florence are exempt from compliance with the Italian Disabilities Act.
The University of Padova has a Disabled Students Office that offers excellent assistance to students with physical or learning disabilities. The University of Padova also has dorms equipped for physically disabled students. Most of the university buildings have full access for wheelchairs and the downtown area of Padova does not present many mobility problems. In general, professors are more than willing to give extra time for exams and even revise course programs to meet a student’s particular needs.
When you leave your host city for more than 24 hours, you must complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account. Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know where to reach you promptly.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
With a study visa, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. Past UCEAP participants have worked as English language teachers, babysitters, and waiters.
Familiarize yourself with the UCEAP Student Travel Policy
, which prohibits travel to places identified by the U.S. Department of State as ones to be avoided for safety reasons.
While travel opportunities may be tempting, do not allow your travels to interfere with coursework or needed study time. Opportunities for travel are plentiful and UCEAP does not wish to discourage you from taking advantage of them. However, it is expected that you will attend all class sessions and adhere to your program’s absentee policy at all times. As stipulated in the UCEAP Student Agreement, you must regularly attend all classes for which you are registered and conform to all applicable rules.
Failure to abide by UCEAP travel guidelines or the Student Agreement is cause for dismissal from the program.
You can use Trenitalia trains to travel throughout Italy. Before boarding, purchase tickets by cash or credit card from automatic machines, ticket agents at the station, or travel agents in the city. You must validate the ticket at a machine in the station before boarding the train. There are fines for traveling without a validated ticket; the amount depends on the length of the trip.
Complete train schedules can be viewed online on the Trenitalia website
. They are also posted at the train station, and hard-copy train schedules (national and international connections) are available at most newspaper stands for approximately €5. You can purchase discounted tickets on the Trenitalia website and in train stations and travel agencies. These are generally limited and must be purchased in advance. See the “Promozioni e Offerte”
section of the Trenitalia website for more information.
You may want to purchase a Carte Verde
card, which entitles all travelers up to 26 years of age to a 10 percent discount on all regular national train tickets and a 25 percent discount on all European train tickets. You can purchase cards for approximately €40 at travel agencies or a Trenitalia ticket office in Italy.
Eurail passes must be purchased in the U.S. (either before departure or by someone in the U.S. once you are abroad).
Before you travel:
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the insurance works on a reimbursement basis. Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies. It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility. You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
You will receive detailed medical information at the orientation meeting upon arrival. In all host cities, there are lists of general practitioners and specialists that are recommended to students.
The standard of medical care in Italy is good, though it may vary in certain cities, especially in more remote areas.
You must pay for health services at the time they are rendered. The UCEAP insurance
will refund eligible expenses after a claim process is started. You can start the process online, by mail, or e-mail. You will need a correctly completed claim form
and attach itemized bills and receipts. Keep copies of all documentation for your records. Reimbursement may take four to six weeks. A refund check in US dollars for eligible covered services will be sent to your address in the U.S.
You cannot get American prescriptions filled in Italy. Italian pharmacies will not dispense drugs without a prescription from a doctor licensed to practice in Italy. Antibiotics will not be dispensed without a prescription from a local doctor.
Shipping Medication from the United States to Italy
Do not have medications shipped to you; they will be confiscated by customs. Under Italian law, the importation of medication into Italy is strictly regulated. Italian customs and health authorities generally clear an incoming shipment of medication only upon presentation of a statement signed by a physician licensed in Italy, certifying:
- that the medication is essential for the patient, in that the patient would be put in a life-threatening situation without the medication, and
- that there is no substitute or equivalent medication available on the Italian market.
Entering Italy with Medication for Personal Use
Travelers entering Italy with medication, except for narcotic drugs, psychotropic and doping substances, are not generally required to abide by any specific Italian regulation. If amounts exceed those sufficient for 30 days of treatment, Italian health and customs authorities request travelers to show a doctor’s prescription and a letter from the prescribing doctor indicating diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
Travelers carrying narcotics drugs for personal medical use must have a medical certificate drawn up by the competent state health authority before departure. Failure to do this, may result in the confiscation of the narcotic drugs by the customs’ authorities.
Most common over-the-counter medications can be obtained at Italian pharmacies. Discuss any medical or health concerns with your doctor before departure. Have a plan in place before departure.
The UCEAP Insurance Plan covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Contact the local Florence staff for referrals and guidance to complete a claim form for a refund.
The University of Padova offers mental health counseling and assistance through a program administered by the Department of Psychology and the University Hospital. The Study Center staff can also assist in finding an English-speaking doctor.
Specific safety issues and tips, such as which areas of your host city to avoid, will be covered in your orientation after you arrive in Italy.
It is recommended that you purchase a cell phone for use abroad, especially for emergencies. (Refer to the Communications Abroad chapter in this guide). The Study Center has an emergency plan for locating all students if necessary. Update your local contact information in MyEAP so UCEAP can reach you in case of an emergency.
There are strategies you can practice anywhere in the world to minimize your risks. Personal safety starts with awareness. To be alert to potential dangers and risks to your well-being, you need to know what is going on in your immediate environment. The choices you make about behavior, attire, travel, personal property, relationships, etc., can directly influence your exposure to risk. Follow your instincts. If a situation is uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation. Carry official ID and a charged cell phone with you at all times. Follow safety advice carefully.
Information on Italian Criminal Laws and Procedures
While in Italy, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. A fundamental principle of Italian law is that neither an Italian citizen nor a foreigner can plead ignorance of the law as an excuse for not complying with the law. It is important that you inform yourself before arriving in Italy.
Most street crime in Italy involves purse snatching and pick-pocketing. Purses are either outright grabbed, or straps are slashed by a person on foot or, more commonly, by a person on a motor scooter. In some cases, the intended victim is hit with an unsavory liquid, and during the confusion that follows, the purse, luggage, or other valuables are taken. After the purse is snatched, the criminal either runs up a side street or to a motor scooter that is waiting with a driver.
Well-organized pickpocket rings are a continual problem in Italy. Generally, pickpockets work in small groups of two or three individuals.
- Common sense is key to staying safe and avoiding theft.
- Take the usual precautions against petty street crime at crowded
- Stay alert at all times, always pay attention to your surroundings.
- Never walk alone at night.
- Never carry your wallet or other valuables in the outside or back pocket of your backpack or clothes, and never leave your personal belongings unattended.
- Be especially careful in crowded areas and on buses and trains.
- Make a copy of the first page of your passport to use as a form of ID; leave your actual passport safe in your room. In case your passport is lost or stolen, immediately notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, local authorities, and the Study Center staff.
- You are responsible for all of your belongings both inside and outside of program housing. Lock all windows and doors whenever you leave your housing, regardless of how long you will be gone or how far you will be going. Many thefts occur due to negligence in securing accommodations.
Excessive Drinking & Safety
Most of the safety problems students have experienced while abroad are related to excessive drinking. You are expected to abide by the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.
Excessive drinking increases risks to health and safety. The risk increases as the amount of drinking increases. Drinking excessively will impair your ability to judge situations and make good decisions, which can make you a target for crime. You will be particularly vulnerable to robbery and physical or sexual assault.
Avoid large crowds and demonstrations. Civil and political demonstrations and protests are common throughout Italy and can occur with little notice. Most protests concern governmental actions and foreign policy issues. Left-wing, anti-war, and anti-globalization demonstrations are the most problematic. Authorities have monitored these protests since 2001.
Demonstrations frequently occur at foreign embassies, but foreigners are rarely targeted. Large demonstrations are usually announced ahead of time and are well coordinated. Police may use security measures such as water cannons, batons, tear gas, or rubber bullets to quell violent activity. Demonstrations and strikes can also disrupt public transportation.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Transportation in Italy is generally safe if you use common sense and observe basic precautions. If traveling with bags, keep them in sight at all times. When riding the metro, avoid depositing luggage near doors, as this is the most opportune place for theft, especially when the train is stopped.
A conductor or member of Italy’s railway police (Polizia Ferroviaria) is present on most trains. A member of the railway police is almost always present on long-distance and night trains and greater numbers regularly patrol train stations. Emergency brakes are also available, but a heavy penalty can be levied against someone who unnecessarily stops the train. If you feel threatened, stand next to the emergency call system to indicate that you are prepared to use it if necessary. Consider changing compartments, but only do this if it can be done safely.
Bus travel in Italy is generally very safe with the most common threat being petty theft.
Italy has one of the highest rates of car accident deaths in the European Union. Streets in Italian historic city centers are often narrow, winding, and congested. Motor scooters are very popular, and scooter drivers often see themselves as exempt from rules that apply to automobiles. Pedestrians and drivers should be constantly alert to the possibility of a scooter’s sudden presence. Most vehicle-related deaths and injuries involve collisions between pedestrians/ cyclists and scooters or other vehicles. Be particularly cautious if you rent a scooter. For more information, visit the Association for Safe International Travel at www.asirt.org
As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations.
Traffic is heavy in major cities, and pedestrians are numerous. Sidewalks are sometimes narrow or may be lacking. Motorists may not stop for pedestrians in crossings. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets, even when using a marked crosswalk with a green avanti (“walk”) light illuminated. Traffic lights are limited and often disobeyed, and a different convention of right-of-way is observed.
Be careful and attentive. Sidewalks can be extremely congested and uneven.
Italy is prone to earthquakes and regular seismic events. Milan and most of northern Italy is outside of the main earthquake zones; however, the north does experience strong tremors. Local authorities have well-developed plans to handle seismic events.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S., are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation to purchase Fire Safety Kits and Passport to Safety. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the Fire Safety section of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for life-saving information.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the U.S.
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone number at (805) 893-4762
If you are abroad
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times. There are four phone numbers equivalent to the U.S. 911 in Italy:
Ambulance & Emergency Doctors ..... 118
Fire Department ...............................115
Carabinieri (Military Police) ................112
If you have a health or safety emergency and do not have access to local or UCEAP representative emergency information, contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA, available 24/7:
via Vittorio Veneto 121
00187 Roma, ITALY
Phone: (+39) 06-46741
U.S. Citizen Emergency Services: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (walk-in)
Non-Emergency General Inquiries:
Phone: (+39) 06-4674-2420/2421 between 3 and 5 p.m.
Fax: (+39) 06-4674-2244
U.S. Consulate in Florence
Lungarno Vespucci, 38
Phone: (+39) 055-266-951 (2–4 p.m.)
Fax: (+39) 055-215-550
U.S. Consulate General in Milan
via Principe Amedeo, 2/10
20121 Milano Phone: (+39) 02-290351
U.S. Citizen Emergency Services:
Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.–noon (walk-in)
Phone: (+39) 02-903-5333 (2–4 p.m.)
Fax: (+39) 02-2903-5273
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.