Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hrs
- Summer Quarter
- Winter Quarter
- Fall Semester
- Spring Semester
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.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
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 Staff 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 Center Abroad
The academic program in Florence is overseen by a local Academic Coordinator in consultation with the UCEAP Systemwide Office and a UC faculty advisory committee. Student services and activities are provided by ACCENT (International Consortium for Academic Programs Abroad) in consultation with UCEAP.
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) 055 094 4362
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code ........011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Italy country code................. 39
Florence city code ...............055
Approximate Time Difference
Add 9 hours
This intensive language and culture program is designed especially for the University of California and taught by experienced Italian language instructors. Both language and elective culture classes are structured to include field trips in Florence, written reports, and opportunities for conversation and listening comprehension.
Courses are demanding. Expect to be in the classroom or on required site visits and excursions from three to six hours per day. There will be occasional required events and excursions in the afternoons and evenings. You are expected to attend all field exercises and excursions, which are integral components of the courses.
During the on-site orientation, you will take a placement exam to determine your level of language proficiency. You will then be placed in the appropriate language class. The language course levels correlate roughly with the lower division elementary and intermediate designations at UC.
Summer Quarter Program
You will attend intensive language classes three to four hours per day, Monday through Friday, and a culture class twice a week.
Winter Quarter Program
You will attend intensive language classes three to four hours per day, Monday through Thursday. The culture classes are held twice a week and there are occasional classes on Friday.
Fall and Spring Semester Programs
You will attend intensive language classes three to four hours per day, Monday through Thursday. The culture classes are held twice a week and there are occasional classes on Friday.
Summer program: You are allowed one absence for your culture course and one absence for each of the Italian language levels.
Fall, Winter, and Spring programs: You are allowed two absences for your culture course and one absence for each of the Italian language levels.
You are not allowed to claim more than one absence in a particular Italian language level on the grounds that you have not claimed absences in another level. The policy is one absence per language level.
Excessive Unexcused Absences
You will be required to meet with the Academic Coordinator if the grade penalty for excessive absences results in a projected grade of C or lower for the language class. You will also be required to meet with the Academic Coordinator if it is determined that your absences have a negative impact on other students in the class (e.g. missing class on the day of a planned group presentation, etc.).
When appropriate, the Academic Coordinator will confer with UCEAP on disciplinary measures to take, including probation and dismissal from the program.
Note to Seniors
You are required to take a full-time load of study while in Florence. As a senior, carefully plan with your campus advisor to be sure you will not go over the unit maximum for your campus regulations. Do not plan to apply for graduation during the term immediately following your return from Florence, as grades may take longer to post to your UC transcript than your regular UC campus grades.
Note to Students Registered with their UC Disability Office
If you are registered with the Disability Office at your UC campus, UCEAP very strongly recommends that you submit your accommodations letter to the Systemwide Office prior to departure (it is part of your online Pre-Departure Checklist). This is a fast-paced intensive language program and many students have realized after arrival that they need the accommodations they usually receive at their home campus. It can take 1-3 weeks to get an accommodations letter sent to the Study Center in Florence at which point you may have to take several quizzes without your accommodations. It is better to have the letter on file and not use the accommodations than to find that you are struggling while abroad and try to start the process from there.
Summer Quarter Program
You will enroll in two sequential Italian language courses taught in Italian, and one upper division elective course taught in English.
You will enroll in the following courses:
- 2 consecutive Italian language courses worth 5.0 quarter UC units each.
- 1 culture course worth 4.0 quarter UC units.
You will receive a total of 14 quarter/9.3 semester UC units on the program. If you begin your study of Italian at levels five or six, an advanced Italian language course may be available.
Winter Quarter Program
You will enroll in two sequential Italian language courses taught in Italian, and one upper division elective course taught in English.
You will enroll in the following courses:
- 2 consecutive Italian language courses worth 6.0 quarter UC units each.
- 1 culture course worth 4.5 quarter UC units.
You will receive a total of 16.5 UC quarter units for the program. If you begin your study of Italian at levels five or six, an advanced Italian language course may be available.
Fall and Spring Semester Programs
You will enroll in three sequential Italian language courses taught in Italian, and one upper division elective course taught in English.
You will enroll in the following courses:
- 3 consecutive Italian language courses: 6 quarter/4 semester UC units each.
- 1 upper-division elective culture course: 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units.
You will receive a total of 22.5 UC quarter/15 semester UC units for the program. If you begin your study of Italian at levels five or six, an advanced Italian language course may be available.
During the fall semester, the culture course will run for the full 15 weeks of the program.
During the spring semester, the culture course will be completed within the first 10 weeks. During the last 5 weeks, during which you will begin your third level of Italian, you will have the option of doing a directed study worth 2 UC quarter units (1.3 semester units). The directed study will meet for one hour per week and you will complete a research project that expands on one of the elective courses taught on the program. The instructor for the directed study will work with you on developing an appropriate research topic. A minimum enrollment of five students is required for the directed study to be offered.
Pass/No Pass Policy For All Programs
You may choose to take either your culture courses for P/NP or your final language course for P/NP.
Most campus departments prohibit the P/NP grading option for any course in the major. It is your responsibility to be aware of your UC campus and department regulations, restrictions, or limitations regarding P/NP, and to plan coursework accordingly.
For more information on this policy, see the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
The following courses have been offered in recent quarters/semesters. Once the course list is confirmed for your term, course descriptions will be available on the UC Florence Study Center
website. Courses are subject to change without notice.
Elective Culture Courses
- Genius and Innovation in Renaissance Art
- Unity in Diversity: The Definition of Italian Identity Through Food
- Entrepreneurship -- The Italian Way
- Made in Italy -- Marketing the Italian Style
Extended Course descriptions for the Italian Culture Courses can be found here.
Italian Language Courses
The language courses focus on oral and written comprehension, grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. All courses emphasize practice in speaking, reading and writing with individual and group oral presentations, role-plays, interviews with locals, and weekly written assignments. Local periodicals and other reading materials are used as the basis for several short papers during the term. Depending on the program, you will complete up to three UC quarter levels of Italian language instruction.
All courses use the city of Florence to provide opportunities for interaction and enhancement of language skills, as well as immersion in Italian culture.
Due to the sequential nature of this program, you need to make satisfactory progress in your language classes and obtain a passing grade (D or above) in each language level in order to advance to the following. If at any moment during each level your language instructor determines that you are at risk of not passing the class, you will be required to meet with the Academic Coordinator to discuss progress and conditions of continuation. For example, you may be required to attend daily language tutorial sessions, either individually or in small groups, and to complete extra homework. If you fail to make sufficient progress and obtain a passing grade in your language courses, you may be subject to dismissal from the program.
Language tutorials are open and available to all students on the program and many students have found these tutorial sessions valuable to their learning progress.
Extended course descriptions for the Italian Language Courses can be found here.
You will register for your culture course prior to departure. The Academic Coordinator in Florence will send you an e-mail with instructions on how to complete your course registration. Note that course registration is on a first-come first-served basis.
Grades are typically available according to the following timeline:
Summer Quarter- mid-September
Fall Semester- late January
Winter Quarter- late April
Spring Semester- late May
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Internship opportunities may be available for interested students on the fall/spring semester programs. See the Internship Tab
on the Our Programs page and the Extracurricular Activities
section of this guide for more information.
If you participate in an internship in Florence it will be in addition to your regular courses, you cannot replace a course with an internship. Most internships are done without assigned units or a grade. If you would like to receive credit for an internship you will need to consult with the study center staff and the UCEAP Systemwide Office. Credit will be issued on a case-by-case basis.
Extending UCEAP Participation
You are encouraged to use the Florence language program to prepare for other UCEAP programs. You may extend to another UCEAP program in Italy only if you have met the requirements for that program and have the approval of the Academic Coordinator in Florence.
Options for Summer Students
If you would like to attend either a fall or year program after the summer program in Florence, apply to both programs and obtain the appropriate visa before departing the U.S. A visa is not needed to study in Italy for less than 90 days (Florence summer), but if you plan to participate in another Italy program in the fall or year, you will need one visa for both programs.
Options for Fall Students
You may extend to a subsequent program in Italy by meeting with the Academic Coordinator and submitting the Request for Final Approval to Extend (RFA) form or the Petition to Extend form before the November 1 deadline. The Academic Coordinator will determine the level of language competency obtained during the Florence program. In order to expedite the fall to spring extension process, complete the Departmental/College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form while still on your home UC campus. If you meet all program requirements and the extension is approved, you will need to work with the appropriate Italy Study Center in order to extend your residence permit, obtain host institution registration documents, and set up housing for the spring term.
Once your extension has been approved, notification will be sent to 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
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet
are excellent resources.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. It is an exciting time to travel to Italy, and the more prepared you are, the more rewarding your experience will be. You can also check out the ACCENT Florence
Facebook page for up-to-date help on places to see and things to do in Florence.
Another recommended website is The Florentine, a bi-weekly English newspaper providing national and local news, sports, and local events.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory (UCEAP Student Agreement). If you miss the orientations, you may be dismissed from UCEAP.
The program begins with a mandatory orientation, during which you will learn importatnt information about academic, logicstic and cultural aspects of your stay in Florence. This introduction to life and study in Florence will help you adjust quickly to the new city and culture surrounding you. A walking tour of the city center will be included to acquaint you with the area.
The specific arrival date, time and meeting place for the orientation are listed in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Bring your passport and residence permit papers in order to complete the check-in.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. 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.
Be sure to note the start date and time before puchasing an airline ticket!
You must make and pay for your own travel arrangements—even if you are on financial aid. The Financial Aid Office is not responsible for purchasing tickets. You are strongly urged to purchase changeable roundtrip airline tickets.
Detailed arrival information, including Study Center contact information and directions to Florence are provided in the Arrival Information Sheet in the online UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist (PDC). Carry this information with you to Italy.
You are responsible for arriving at the specified meeting location in Florence on the required date and time for the official start of the program. The Official Start Date is provided in the program calendar on the UCEAP website. Students who fail to appear on the Official Start Date are subject to dismissal from the program (per the UCEAP Student Agreement).
The start date and calendar of a 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 incurred for independent travel arrangements.
Provide your flight itinerary to ACCENT by the deadline indicated in the Pre-Departure Checklist. Inform ACCENT of any changes to your itinerary thereafter.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program 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.
Keep copies of all the forms you submit to the Italian consulate for your records!
Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and in the UCEAP online Pre-Departure Checklist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Summer and Winter quarter-only students are not required to obtain a visa. However, if you are planning to participate in another program in Italy prior to or immediately following one of these programs, you will need to obtain a visa for the full period you will be studying in Italy.
Students participating in the fall or spring semester program must obtain a student visa in the U.S. prior to departure.
To apply for the visa:
- Determine the Italian consulate for your campus (listed in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist)
- Collect the documents listed in the visa instructions of the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
- Submit the required documents, along with your passport, by the deadline indicated.
- The requirements and instructions are different for the Los Angeles and San Francisco consulates.
Use the visa instructions and sample application in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Note that there are specific instructions for different campuses. Read the visa instructions carefully; they are detailed and it is important that you follow them precisely; if you fail to do so you may not receive a visa. To avoid delays (and last minute panic) apply as early as possible for your visa.
If you are an EU citizen, you do not need a visa or a residence permit, but you will be required to register with the local authorities. Study Center staff will help you with this procedure.
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. that is valid for at least 90 days past the end date of your program. You will also need to provide proof of your return flight to the U.S.
Note: 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.
Travel Before or After Your Program
If you are required to obtain a visa for your program, you must submit your actual passport to the consulate 60-90 days prior to the start date of your program. (See your Pre-Departure Checklist for specific dates.) 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. If you are a U.S. citizen, you may travel in Europe for up to 90 days total before and/or after the validity date of your visa.
Non-U.S. citizens must check for their own requirements.
Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno)
The residence permit cost is approximately €120; you will need to pay this in cash (euros) when you apply.
After your arrival in Florence, the Study Center staff will help you obtain a residence permit for foreigners (permesso di soggiorno). You must provide the local authorities with specific documents, including certificates of financial guarantee. Refer to the Pre-Departure Checklist for specific requirements. You must have all of these documents ready to submit upon your arrival in Florence. You will pay approximately €118 in cash when you apply for a residence permit.
The permesso di soggiorno is required for legal residence in Italy. Failure to secure the permesso di soggiorno will result in deportation. Neither ACCENT nor UCEAP will refund any fees paid for the program in this case, and no academic credit will be awarded.
*Summer and winter quarter students will not need a permesso di soggiorno, but will submit a “Declaration of Presence.” The Study Center staff will assist you with this.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Always personally carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, residence permit papers and money when traveling. Never put valuables is your checked luggage!
Luggage restrictions vary from airline to airline. Most carriers charge exorbitant fees for excess luggage or weight. Contact your airline for detailed information.
Identify each item of luggage on both the outside and inside with your name, home address, and address abroad. To avoid theft, never leave luggage unattended while traveling.
Consider purchasing a TSA-approved lock for your checked luggage. You can find information about these on the Transportation Security Administration website at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Clothing that can be layered
- Prescription medication (for information on taking prescription medication abroad, see the Health chapter of this guide)
- Residence permit documents (semester students only)
- Voltage converter and plug adapter (see Electrical Appliances below)
- English/Italian dictionary
- Audio recording device
- Dressy outfit for formal occasions
- Vitamins (they are expensive in Italy)
- Familiar medical supplies for ailments such as sore throats, colds, and upset stomach
- Any sports attire you may need
- Mosquito repellent for the warmer months
Clothing in Italy generally is more expensive than in California, but there are many open-air markets in Florence where you can find good deals. Italians tend to dress up more than most Americans; you may want to keep up with new styles and purchase clothes while you are in Italy. The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for the purchase of clothing abroad.
Take clothing that is easy to care for, preferably clothes that can easily be drip-dried. All housing options are equipped with washing machines, but dryers are rare in Italy, so be prepared to hang-dry all of your clothes.
The voltage in Europe is 220–240 rather than the standard U.S. 110 volts, and the electrical outlets are different from those in the U.S. Some U.S. electrical devices will run on either voltage; others will require a converter to change the voltage from the European standard to U.S. standard. A plug adapter is needed to fit U.S. plugs into European outlets. All electrical appliances provide information about their voltage, usually on a label attached to or near the appliance cord. If your appliance indicates 110–240, you will only need a plug adapter in Italy. If it indicates only 110, you will need a voltage converter.
Converters do not work with hair dryers, alarm clocks, or electric razors. Consider purchasing these items when you arrive in Italy as they are inexpensive. Laptop computers require a plug adapter only; do not use a voltage converter with your laptop.
Because the cost of electricity abroad is high and improper use of appliances may damage both the electrical outlets and the appliances, it is a good policy to ask before using outlets.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance
policy offers limited personal property coverage. Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
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
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- 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 Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program 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 Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule 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.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
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 €300-400) prior to departure to cover the first few days in Italy. This will cover your residence permit* (€120), food, and other incidentals. You should also carry a small amount of money in U.S. dollars (about $50) for use while traveling.
*Residence permits are NOT required for students participating in quarter-only programs.
Be advised that you cannot use American checks in Italy. The best method to receive funds from the U.S. it to have them deposited into a U.S. bank account and then withdraw funds in Italy with an ATM card. International money orders and Western Union are also options, but these are more costly and complicated.
Opening an account in an Italian bank is difficult. Students rely mostly on their ATM cards to access their U.S. bank accounts. However, some banks offer online accounts for students at competitive rates. Options used by students recently include N26 and BuddyBank.
Personal checks are seldom used in Italy and are never sent through the mail. Bills are paid online or in cash at the post office.
Exchanging Money After Arrival
You cannot exchange foreign currency at an Italian bank without an account there. You can use foreign currency exchange offices at airports and some railroad stations. 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.
Recently students have been reporting that they have had good experience using a debit/ATM card from Charles Schwab. They have an account that has no minimum balance and does not charge ATM fees. We have also heard good reports about Capital One. Do your own research and shop around.
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.
You are strongly encouraged to 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.
Many businesses in Europe now accept only credit cards that have a chip embedded in them. Ask your credit card company if they will issue a card with a chip.
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.
Travelers Checks are discouraged; American Express has closed all locations in Florence and banks will not accept them.
Recently there has been a high occurance of ATM cards being cloned in Florence. This will be covered during your onsite orientation, and you will be given the names of banks and ATMs to avoid.
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.
UCEAP strongly recommends that you bring your laptop, especially if it is enabled for wireless access. Make sure you have the right type of adapters/converters. There are wireless connections available in the Study Center as well as many of the classrooms. In most housing situations it is not possible to connect laptop computers to the Internet unless you purchase an Internet Key from one of the communications providers. These are available for a reasonable fee.
You may want to consider buying Lojack for Laptops
and/or a laptop lock.
Do not ship your laptop to Italy. Your laptop may be held for inspection by customs officials and customs fees are costly, even for older laptops.
You can call the U.S. from Italy by dialing 001 + area code + phone number.
You are strongly advised to have a cell phone while studying abroad. Aside from being the most convenient way to communicate, they are particularly useful for emergencies.
You can purchase a cell phone either from a returning Italy student at your campus or after arriving in Italy, and then may be sold after the term to future Italy students at home. Cell phones from the U.S. are costly to operate abroad unless they are capable of using an Italian SIM card. If you already own a smartphone, check with your provider about using it abroad. There may be inexpensive options available. There are apps available for smartphones that enable very cheap or even free communication such as WhatsApp
, Google Hangouts
. (Read all information and contracts before signing up for any apps.)
and Google Voice
are good options for Internet calls offering competitive rates.
During your on-site orientation, you will receive detailed information about the various ways to call home, recommended phone cards and buying a cell phone in Italy.
Pay phones are located throughout the city. Most of the pay phones in Florence work on a phone card system. Prepaid Italian phone cards (scheda telefonica) are available at the post office, tobacco shops (tabacchi), and cafés. Phone cards can be economical, giving callers to U.S. landlines up to 500 minutes for €5. Note that international calling cards purchased in the U.S. are the most expensive way to call home, and students often find that they do not work. The calling cards purchased in Italy are less expensive and more effective. The “Europa” and “USA” cards tend to have the best rates for calling the U.S. and are available at most newsstands and tobacco shops. A card from a long distance provider such as AT&T, MCI or Sprint will allow calls to be billed to your home phone account.
Mail service to Italy can take as long as one month.
Use DHL or FedEx to send packages to Italy because regular express mail delivery is not guaranteed outside the U.S. Keep in mind that a Value Added Tax (VAT) of at least 20 percent will be charged upon arrival if the package is declared with a value (insured packages, new merchandise, etc.). It is preferable not to have packages—especially electronics—sent to you in Italy because of delays and fees. When in doubt, ask the Study Center staff for assistance.
Do not have medications mailed to you, including vitamins. They will be held at customs, and you may be fined.
Postage stamps may be purchased at the post office or more commonly at tobacconists where the “T” for tabacchi sign is displayed. Telegrams can be sent from any post office.
You may have important letters, packages, and documents sent to the ACCENT/ UC Study Center in Florence. Address them as follows:
c/o ACCENT/UC Florence Study Center
Piazza Santo Spirito, 10
50125 Florence, Italy
The Study Center will not pay shipping or customs fees for students.
Privately owned apartments vary in size and layout and are located throughout Florence. Apartments have a combination of single, double and triple bedrooms (4–7 people on average). Each bedroom is furnished with beds, a closet or armoire, sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. Kitchen facilities include a stove, refrigerator, cooking utensils, and dishes. Kitchen and bathroom facilities are shared by everyone in the apartment. All of the student apartments are located in and around the center of Florence, within a 30- to 40-minute walk or bus ride from the Study Center.
Living with an Italian family is an excellent way of absorbing Italian language and culture; it is an opportunity designed to enrich your stay. The homestay experience allows you direct contact with all aspects of Italian society.
Florentine hosts are carefully screened by ACCENT and are not necessarily traditional families, but may be single parents, retirees, or widows. Students are placed in a single room in homes within the Florence city limits, with commutes to classes of approximately 30 to 45 minutes by foot or public transportation.
In the homestay, you will be entitled to do one load of laundry per week. A normal load is considered to be approximately 5 kilos (11 pounds). Wireless Internet is not provided or available in the homestay, but you may rent a USB Internet access key to be used at your own expense.
Transportation To and From Housing
Depending on the location of your housing you may need to purchase a bus pass. Monthly bus passes cost approximately 35 euros; this is included in the student budget. You will learn more about this transportation during the on-site orientation.
Applying for Housing
You are required to live in UCEAP-sponsored housing. Detailed housing information is provided in your online Pre-Departure Checklist. Read the housing information and complete the housing preference form. You will 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. Read the housing descriptions and list your choices in order of preference. Ask questions if there is something that you do not understand. If you do not submit your housing preference form by the deadline, you will be assigned a place in whichever housing option remains available.
You will receive an e-mail 2–4 weeks prior to your departure that will state your housing assignment. 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.
Upon arrival in Florence, you will receive detailed information regarding your housing. You will be responsible for your own transportation to your accommodations. If you arrive before the official arrival date, you will be responsible for arranging your own accommodations until the program starts.
Paying for Housing
Your 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 (PDC). The housing cost in 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. Your UCEAP account will be charged the entire cost of your rent, regardless of your housing option. 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 as well as the UCEAP Student Budget.
Overnight guests are prohibited by Italian law. The ACCENT staff can provide information about hostels and hotels in the area for visitors. You may have visitors to your apartment but they are not allowed to stay after midnight. Disciplinary action, which may include dismissal from UCEAP, will be taken if you are found to have guests in your apartment after midnight. Please note that all occupants in an apartment are held responsible if one roommate hosts a guest after midnight.
Living in a centuries-old city is a memorable experience for visitors to Italy, but with the beauty and history there is a small price to pay; you will not have all the conveniences of a UC campus. Although the Florence Study Center is well equipped, you may need to be more flexible and patient, particularly with regard to computer availability. Apartments may not have elevators, so be prepared to get some exercise on the stairs.
Meals in modest restaurants range from about €19 to €30, while meals in reasonably good restaurants run from about €30 to €50 per person. Food expenses are generally higher in Italy than they are in California. Many students get together to prepare meals at home.
If you live in a homestay, you will receive breakfast daily and dinner four nights a week. Use of the stovetop and oven will not be allowed. You will have space to store food in the refrigerator and you will be allowed to use small appliances such as a toaster, kettle, and microwave oven.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Getting around Florence can be confusing at first, but don’t worry; it will eventually become second nature. Just remember to find a reference point in the city (like the Duomo) so you can always orient yourself. It’s also okay to get lost on occasion (if time permits) because finding your way around the city is one of the best ways to learn about it.
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.
For more information regarding scheduling and rates for local bus transportation, go to www.ataf.net
Travel throughout Italy
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. 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.
Sign up free of charge for Trenitalia's loyalty card, CartaFRECCIA, which allows access to additional discounted tickets. CartaFRECCIA holders under 30 years old have access to additional discounts via CartaFRECCIA Young.
is a train company that also offers good rates on high-speed trains between larger cities.
It is recommended that rail passes be purchased in the U.S. before departure, although it is possible to have them delivered overseas to to purchase them at some train stations abroad. Visit the Eurail
websites for more information.
The Touring Club Italiano (TCI) publishes good Italian travel guides. These books summarize the geography and history of each area and provide the locations and details about important monuments. They include good maps and bibliographies. Other recommended guides are Blue Guides to Rome, South Italy, North Italy, Florence, and Venice. The UC/ACCENT Study Center also has guidebooks for loan.
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.
The ACCENT/UC Study Center offers several student-oriented activities to get you involved in the community.
In Florence you will have a very unique experience thanks to its rich cultural and artistic history. The peak of its glory was in the Renaissance, which has spilled over into today, and it is evident in the architecture and artwork that surrounds you. This is an ideal setting to learn in—both inside and outside the classroom.
There are clubs, sponsored activities, and various facilities available in the community, but you must take the initiative to find them. There are many museums that highlight different mediums, including art, history, science, and even shoes! Living and learning in Florence is a very hands-on experience; one you’re not likely to forget!
Students with Disabilities
Contact the UCEAP Operations Specialist if you need special accommodations. All disability-related information is treated confidentially. Plan and budget for possible costs of accommodations as you are responsible to pay for them at the time of delivery.
Italy has narrow cobbled streets and storied monuments. Many sidewalks lack ramps, or sidewalks altogether. In the case of Venice, walkways feature staircases and narrow pedestrian bridges. Some major sights are accessible. Others lack ramps, elevators, or accessible bathrooms. Most train stations 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
If needed, tutors are available in Florence. Professors are willing to give extra time for exams and will assist students in every way possible.
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. Medieval and most historical buildings in Florence are exempt from compliance with the Italian Disabilities Act.
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the ACCENT Travel Sign-out.
You will be given detailed instructions for this during your on-site orientation.
During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP and ACCENT officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Urban centers such as Rome, Bologna, and Florence are generally tolerant of LGBT individuals. Students may face isolated incidents of discrimination throughout the country, particularly in more conservative, rural areas. Smaller communities may be less welcoming, and residents may be more likely to articulate their disapproval.
Students may face social discrimination in a variety of situations. Students living with host-families should exercise discretion, as acceptance of LGBT persons may vary from family to family.
With its minimal protections or laws supporting its LGBT community, Italy’s legal situation is very similar to many states in the US. There are openly LGBT persons active in Italy’s political system.
For more information,
Working Abroad & Volunteer Opportunities
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.
You are strongly encouraged to get actively involved in the community, get to know locals, and practice your Italian through volunteer activities. The ACCENT/UC Florence Study Center has established opportunities for you to engage in a “service learning” project. You can learn while contributing to the local community. It may be possible to turn one of these activities into an internship. Most students in Florence do not receive academic credit for their internships.
The following are some of the opportunities available.
- catalogue original documents from the Medici era with the Medici Archive Project at the Archivio di Stato
- assist with the photographic archive for the neighborhood association Il Cortile
- support event planning and live performance recordings with the Accademia della Musica in Sesto Fiorentino
- assist with the care, preservation and restoration of beauty in Florence with Il Quadrifoglio and Angeli del bello
- work on immigration and cultural integration with Cospe
- work with local associations for after-school educational activities with teens
- serve meals in a soup kitchen
- help to organize a food bank or a “charity market”
- teach English language and culture to schoolchildren
- assist in feline colonies in the city
If you are sick or injured, you must pay for health services at the time they are rendered. You can process a refund online through the UCEAP claims process. Ask the local staff. Reimbursement may take from four to six weeks from receipt of your correctly completed claim form and supporting documentation.
Know Before You Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. 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.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process
or about non-medical claims
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 (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). 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.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status
Contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The standard of medical care in Italy is good, though it may vary in certain cities and in more remote areas.
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. If you are sick or injured, you can ask local staff for help in making an appointment. You must pay for health services at the time they are rendered.
The UCEAP travel 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 itemized bills and receipts. Keep copies of all documentation for your records. Reimbursement payable by check in US dollars may take four to six weeks.
Know Before You Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
If you feel sick, are injured, or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. The Study Center can recommend clinics and English-speaking general practitioners and specialists, assist with the UCEAP travel insurance reimbursement claim process, and help you make arrangements with your professors if an extended absence is expected. In an emergency, go to the emergency room at the local hospital.
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.
Most common over-the-counter medications can be obtained at Italian pharmacies. Discuss any medical or health concerns with your doctor before departure.
- While on UCEAP you are covered by the UCEAP travel insurance. Inform yourself, UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing physician explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it.
- If you need to find out if an appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at email@example.com. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal or unlicensed in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
TRAVELING WITH PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
- Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is a liquid, consult the US Transportation Security Administration, Traveling with Medications.
- Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary?
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
Consult with ACI about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage for prescriptions, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.
If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen, so a local physician can assess your needs.
Consider the country where you will be living and studying. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition?
If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, may be problematic, along with narcotics. What substances are prohibited in any given country varies. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
- Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
- The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy 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. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
- Research the local cuisine. Pesto may contain tree nuts and milk.
- Learn the word for your food allergy in Italian. Write your allergy on an index card in both English and Italian.
- Discuss the risks with your doctor six to eight weeks before departure.
- Carry symptom-reducing medications at all times, including epinephrine. Pack it in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Your medication must be in its original packaging, with your name.
- Have a letter from your physician to present to airport security that states your need to have the epinephrine auto injector with you at all times.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance in both English and Italian.
Prepare yourself before departure. Read about the country and city where you will study and live. Specific safety issues and tips, such as which areas of the city to avoid, will be covered in your on-site orientation.
Purchase a cell phone with a local plan, especially for emergencies when you need immediate help. 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.
Personal safety starts with awareness. 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 Italian laws. 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.
Arrest notifications in Italy
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest US embassy or consulate if a US citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request calmly and politely that the police and prison officials notify the nearest US embassy or consulate if you are arrested or detained.
The US Embassy website
provides information about what to do if detained or arrested in Italy.
Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
- Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
- Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
- Assess your surroundings. Observe and learn to recognize danger.
- Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your feelings; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
- Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
- When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
- Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
- Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety. This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other. Choose your buddy wisely. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
- Have a communication plan. Who will you call locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate
Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider
You will be automatically registered with iJET International, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Safety issues will be discussed in your orientation after you arrive in Florence.
In case of an emergency (personal medical emergency, political unrest, etc.), it is important that you are prepared and that you communicate immediately with the ACCENT staff and follow all advice you receive.
The crime rate in Florence is low, but petty crime can occur. Take normal precautions against petty street crime at crowded tourist sites (Ponte Vecchio, major squares, cathedrals, Uffizi Gallery), open markets (Parcellino, San Lorenzo), major train stations (Santa Maria Novella), and on public buses. Avoid public parks and gardens at night, especially Cascine.
- Never carry your valuables in the outside or back pocket of your backpack or clothes, and never leave your personal belongings unattended.
- Be especially careful in crowded tourist areas, and on buses and trains. Purse snatchers have been known to slash purse shoulder straps. Thieves often work in pairs. One distracts while the other pickpockets. Carry a copy of the first page of your passport to use as a form of ID, and leave your actual passport safe in your room. In case your passport is lost or stolen, immediately notify the nearest US embassy or consulate, local authorities, and the ACCENT staff.
- Lock all windows and doors whenever you leave your housing, regardless of how long you will be away. Many thefts have occurred due to negligence in securing accommodations.
- Check restaurant and bar bills carefully. Foreigners are sometimes overcharged. Always request a menu to review prices.
- Protect yourself against credit card fraud. Closely monitor your account for unauthorized transactions.
- There has been a high occurance of ATM cards being cloned in Florence. This is covered during your onsite orientation, and you will be given the names of banks and ATMs to avoid.
The police forces in Florence are well trained and have adequate resources to offer good assistance. Response times are efficient in most areas of the city.
Avoid 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. 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.
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.
Bus travel in Italy is generally very safe with the most common threat being petty theft. Pay close attention to your belongings.
Obey local transportation laws and regulations
Purchase train tickets and validate them by inserting them into validating machines, which are usually located near the entrance of train tracks, prior to boarding. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an on-the-spot fine by an inspector on the train. You must purchase bus tickets prior to boarding and validate them immediately after boarding. Tickets may be purchased at tobacco stores, street kiosks and automatic vending machines. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an immediate fine imposed by an inspector on the bus. If the violator does not pay the fine on the spot, the fine will automatically double and will be forwarded to the violator’s home address.
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. UCEAP strongly discourages operating any kind of motorized vehicle. While in Italy, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. For more information, visit the Association for Safe International Travel
Make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations.
Be careful and attentive. Traffic is heavy in major cities, and pedestrians are numerous. Sidewalks are sometimes narrow, congested, uneven, or nonexistent. Motorists may not stop for pedestrians in crossings. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets. Cross only when using a marked crosswalk with a green avanti (“walk”) light illuminated. Traffic lights are limited and often disobeyed.
Excessive Drinking & Safety
Most of the safety problems students have experienced while abroad involve excessive drinking. You are expected to abide by the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy
Drinking alcoholic beverages significantly increases your health and safety risks. The risk increases as the amount of drinking increases. Drinking excessively will impair your ability to judge situations and made good decisions, which can make you a target for crime. You will be particularly vulnerable to robbery and physical and sexual assault.
If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Criminals will target vulnerable individuals whose judgment is impaired by intoxication.
- Always watch your beverage. Instances of drink spiking have been reported.
- Do not leave drinks unattended. Drugs can easily be mixed into drinks when unattended. These drugs can disorient you, dramatically impair your judgment, or cause you to lose consciousness. Once you lose sight of your drink, do not continue drinking.
Italy is prone to earthquakes and regular seismic events. While Milan and most of northern Italy is outside of the main earthquake zones, the north does experience strong tremors. Local authorities have well-developed plans to handle seismic events.
Most college-related fires in the US 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. 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 UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
Fire - Dial 115
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
University of California Policy
Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local partners and/or UCEAP staff if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
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 US
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
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 and Emergency Doctors ........ 118
Fire Department .....................................115
Carabinieri (Military Police) .....................112
US Consulate in Florence
Lungarno Vespucci, 38
50123 Florence, ITALY
Phone: (+39) 055-266-951 (2–4 p.m.)
Fax: (+39) 055-215-550
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.