Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hours
- Spring Quarter
- Spring Semester
- Spring Semester with Internship
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.
Bookmark your Participants
program page; it contains vital resources and requirements you need to know before you go abroad, including the Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets and Payment Vouchers, and Policies.
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
Study Centers Abroad
The academic programs in Madrid and Rome are overseen by local personnel 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 collaboration with UCEAP.
ACCENT/UC Madrid Study Center
Paseo General Martinez Campos, 42 Local 4
28010 Madrid, Spain
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011 34) 91 308 59 79
Phone (calling from Spain): 91 308 59 79
Fax (from the U.S.): (011 34) 91 308-6348
ACCENT/UC Rome Study Center
piazza dell’Orologio, 7
00186 Rome, Italy
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011 39) 06 97 99 86 73
Phone (calling from Italy): 06 97 99 86 73
Fax (from the U.S.): (011 39) 06 97 99 86 82
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code: 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Italy country code: 39
Rome city code: 06
Spain country code: 34
Madrid city code: 91
Approximate Time Difference
Add 9 hours
This program will introduce you to the social and political changes that have transformed Spain and Italy in recent decades while examining the current challenges facing both countries as a result of the fiscal crisis in Europe. The 10-week quarter program will be divided into two modules and you will spend five weeks in each city. If you are on the semester with internship program you will take the same courses as students in the quarter program with the addition of an internship course and an internship that will start during your second module. Students on the semester program will take two courses in each of the program's five-week segments.
Your program courses will be taught by local instructors and coursework will be supplemented as appropriate by visits to social, government, and non-government organizations, schools, neighborhoods, museums, and media production centers.
Both UCEAP and ACCENT administration consider attendance and punctuality at all classes mandatory. All UCEAP courses abroad operate under an attendance policy created bythe UC Faculty Advisory Committee that oversees the program. The attendance policy stipulates that:
- The class register is the official record of student attendance. It is the student’s responsibility to sign the attendance register personally at the beginning of class with her/his full name (no initials). Students are forbidden from signing in for anyone else or altering the register in anyway.
- If a student misses any portion of a class, she or he may be marked as absent or late, upon the faculty member’s discretion.Three tardies automatically convert to an absence.
- Students are allowed a total of one absence during the program. Each absence beyond the limit will result in a deduction of 3% points from the student’s raw total.
- An absence occurring on a day a quiz or exam is scheduled or an assignment is due will result in a zero for that quiz/exam or assignment. Make-ups are permitted on a case-by-case basis for medical reasons and/or unavoidable emergencies. Pertinent documentation must be provided.
Be aware that last minute changes may arise in the class schedules due to unforeseen circumstances
You will receive information on how to register for classes online by email. Be sure to check the account listed in your MyEAP record and register by the specified deadline. There is a comment section where you can express any particular enrollment needs that should be considered for your course assignment.
European Transformations (Quarter)
Students with the equivalent of one year of the university instruction in the local language may test out of the City course to take an additional core course, but this is not encouraged given the amount of work included in the core courses.
Courses may apply toward GE/breadth, major, or minor requirements with the approval of individual UC departments and colleges. The Study Center does not determine the applicability of its courses to your particular set of major, minor, or general education requirements; this is determined by your UC campus.
All core courses are upper division. The coursework is rigorous; be prepared for an academically challenging term. All courses may involve writing research papers in English as well as regularly scheduled quizzes and final exams and other assignments, e.g., response papers, analytical essays, oral presentations, etc.
Classes are held Monday through Thursday with some required activities on weekends. There may be some make-up classes scheduled on Fridays due to local national holidays. You are required to attend these make-up sessions. Do not make weekend travel plans until after you arrive and learn what classes you will be taking. Occasionally, site visits are scheduled for Fridays, sometimes even on weekends.
See course descriptions below.
- You will take two courses at each location, the City course for 3.0 UC quarter/2.0 semester units, and a core course instructed in English for 4.5 quarter/3.0 semester units.
- One course may be selected for pass/no pass credit.
See course descriptions below.
European Transformations (Semester)
- You will take a core course and a City course in each of the program's five-week segments. In the second city where you will spend 10 weeks, the City course extends through the 10 weeks.
- You will take a different core course in each five-week segment.
- You may take up to two courses for pass/no pass credit, but only one pass/no pass ccourse in any 5-week session.
The description for the core course for the final five weeks in Madrid only is listed below:
- Beyond Tradition and Modernity: Spain’s Sexual Revolution
(History, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies)
Spain has lived many important transformations over the last decades in the conceptions of sexuality and gender. This course will look at these transformations while trying to understand where these changes come from and why they have taken place. The course will begin with some theoretical foundations about the sex-gender system in Spain the influence of Franco’s dictatorship and the transition to democracy in today’s Spanish conceptions of sex, gender, and sexuality. Students will study how the Spanish family has changed in order to understand the importance family has had, not only on social and economic life, but also on sexual behaviors and attitudes. The course is designed to force students to engage first-hand with the Spanish culture and people. This will allow for a deeper understanding of the world’s growing regional and global interconnectedness and an understanding of the connections of sexuality and gender with the political, economic, and social milieus. Theoretical underpinnings of sexuality and sexual identity in this historical context will be explored using the works of international and national figures in the fields of gender, sexuality, and queer studies.
European Transformations (Semester with Internship)
- You will take two core courses, one in each city, and also a City course in each city. In your second location, the City course will continue until the end of the program.
- In your second city you will also enroll in the Internship/Workforce course.
- You may take up to two courses for pass/no pass credit, but only one pass/no pass ccourse in any 5-week session.
Your internship starts while you are still in classes. Internship hours will not conflict with your class schedule but you will be doing internship and academic work simultaneously. For the first few weeks of your internship you will be working for fewer hours per week so that you still have time to focus on your academics. Once the academic portion is over you will increase the hours at your internship per week. This internship is a significant professional learning experience and you will be expected to complete a designated number of hours over the duration of the internship. You will not be able to negotiate fewer hours for a reduction in units.
The description for the internship course is listed below:
- Internship: Approaches to the Spanish/Italian Workforce
This course will first provide you with a general overview of the main economic sectors in Spain or Italy, so that you acquire a basic knowledge of the evolution of the economy, the contributions of the main national industries and companies, and the various challenges that these countries have been facing in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Specific seminars will guide you through your internship experience in your assigned company, as well as help you develop the skills necessary to become better integrated into the Spanish or Italian work environment. Seminars will discuss topics such as the current political and economic climate, the national legal frameworks, the structure and workflow of local companies, the integration of women and immigrants into the workforce, and the differences between the job experience in the U.S. and in Spain or Italy, among others.
The internship or service learning experience is an opportunity for you to continue your education and learn on the job in a real-world situation. Internships are designed to give you a "hands-on" experience in practical situations, and a comparative understanding of the North American and European work environments as you further develop your professional skills.
Course Descriptions- Madrid
- Spain through its Culture and Language
This course aims at putting students in direct contact with Spain, increasing their awareness of different cultural perspectives as well as introducing linguistic habits that form part of everyday communication. Contents will cover essential information for each student’s experience in Madrid from basic vocabulary, conversational phrases, and grammatical structures to hands-on interactive activities such as walking neighborhood tours, museum visits, and meetings with local representatives, which will help them to make Madrid their own city, develop their intercultural competence, and support their continuous integration into the Spanish culture.
Sections of the course will be adjusted to students’ language levels.
- Contemporary Spanish History through Film
(European Studies, History, Film and Media Studies)
Spanish cinema provides an excellent rougte for understanding social and political change throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. As the most important artistic medium of modernity, cinema will allow one to construct and deconstruct many myths and realities of contemporary Spain. This, this course will analyze the most relevant Spanish film productions both as artistic works (form) and as socio-historical documents (content). Topics will include the Republic and Civil War (Cuerda and Buñuel), the 60s comic criticism of dictatorship (García Barlanga), the transition to democracy (Garci and Almodóvar), and the new 90s cinema (Amenábar, de la Iglesia, Médem, Coixet, and Bollaín). Analysis of these films will be contextualized within a thorough grounding in contemporary Spanish history.
- From Dictatorship to Democracy: Social Revolutions in Spain
(History, Political Science)
Spain has experienced crucial transformations over recent decades with regard to women’s rights, family, gender roles, education, freedom of expression, religion, and migration. This course provides a theoretical overview of social revolutions as well as a detailed examination of the influence of Franco’s dictatorship and the transition to democracy on contemporary Spanish conceptions of society, politics, culture, gender, and sexuality.
Site visits include the Museo Reina Sofía, the neighborhoods of Moncloa and Argüelles, and the neighborhoods of Lavapiés and La Latina.
- The City as Text: Urban Development and Art in Madrid
(Art History, Urban Studies)
One of the most dynamic cosmopolitan cities in Europe, and credited for its socio-cultural diversity as well as for being a business center, the capital of Spain has become a city that attracts people from other parts of Spain, and recently, from other countries. Today’s Madrid is an open city where most people feel at home in a very short period of time. Thus, taking Madrid both as a natural extension of history and as a canvas or text, this course will analyze the main art manifestations in the city and will provide students with an understanding of the reality of the capital’s artistic life from various perspectives.
Tracing Madrid’s history back to the Middle Ages with its Islamic foundation, in 1561 it became the capital of the most important Empire in the world at that time, the Habsburg Empire. Downtown Madrid still maintains the taste of that glorious period and it received a new urban push when the Bourbon dynasty ruled Spain beginning in the 18th century. As the court and capital, it has always held most national museums as well as the Academy of Art. However, the city will be regarded as a palimpsest of interwoven strata and voices. To this end, the course will not only approach official discourse but also more spontaneous, popular, or marginal manifestations through the exploration of street art or alternative utilizations of public space- “secondary” layers of the city yet key in the mapping of today’s Madrid.
Site visits include Museo de los Orígenes, Prado Museum, Sorolla House, Reina Sofía Museum, and the neighborhoods of Legazpi and Lavapiés.
- Spanish Mass Media and Society
(Film and Media Studies, Sociology)
This course is designed as a trip into the media world in Spain and aims at offering the student a broad overview of the field of mass media and its impact on Spanish public opinion. The idiosyncrasies of Spanish society and how they are reflected on the Spanish mass media map is one of the primary focuses of this course. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to take part in study visits to leading Spanish media companies and meet with media professionals. These visits will provide the student with first-hand information about how Spanish media companies are run and how Spanish audiences behave. At the same time, the student will have the opportunity to analyze and trace the evolution of Spanish society since the turn of the century, and discussion will also provide a space to explore similarities and differences between American and Spanish societies.
Site visits include: newspaper 20 minutes, Antena 3 television station, and online newspaper eldiario.es.
Class visits to Rome’s most important sites will provide the subtext of not just Roman but also Italian culture and identity. During these visits, and overview of Italian history will be presented, as an analysis of the transformations of the city will show us how they reflect the history of the country. The site visits will also treat the issue of Italy’s classical heritage. The rebirth of that heritage in the Italian Renaissance created a life model which shaped western civilization. The visit to Roman villas and palaces will clarify what this means and will also enlighten the related formation of great artistic collections that have made Rome and Italy a city and a country of museums. From capital of the papal state, Rome later became the capital of unified Italy: first capital of a kingdom, then, after Fascism, the capital of a modern republic.
Course Descriptions- Rome
- Rome as Palimpsest: Language, History, Culture
(Italian Studies, Art History, History)
Rome is a city made of layers, a palimpsest. This team-taught course attempts to unravel the many layers of the city and of Italian culture through language instruction, a series of visits to Roman sites and monuments, and key texts and discussions devoted to Italian culture. Each class meeting and site visit will focus on a specific and essential aspect of Italian life and culture.
Language: The course will provide the opportunities to learn and use the necessary descriptive phrases as well as to understand the responses given in specific communicative situations. Essential Italian hand gestures will also be presented.
Class time includes role play activities that will be reinforced by the participation of native Italian speakers (our Italian university interns). In addition, students will participate in five “language encounters” (incontri di conversazione) with our interns; each encounter lasts fifteen minutes and consists of a two-on-one meeting.
City: Class visits to Rome’s most important sites will provide the subtext of not just Roman but also Italian culture and identity. During these visits, and overview of Italian history will be presented, as an analysis of the transformations of the city will show us how they reflect the history of the country. The site visits will also treat the issue of Italy’s classical heritage. The rebirth of that heritage in the Italian Renaissance created a life model which shaped western civilization. The visit to Roman villas and palaces will clarify what this means and will also enlighten the related formation of great artistic collections that have made Rome and Italy a city and a country of museums. From capital of the papal state, Rome later became the capital of unified Italy: first capital of a kingdom, then, after Fascism, the capital of a modern republic.
- Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection
(Archeology, Art History, Legal Studies)
With an emphasis on Italy, this course will focus on the looting, destruction, and reselling of antiquities, from classical antiquity to today. Together we will consider issues such as what constitutes an art/cultural heritage crime, how ideas of value (both real and symbolic) have emerged historically and how have they changed over time, what constitutes “ownership” in the eyes of different entities, and how this has changed over the past 50 years, resulting in the current difficult and controversial issue of the repatriation of cultural artifacts which have crossed international borders. Themes considered will be the history of collecting, illegal excavation, and the illicit trade in antiquities, the role of auction houses, the Church, museums, and galleries, ownership and patrimony issues, international laws and agreements (in particular the Hague Convention of 1954, the 1970 UNESCO Convention, and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention), recovery and repatriation, and ongoing problems with the protection and conservation of antiquities. As a class we will debate, for example, the benefits of repatriation vs. object care and viewership, and the issue of ownership in cases in which all parties involved had, at some time, “legal” rights to the artifact(s) in question. We will end this section of the course with a review of cultural heritage laws and the current international situation, as well as a discussion of identifying challenges and providing suggestions for regulating the market of antiquities in the future. The last portion of the course will focus on the way that the physical city today is the result of decisions over the years to destroy, alter, or completely preserve Rome’s ancient monuments. We will closely examine the buildings and areas, and eras, in question, in an effort to understand the ways that Rome deals with, and has dealt with, its issues of cultural heritage preservation. This course will include visits to relevant sites and museums in and around Rome, and will include the close investigation of actual case studies throughout.
- Italian Politics and History through Film
(Film and Media Studies, History, Political Science)
Italian cinema provides an excellent route for understanding social and political change throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. As arguably the most important artistic medium of modernity, cinema allows one to construct and deconstruct many myths and identities. This course will analyze some of the most relevant Italian film productions of each defined period of history, primarily as socio-historical documents (content). Topics will include the Fascist regime (Bertolucci, Scola); the Second World War (Rossellini); the 50s reconstruction and neo-realism (De Sica), the economic miracle (Visconti), the 1970s (Scola), the Berlusconi Years (Gandini) to Rome of the present day (Sorrentino) Analysis of these films will be contextualized within a thorough grounds in contemporary Italian History.
- Sport and Society in Modern Italy
This course will examine the role of sport (with an emphasis on soccer and cycling) in Italian society from historical and contemporary perspectives. The course will consider the relationship between sports and such issues as gender, race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, nationalism, nation-building, the Italian economy, and the role of the media in order to determine how developments in sports have influenced, and have been influenced by, Italian politics and society.
The course will begin with a general introduction to Italian history; general ideas, concepts and interpretations. Considering theoretical, real and practical problems in the conceptualization of the nation’s identity, these issues will feature throughout the module’s exploration of economics, social, and political change. Developing a solid grounding in the dramatic changes in Italian society from 1918 until the present, students will be encouraged to explore, analyze, and discuss the continuities, or otherwise, in modern Italy. Beginning with the impact of the First World War, the course will pay particular attention to the nature of modern Italy, plus the obstacles of opportunities within its development. Following a consideration of the impact of the war, a detailed study of the interwar period will establish what Italian Fascism was, what it meant for Italian people, and what its legacy was. With war once again providing a dramatic rupture in Italian society, politics, and history, the post-1945 period will consider the influence of America and the Cold War upon the internal battle for political control between the Left and the Catholic Right. This period will also focus on Italy’s economic recovery and re-entry into “normal” diplomatic relations that was rubber-stamped by the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. With the country’s foreign relations stabilized, attention will turn to the internal crises of insurrection, terrorism, mafia activity, and corruption. Tangentopoli, the collapse of the old political order, plus the nature, rise, and impact of Silvio Berlusconi’s entry into politics will conclude the course after which, students will be asked to assess the nature of modern Italy, how we might define it, and to what extent sport has been integral in the construction of any such definitions.
- The Italian Family from Early Modern to Contemporary Times
(History, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies)
The Italian family, the basic building block of society and state, is continually evolving, and this course will focus on the institution itself, as well as the roles of women, men, children, servants, and sexuality within it from the Quattrocento until now. Over these past six centuries we will discuss issues such as shared family time and resources (housing, meals, childcare, extended family influences, family-run business, and entertainment). How a couple planned for children, named them, and educated them according to gender, rank, and geography will be addressed as will family housing, the creation of family-related art and various forms of home-based material culture. Italian marriage will be set into historical context by examining major changes made to define it at the Council of Trent (1563), in parliament with the legalization of divorce (1970) and of same-sex civil unions (2016). Canon law governing marriage as a religious sacrament based on consent alone would be challenged by civil laws since the Renaissance, and we will see how different laws affected remarriage, legitimacy of children, divorce, widowhood, inheritance, etc. The course concludes by studying more recent social phenomenon such as women working outside the home, differences between northern and southern Italy, birth rates in ethnic Italian vs. migrant families, domestic violence and crimes of passion, recent laws on “fast” divorces (2014), ongoing discussion of the rights of same-sex partners, parents “fit” to adopt children, illegality of surrogate motherhood, and Pope Francis’ role in discussions of Italian and global family life and the Vatican’s annual “Family Day” events.
Site visits include Palazzo Spada, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the Archivio Storico Capitolino, and the neighborhood of Testaccio (Rione XX).
Grades for the quarter program are typically transmitted in mid-July and grades for the semester program are typically transmitted in mid-August.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
For 2016-17 Academic Year, students who have previously completed a UCEAP Program will receive a $600 discount on their participation. More information regarding the discount can be found on the UCEAP website.
Planning for Back-to-Back Programs
It is sometimes possible to participate in two different UCEAP options consecutively.
Participation in back-to-back programs requires an exceptional level of organization and maturity. You must be able to plan in advance and prepare for the second program while completing the first. Decide early if you would like to participate in a second program in order to complete necessary requirements while still at your UC campus.
To participate in a program immediately following the European Transformations quarter program, you must notify your Campus EAP Advisor of your intentions and submit a separate application by the campus deadline and go through the regular UCEAP selection process for each program. Your Campus EAP Office will have more information about the application process.
If you are planning to participate in these two consecutive programs:
- You must discuss your plans with your Campus EAP Advisor as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.
- You will need a visa! Anticipate your visa requirements; contact the UCEAP Systemwide Office to let them know your plans and ask for visa information.
- Submit all required predeparture materials for both programs to UCEAP before going abroad.
- Contact your campus financial aid officer and the UCEAP Student Finance Accountant before going abroad to ensure that your finances are in order for both programs.
Get acquainted with Italy and Spain and their cultures before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet
are excellent resources. There are many great websites for learning about your host cities. Two good resources are the Spanish official tourism website
The ACCENT website
also has useful background information about the Rome and Madrid Centers, and the ACCENT blogs for Rome
and ACCENT's Rome
Facebook pages provide up-to-date information on things to do and see, including links to local events, stores, and services.
Read about the Spanish and Italian lifestyles so you will have an idea about what to expect. Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals that have information about Spain and Italy.
It is a very exciting time to travel to Europe and, if you are prepared, you will find this time even more rewarding.
UCEAP Students Say…
“I was embarrassed for my fellow UC students who arrived not knowing anything about Europe. Read a lot and learn all you can about Rome and Madrid before you depart!”
“You’ll find that Europeans may know more about the States than you do. Don’t forget to brush up on your U.S. current events as well as Europe's.”
Local View of Alcohol
As in many countries, alcohol and other drugs are a part of the local youth culture, but typically there is no pressure to partake. Moderate drinking as a part of meals and social occasions is traditional in Spanish and Italian cultures from a very young age; on the other hand, “binge” drinking at parties or drinking in order to get drunk tends to be much less common among Spanish and Italian university students than can be the case on U.S. college campuses. Overuse or abuse of alcohol may bring unwelcome attention and difficulties; getting drunk is not considered acceptable behavior in Spain or Italy.
Use of illicit drugs is a crime and can result in serious penalties. Student abuse of alcohol or use of illicit drugs is against UC and UCEAP policies and will not be tolerated.
Some students have reported encountering behaviors that would be labeled as sexist, racist, or discriminatory in the U.S.
UC students of African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latin, and Middle Eastern backgrounds in particular may frequently find themselves the objects of stares and comments, ranging from relatively innocent to occasionally hostile.
Graffiti, including anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, and generally anti-immigrant messages, is not unusual.
Female students on UCEAP have indicated that they were stared at, approached, and harassed by men more openly and more frequently in Spain and Italy than at home. Past students have characterized these behaviors as annoying, frustrating, and initially shocking, but generally no more than that. Some have commented that there is no “political correctness” in Spain or Italy. However, do not give in to behaviors that invade your personal boundaries and that feel uncomfortable or unsafe to you. If a situation feels inappropriate or makes you uneasy, get yourself out of the situation. Never sacrifice your sense of safety to avoid offending the locals.
It is important that you do not allow such behavior to prevent you from going abroad. Try physically moving away from the source of offensive behavior, as responding may simply escalate the situation. Seek help from program staff and fellow students if you experience such behavior, especially if it becomes out of control or causes you increased anxiety and anger. Female returnees indicate that harassment can occur no matter what the circumstances; however, they recommend adapting your dress, comments, and actions to blend more closely to local norms. Talking to local women and observing them in their daily activities can help to accomplish this.
In most cases these incidents represent a cultural difference that causes annoyance and frustration for UC students, rather than a source of physical danger.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory (UCEAP Student Agreement, Section 10). If you miss the orientations, you may be dismissed from UCEAP.
The program begins with an orientation, during which you will learn important information about academic, logistic, and cultural aspects of your stay in Rome and Madrid. This introduction to life and study in Europe will help you adjust as quickly as possible to the new city and culture surrounding you. There will be a second orientation when you switch cities.
The specific arrival date, time, and meeting place for the orientations are listed in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Short walking tours will introduce you to the UC/ACCENT facilities and the area around the Study Center in central Rome and Madrid.
A group welcome reception is held during the first full week of the program.
Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
Travel to Your Host Country
Travel Arrangements & Arrival
Do NOT purchase an airline ticket until the first city of your program has been confirmed!
As noted in your initial application in MyEAP, your program direction may be switched due to numbers or housing imbalance.
Be sure to note the program start date and time before purchasing an airline ticket.
Late arrivals/early departures are NOTallowed.
Your mid-program flight from your first city to your second city is arranged for you by the program.
Do NOTpurchase this ticket; it is already included in your program fees.
You must make and pay for your own travel arrangements to your first city and your return home (even if you are on financial aid). You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket. You may wish to contact fellow UCEAP students before departure to discuss the possibility of making joint travel plans. Your mid-program flight from your first city to your second city is arranged for you by the program. Transfers to and from the airports are also provided for the mid-program city switch.
Detailed arrival information, including Study Center contact information and directions to the check-in locations, is provided in the Arrival Information in the online UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. Carry this information with you to Europe.
You are responsible for arriving at the specified location on the required date and time for the official start of the program. The Official Start Date is listed in the program calendar. If you fail to appear on the Official Start Date, you will be subject to dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Section 10).
The start date and calendar 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 incurred for independent travel arrangements. In order to be kept informed of any program changes, you must update MyEAP with any changes in your address, phone number, or e-mail, and notify the UCEAP Systemwide Office that changes have been made.
If you feel more comfortable traveling with a companion, contact fellow UCEAP students at your home campus to discuss the possibility of making joint travel plans. You can also look for a travel companion on the UCEAP Italy
or UCEAP Spain
Provide a copy of your 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 based partly on the UCEAP Program 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 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.
You need a passport at the time of application for your program. If you do not already have a passport, you must apply for one immediately, and you may need to expedite it. The process can take approximately four to eight weeks. Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond the end date of the program. If the passport will expire before that time, you will need to obtain a new one before you can apply for a student visa.
Scan your passport and e-mail a copy to yourself. This will speed up the replacement process if it is lost or stolen.
A visa is a stamp placed in the passport by the authorities of a country. The visa grants you permission to reside and study in that country.
Students enrolled in the quarter program do NOT need a visa.
Students enrolled in the semester program must obtain a student visa in the U.S. prior to departure to Europe.
You will apply for a visa through the Italian Consulate - you will not need an additional visa for Spain. Detailed instructions will be given in your Pre-Departure Checklist. Use the visa instructions and sample application in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. 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.
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.
If you are not a 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 having a return flight to the U.S.
If you are an EU citizen, you do not need a visa.
Residence Permit (Permesso di Soggiorno)
Students enrolled in the semester program will also need a residence permit.
After your arrival in Rome, Study Center staff will help you obtain a residence permit for foreigners, a "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 Rome. The residence permit cost is approximately €157. You will need to pay for this in cash (euros) when you apply.
The permesso di soggiorno is required for legal residence in Italy. You will be deported if you fail to secure the permesso di soggiorno. Neither ACCENT nor UCEAP will refund any fees paid for the program in this case, and no academic credit will be awarded.
Travel Before or After Your Program
U.S. citizens are allowed to travel in the Schengen area for up to 90 days without a visa.
If you are on the quarter program, your program is 77 days, leaving only 13 days for travel before or after your program. There is additional information about this in your Pre-Departure Checklist.
If you are a semester student, you must submit your actual passport with your visa application approximately 75 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.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Special Note for Non-U.S./Non-EU Citizens
You must check for your own requirements for travel in Europe before or after the validity date of your visa. 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.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Students who are granted DACA are strongly encouraged to consult an immigration attorney to evaluate the risks of potentially being unable to re-enter the United States and any impact that participation in UCEAP might have on any deferred action application. If you are undocumented and have not been granted DACA, we strongly encourage you not to leave the country.
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
UCEAP Students Say…
“Women, leave your heels at home! Cobblestone streets make low, comfortable shoes a must.”
“Be sure to take a shawl for going into churches when the weather is warm.”
Always personally carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money when traveling. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
Identify each item of your luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and address abroad. To avoid theft, never leave your luggage unattended. Luggage restrictions vary by airline.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Clothing that can be layered
- Passport-size photos (for public transportation passes)
- Prescription medication (for more information see the Staying Healthy chapter in this guide)
- Plug adaptor (see Electrical Current in this chapter)
- School supplies, such as a clipboard for taking notes during site visits, notebooks, pencils, and pens, which are much more expensive in Europe
- A shawl or scarf for ladies, to cover bare shoulders when visiting churches
- One dressy outfit for formal occasions
- Any sports attire you may need
- Bath towel (for Spain)
- Vitamins (they are expensive in Europe)
The weather in March can tend to be chilly, but will warm up fairly quickly during the spring.
Clothing in Europe is generally more stylish and a bit more expensive than in California. Take clothing that is easy to care for, a dressy outfit for more formal occasions, and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes with thick soles. Flip-flops will mark you as an American tourist and short shorts may attract unwanted attention; avoid wearing them. Modest clothing is required when visiting churches or other holy sites. Females will not be allowed to enter many churches with bare shoulders; either wear a shirt with sleeves or wear a shawl. No one is allowed into the major basilicas wearing shorts of any length.
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 adaptor is used to fit plugs on appliances from the U.S. into European outlets. A voltage converter changes your appliance’s voltage from the U.S. standard to European standard. All electrical appliances provide information about their voltage, usually on a label attached to the appliance. If your appliance indicates 110–240 volts, you will only need a plug adaptor to use it in Europe. If it indicates only 110–120, you will need a voltage converter with round European plug prongs. Converters do not work with blow-dryers, alarm clocks, electric razors, and some other appliances, especially over a period of time. It is best to purchase such items when you arrive in Madrid or Rome. Because the cost of electricity abroad is high and improper use of appliances may damage electrical outlets and the appliances, it is a good policy to ask before using the outlets.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protections for your property, as 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.
UCEAP's travel insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends you to examine the details of the UCEAP travel insurance benefits and to purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, MP3 players, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
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.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. 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 Program Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
Study Center staff can refer you to a local travel agency for information on return travel. All non-U.S. citizens must arrange for round-trip flights prior to departure, as proof of a round-trip itinerary will be requested by the Italian consulate for visa purposes.
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.
Handling Money Abroad
The euro is the official currency unit accepted in Italy, Spain, and most nations of the European Union (abbreviated
EUR or €). Information about the euro is available on the European Central Bank
UCEAP recommends that you go to Europe with about 300 euros in cash. You can obtain euros from your bank prior to departure. The first few days of the program tend to be structured with orientations, and you may not have time to obtain local currency during this period. By coming prepared with euros, you will have money to hold you over until you become more familiar with the city. You should also carry some money in U.S. dollars for use while traveling.
Exchanging Money after Arrival
Always remember to take your passport when making financial transactions abroad.
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 than those offered at banks. A passport is required to exchange money.
Take an ATM card linked to your checking account in the U.S. This is the easiest way to access funds abroad, and the exchange rate will be better than with any other options. ATM cards provide a convenient way of getting cash.
Ask your home bank:
- Do they have a partner bank in Italy and/or Spain?
- Will I be able to access my account while abroad?
- Will my PIN (personal identification number) work and will I be 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.
In recent years, students have had success using certain bank ATMs without extra fees. Students who have accounts with Bank of America have been able to use Barclays Bank ATMs without foreign transaction or third party fees. Students who have checking accounts with Charles Schwab have been able to use ATMs, and Charles Schwab has refunded most of the fees charged by European banks. Confirm these options with the banks before departure as bank policies change frequently.
Also, please be aware that Europe is adopting a new system for credit and debit cards: Chip-and-PIN Cards. These “smartcards” come with an embedded security chip (in addition to the magnetic stripe found on U.S. cards) which authorizes a transaction upon entering a PIN (like using a debit card in the U.S.); the cardholder does not sign a receipt. This means that some machines that are designed to accept Chip-and-PIN cards—e.g. machines at train and metro stations, luggage lockers, bike-rental kiosks, and self-service check-outs at supermarket—simply do not accept U.S. credit cards.
Thus, it is recommended to apply for a Chip-and-PIN card in the U.S. (not a chip-and-signature card), or if not, remember that you can always use an ATM to withdraw cash with your magnetic-stripe debit card.
*Visa and MasterCard have asked U.S. banks and merchants to use chip-based cards by late 2015.
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.
Take at least one major credit card (a second is advised to keep in reserve for emergencies). Major credit cards are accepted in most large stores and restaurants throughout Europe. Visa and MasterCard tend to be more widely accepted in Italy than American Express (AmEx).
You can also arrange to use your Visa or MasterCard to obtain a cash advance; however, the interest rates are usually quite high. Check with the issuing bank in the U.S. before you leave to see what services are offered and where, and to make sure that the card will be accepted by European banks and ATMs. Your passport is required for this service.
Notify your credit card company that you will be studying abroad so that your card does not get blocked for suspicious use.
Money from Home
You will not be able to cash personal checks, U.S. bank checks, or cashier’s checks in Italy, except in very limited cases, such as at an AmEx office. Therefore, do not rely on these as methods for financing expenses. Funds mailed to you from the U.S. should be in the form of a bank draft or international money order. A better way to get money sent to you is through Western Union.
Plan your finances carefully to avoid the need to have additional funds sent from home. Plan for independent travel expenses as well as all incidentals not covered by the program.
Western Union can be used to have money sent from home in a very short amount of time (sometimes within minutes). In most instances, you can receive local currency at competitive foreign exchange rates. Check the Western Union
website for locations in Madrid and Rome.
Computer Access & Use
The Rome Study Center has a computer lab with 8 workstations and 3 laser printers, plus two wireless areas where students with laptops equipped with wireless network cards (WiFi cards) can also print remotely to one of the printers. The Study Center computer lab is available from 8:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.
Be aware that Skype, YouTube, and Facebook are blocked at the Study Center due to limited bandwidth.
There is low bandwidth wireless Internet available at Residence Trastevere. Computers are not provided, so you must have access to a laptop with a wireless card if you want to use the Internet. Be aware that this wireless service is provided and managed entirely by Residence Trastevere and neither UC nor ACCENT is able to resolve any service problems that may arise.
At the ACCENT Madrid Study Center, students have access to a computer lab consisting of 10 iMacs along with DSL network connections and wireless for personal laptops. The Study Center computer lab is available during regular office hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays. Also, laptop Internet connections and WiFi access are available free of charge at the Instituto Internacional library, which all ACCENT students have access to. In addition, there is a printer available via the WiFi network for use on a pay-per-page basis. WiFi internet access is available in all apartment assignments.
You are encouraged to take a laptop. It will be very useful.
Be aware of the following:
- Be certain your laptop is fully insured in case of loss or theft. Review the UCEAP Insurance Plan to determine if the benefits provided are sufficient.
- Do not ship your laptop overseas; it may be held for inspection by customs officials and customs fees are costly, even for older laptops.
- Be sure to carry your laptop with you at all times and never set the bag containing your computer out of reach. Laptop computers are among the most frequently stolen items from travelers.
- Make sure you have a wireless card installed in your computer in order to access the WiFi network at the Instituto Internacional and Study Centers.
- Take your own Ethernet cable.
- Ensure that your laptop is equipped with a built-in voltage transformer that enables it to operate on the 220-volt system used in Europe (this is a fairly common feature) and take adaptor plugs.
- Be certain you have the right type of plug adaptor, and closely follow the instructions you will be sent via e-mail prior to departure.
- You may also consider buying Lojack for Laptops and/or a laptop lock.
Approximate time difference: add 9 hours
You can call the U.S. from Italy or Spain by dialing 001 + area code + phone number.
You are advised to have a cell phone while in Europe. Cell phones are particularly useful for emergencies; however, using a cell phone to call home can be expensive. If you own a smartphone, check with your provider about using it abroad. There may be inexpensive options available.
During orientation, you will receive detailed information about the various ways to call home, recommended phone cards, and buying a cell phone in Europe.
Many students use Skype
, Google Voice
, or other web-based services to communicate with family and friends back home. Buy a headset in the U.S. where electronics generally cost less.
The easiest and cheapest way to call the U.S. is by using an internet service like Skype, Viber, or Google+ Hangouts, but there are also other options. Student apartments are not equipped with telephone lines, so you will need to use a cell phone or outside phone to make any calls.
There are pay phones located throughout the city. For all pay phones, you will need to purchase a tarjeta telefónica (phone card) from a quiosco or estanco. The topic of tarjeta telefónica, where to buy them, and how to use them will be covered in depth at your on-site orientation in Madrid.
Using a cell phone: Prepaid cell phones allow you to pay-as-you-go while in Spain, usually cost about 20-30 euros, and often come with some credit (saldo) already on it. You may choose from a wide variety of prepaid plans with no annual contract and different rates with any of the major carriers Movistar, Orange, Vodafone, or Yoigo, and you can add credit at any supermarket, tobacco shop, or large department store. Receiving calls and/or text messages is always free while in Spain, but make sure that you check with your service provider for current rates within Spain and to the States. Spanish cell phones will also work in most countries in Europe but rates vary. Usually the phone company will send you a text message upon arrival in a new country to inform you about the roaming rates.
Using a local SIM card: Unlocked U.S. cell phones may work in Spain with a local SIM card. You may call your U.S. cell phone service provider and have them give you an unlock code, and then, just buy a Spanish SIM card in Madrid. SIM cards costs 10-20 euros, and phones work just the same as a pay-as-you-go phone.
Using a public phone: Public telephone booths (cabinas telefónicas) are usually available in airports, train and bus stations, and streets. It is possible to make a call or send text or e-mail messages, and you may use coins (euros), phone cards (tarjeta telefónicas), or your own credit card. Rates for each service are usually provided on the booth.
Using a prepaid phone card:
Phone cards are also a good option for calling the U.S. You can buy them from a locutorio
, or you can buy them online from Cloncom
. On this website you can check rates and receive your PIN and access numbers via e-mail.
You can use a prepaid card on any phone (home, cell phone, and public phones). Plan to use a toll-free access number (900 number) when you call from someone else’s phone so that they are not charged any fees for the call.
Be mindful of the following:
- 91 Access: This access method allows you to pay for a local call but receive more minutes for your international call. To call from a payphone, insert the payment and then dial the 91 access number provided.
- 900 Access: By using this access method you will be making a toll-free call.
All apartments in the Residence Trastevere have telephones, but they do not dial out; they can only be used to receive calls.
With the popularity of cell phones, pay phones are gradually being phased out in Rome. Most of the remaining ones work on a phone card system. Prepaid Italian phone cards (scheda telefonica) are available at the post office, tobacco shops (tabacchi), and cafés. Inexpensive phone cards for use with apartment landlines can be economical. 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 when used abroad. The calling cards purchased in Italy are less expensive and more effective. The “Europa” and “Happiness Plus” 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.
Many students have found that the most convenient and cost effective option is to have their US Cell phone “unlocked” before arriving in Italy. Once in Rome, students then purchase an Italian SIM card for about €15 and then use a pay-as-you-go plan for local calls and data (between €11-20 per month) and can receive calls at no charge. Other students opt to purchase a very simple cell phone and SIM card at a total of about €35.
It is best not to have packages sent to you. Packages often arrive after students have completed the program and will NOT be forwarded.
Never ship laptops, cameras, or luggage abroad; shipping is expensive and subject to arbitrary customs duties. Do not try to have medications shipped to you.
Luggage and packages may not be sent prior to your arrival. The Study Center will not store luggage.
Mailing packages to Europe can take a very long time. If you do decide to have packages sent, asking friends and family to declare “Used Items for Personal Use Only” on packages shipped overseas may alleviate high customs charges, but be forewarned that even inexpensive items marked in this way are not immune to customs charges or delays. Customs officials have the right to examine the contents of any package and assess its value. All packages must clear customs, and you will be charged at least 20 percent VAT (Value Added Tax). To avoid custom charges and delays, it might be safer, faster, and cheaper to just purchase items in Europe or to shop online from a European Union country.
It is best to have mail and packages sent via FedEx, UPS, or a similar service. The express mail service offered by the U.S. Postal Service takes much longer than the private services because the package enters the regular mail system once it arrives overseas.
All mail should be mailed to the Study Centers at the following addresses.
c/o ACCENT/UC Rome Study Center
piazza dell’Orologio, 7
00186 Rome, ITALY
c/o ACCENT Madrid Study Center
C/Miguel Angel, 6 bajo 9
28010 Madrid – Spain
Madrid – Privately Owned Apartments
Apartments are co-ed, with single-sex bedrooms, and are shared with other UC or international students. You will be in a double room with one other student; up to ten people may share an apartment.
Each apartment is unique and will vary in size, condition, and proximity to your classes. Keep in mind that living standards in Europe are different from those in the U.S., and apartments tend to be smaller and older.
Student apartments tend to be comfortable but simple. The rooms are furnished with a bed (including sheets, pillows, and blankets) and a closet or armoire, but minimal storage space. Keep this in mind when packing your bags. You will need to take your own towels, soap, shampoo, etc. Bathrooms are small and usually there is only one bathroom per apartment. (In apartments with seven or more students, there is a minimum of two bathrooms.) Kitchen facilities include a cooking range, a refrigerator, and basic cooking utensils shared by everyone in the apartment. Each apartment will have one or more areas for studying, which will include a table or desk. Apartments will be furnished with fans. All apartments have a washing machine, but they will not have dryers due to the high cost of electricity in Madrid.
You can expect anywhere from a 30- to 45-minute walk, Metro, or bus ride to get to class. Commuting is a regular part of the life of a madrileño.
Rome - Residence Trastevere
The Residence Trastevere is a complex in the Trastevere neighborhood of central Rome. These spacious, single-sex apartments house four to eight students in a combination of double or triple rooms with single beds; a desk and wardrobe are provided for each student. Each apartment layout is unique, but all provide similar amenities (e.g., full kitchen facilities with a refrigerator, oven, and washing machine, a television, a common area, and a full bathroom). No more than five people will share a bathroom. All apartments have phones, but only for incoming calls; outgoing service is not provided. Reasonable usage of utilities is included in the program fees. Low bandwidth wireless Internet in included.
All bedding and towels are provided in Residence Trastevere. Basic cooking utensils and dishes are also provided. The apartments are lightly cleaned twice weekly. See the details in the residence contract included in your Pre-Departure Checklist.
The complex houses approximately 250 people. The residence is not open to the public; however, non-UCEAP American students and others will be living in the same buildings. You will receive one key for the main entrance and one for your apartment. A staffed reception desk is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and a security guard is on duty after hours (8 p.m.–8 a.m.). Guests may visit only between the hours of 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. Overnight guests are not allowed and all visiting guests must leave ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.) at the reception or with the security guard.
Italian law regulates noise levels. You will sign a residence contract agreeing to housing rules and disciplinary procedures.
The neighborhood surrounding the residence offers a wide array of commercial services: laundromats, restaurants, supermarkets, corner stores, retail stores, newsstands, public transportation by bus and tram, and a large, weekly open air market. An on-site gym is available at extra cost for students in Residence Trastevere.
The residence location is approximately a 30- to 45-minute commute by foot or public transportation to the UC/ACCENT Study Center.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I obtain accommodations?
A: You automatically receive housing as described above. There is a housing questionnaire and contract in your online Pre-Departure Checklist. If you would like to request a specific roommate(s) or apartment mate(s), you must both make the request on your questionnaire. Read the information thoroughly and submit the housing questionnaire and contract to ACCENT by the designated deadline. All housing placements are final.
Q: What should I expect when I first arrive?
A: Upon arrival you will meet at a designated location and receive information and instructions to get to your accommodations. You will be responsible for securing and paying for your own transportation to your accommodations on arrival day. If you arrive before the official arrival date, you will be responsible for arranging your own accommodations until the program starts. Details are given in your Arrival Information Sheet located in your Pre-Departure Checklist.
Q: How do I pay for housing?
A: Your housing fees are billed through your UCEAP account. You are required to live in UCEAP-sponsored housing.
Q: Is there a deposit and housing contract?
A: 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 cancelation fees are outlined in the Pre-Departure Checklist and also in the UCEAP Student Budget.
Q: May I have overnight guests?
A: Overnight guests are prohibited as determined by legal agreements for housing. The ACCENT staff can provide information about hostels and hotels in the area for visitors.
Madrid: The apartment buildings are home to Spanish families and others, and though there are no curfews, quiet hours are generally observed between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Excessive noise is prohibited by law and Spaniards are serious about this; residents have the right to call the authorities after 11 p.m. Parties are not allowed in the apartments, and students who violate these rules will be expelled.
Rome: In Residence Trastevere, all visitors must be escorted to and from the apartment by the student hosting them. Students may have visitors to their apartment but they are not allowed to stay after midnight. Disciplinary action will be taken if a student is found to have guests in their apartments after midnight. Disciplinary action could include dismissal from UCEAP. Please note that all occupants in an apartment are held responsible if one roommate hosts a guest after midnight.
Q: What is student life like in Madrid and Rome?
A: The biggest difference is that there is no “campus.” Rather, the cities become your campus. This creates an opportunity to enrich your experience by living and learning the lifestyle of the local culture. Living in a centuries-old city in Europe is generally a memorable experience for visitors, but the beauty and history come with a small price. Apartment utilities may be less reliable, travel time between your home and the Study Center may be much longer than you are used to, and public transportation may not always be reliable.
Electricity is expensive in Madrid and Rome. Be conservative with energy use. As it states in your housing contract, you will be billed for any electricity you use over an “average” European amount.
A group welcome reception is held during the first week of the program and a farewell reception is held during the last week.
The apartments in Madrid and Residence Trastevere all include kitchen facilities with stoves, dishes, and refrigerators, and students often cook meals together.
In Spain, breakfast is rather light, usually consisting of a roll and strong coffee. Lunch, on the other hand, tends to be a very substantial meal and is considered to be the main meal of the day. Lunch is typically served around 2 p.m., and Spaniards tend to linger over this main meal. The evening meal is lighter, and is served later in the evening, around 9:30 p.m.
There are many types of markets available for your grocery needs, from family-owned specialty corner stores to large markets. The least expensive grocery store is Dia Autoservicio. You will have to take your own shopping bags (or pay for theirs) and bag your own groceries. In addition, most neighborhoods have a large marketplace with stall after stall of products, each stall specializing in one thing: meats and cheeses, chicken and eggs, fruits and vegetables, bread, pastries, dairy products, and dry goods.
In Rome there are plenty of markets with all kinds of food available, including fresh produce and legumes for vegetarian options. In addition, the open-air markets are a real culinary adventure and an excellent place to grocery shop when on a budget.
It is recommended that you learn the local words for food items prior to going abroad. This will help you discern from menus which dishes are vegetarian and will also help you to ask your wait staff for vegetarian options.
Vegetarians will have no problem in Italy, as fresh produce and legumes are plentiful in the markets and many restaurants offer vegetarian options. Vegans may find it a little more difficult to find items without cheese or dairy products. The UC Center Rome staff can assist you in locating good markets and restaurants.
A vegetarian diet is a little more difficult in Spain, particularly if you do not eat fish. Most prepared foods contain some form of meat, or are cooked with chicken or meat broth. It is important to remember that vegetarianism is not as widely accepted or understood in Spain as it is in California. In some instances, vegetarian guests have been provided with a prime piece of ham, as the host may interpret “meat” only to lean beef. The staff at the UC/ACCENT Madrid Study Center can provide a helpful list of restaurants that offer meatless options.
Madrid offers endless options for eating out. The study center staff can provide a list of cheap and chic restaurants around Madrid. Many restaurants and cafés offer fixed menus or menú del día (a whole meal for a fixed price). You will usually find these meals to be the best value, as they will include a choice of two main dishes, bread, wine or mineral water, and dessert.
There are also numerous cafés and tapas bars throughout Madrid, which are good places for a quick snack. Besides tapas, there are salad bars, which are a great option for lunch. They offer unlimited salads, pastas, soups, desserts, and beverages for approximately €8. In bars, you can also order a Spanish sandwich (bocadillo) for about €4. When eating out, it is less expensive to sit inside than it is to sit at an outside table, and even less expensive to sit at the bar.
In Rome, eating out is generally a little more expensive than it is in California; however, you can find inexpensive restaurants away from the popular tourist areas. There are many cafes, pizzerie, and trattorie throughout Rome that are reasonably priced.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
During your stay in Europe, your primary mode of transportation will be public transportation (buses, metro, local trains, trams) or just walking, so it is helpful to have an idea of the transit systems before you depart. Maps of the Madrid and Rome transit systems are readily available online and will be provided in the program materials available at the on-site orientation.
In Madrid, public transportation passes, called Tarjetas de Transporte Público (TTP), are available to purchase. These all-purpose 30-day passes are good for unlimited rides on the Madrid Metro, buses, and trenes de cercanias (suburban trains) within a specific number of “zones.” Transportation passes will be processed prior to students’ arrival, although students will be responsible for adding the monthly credit from tobacco shops (estancos) or metro ticket booths and machines. As of December 2014, a 30-day pass covering all of central Madrid costs €35 for those under 23 years of age and €54,60 if 23 or over. Costs for transportation without the TTP are much higher; however, you may need to buy a ten-ride ticket (€12,20) or single tickets (€1,50-€2; or €5 to and from the airport) during your first days in Madrid until you add the credit to the TPP. Ten-ride and single tickets can also be purchased from tobacco shops, Metro ticket booths, machines found in the Metro stations, and bus company kiosks located throughout Madrid.
Rome has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, local trains, and an underground metro. Individual bus, metro, or tram tickets cost €1:50; a monthly pass costs €35. One-day, three-day, and week-long passes are also available. The monthly pass is the most economical option, and UCEAP highly recommends that you purchase one for commuting, site visits, recreation, etc.
Tickets are usually purchased before boarding and they are validated once on board. Tickets can be purchased from tobacco shops, newsstands, and some automatic machines. Fines for riding without a ticket (random inspections do take place) are generally about €51–€101 if paid up front and higher if they cannot be paid immediately.
Be aware that transportation workers can strike at any time. Always be prepared to walk to class and make any necessary changes to your schedule. The UC/ACCENT Study Centers are located in central Rome and central Madrid. From the center of the city, many destinations are more easily reached by walking.
UCEAP Students Say…
Friends on UCEAP are important, but don’t rely too heavily on them. Break out and be independent. Don’t hang out in groups with Americans.
In Madrid and Rome, walk. It’s the best way to really get to know the city and discover the good, not-so-tourist-frequented restaurants.
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.
The ACCENT staff will have information on cultural and social events, and will organize a number of activities for the program, which will vary depending on availability and student interest. Activities might include:
- Gallery Visits
- Movie Night
- Coffee Houses
- “Madrid on a Budget” walking tour will show you how to save money during your stay in Madrid
- An evening performance of flamenco, theater, Zarzuela (Spanish operetta), or an Italian opera
- Cooking classes
- Attendance to a Soccer Game
- Tiramisu evening with Italian students
- Film nights at the local Italian University
- Cooking lessons
Students with Disabilities
Students with Disabilities
Contact the UCEAP Operations Specialist immediately if you need accommodations. Information will be treated confidentially. Advance planning is important. Accommodations may be arranged after you provide detailed information on services that will be required.
Note-takers and tutors may be available, but there may be expenses involved, which will be your responsibility. In general, most professors are more than willing to give extra time for exams.
Be flexible; you will find accessibility and accommodations different from the United States. As is the case in older buildings throughout Spain, accessibility at the Instituto Internacional is limited as there is only ramp access and one elevator, which is relatively small. The UC/ACCENT Study Center in Rome has restroom facilities and elevators for students with disabilities.
It is common for older buildings to have stairs and no elevators. Expect to encounter uneven sidewalks, unequipped bathrooms, and narrow doors and aisles. Newer buildings are more accessible and some of the major shopping malls, cinemas, museums, bars, and restaurants are well adapted. While some major sights have been made accessible, planning ahead is always recommended for students with disabilities.
Within the city of Rome, some but not all metro stations are wheelchair-accessible. Equipped stations are: Cipro (near the Residence Trastevere), Baldo degli Ubaldi, Termini (main train station), Cinecitta’, Sub Augusta, Furio Camillo, Pontelungo, Re di Roma, Valle Aurelia, Battistini, Colosseo, Circo Massimo, and all the stops of the B line except Cavour. Some buses have wheelchair access, but service is inconsistent.
For more information:
Travel during the Program
You are strongly discouraged from “couch surfing” (using an online social networks to organize free places to stay) when traveling.
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
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. It is expected that you will attend all class sessions and adhere to your program’s attendance policy at all times. As stipulated in the UCEAP Student Agreement, you must regularly attend all classes for which you are registered, and must conform to all applicable rules.
Opportunities for travel are plentiful, and UCEAP does not wish to discourage you from taking advantage of them, but you will spend only a short amount of time in Madrid and Rome and you are encouraged to get to know these areas and to limit extensive travel.
Do not make travel plans until after you are abroad and know your schedule. There may be occasional site visits on Fridays and Saturdays. These site visits are considered course time and they cannot be missed. You will have to change any prearranged travel plans if they interfere with your classes. (Students in the past have lost money because they cannot get refunds for fees already paid out to companies, such as airlines.)
Virtually every destination of interest within Spain and Italy is served by trains, buses, or both, making weekend travel easy.
Failure to abide by UCEAP travel guidelines or the Student Agreement may be cause for dismissal from the program.
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to 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 how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Anti-discrimination laws exist and apply to LGBT individuals. On March 15, 2012, the Cassation Court issued a ruling recognizing the right to equal treatment of same-sex couples and the right to a family life. The press reported a few cases of violence against gay and lesbian couples during 2012.
Since 2005, gay and lesbian couples have had full rights to marry and adopt children. According to Spanish gay associations, around four million residents identify as LGBT. Spain became Europe’s third nation to legalize same-sex marriage, following the Netherlands and Belgium, and the fourth in the world after Canada, which passed its law in June 2005.
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. Your UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is does not meet ACA requirements for domestic coverage as required by U.S. law
. Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
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
ACI at email@example.com.
The standards of medical care in Italy and Spain are good. If you feel sick or are injured, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. The Study Centers can recommend clinics and English-speaking general practitioners and specialists, assist with the UCEAP travel insurance 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.
UCEAP Travel Insurance
As a UCEAP participant you are automatically covered by UCEAP travel insurance anywhere in the world (not only while in Madrid or Rome) 14 days before the official start of the program and up to 31 days after the official end of the program. The UCEAP insurance coverage is paid by the University. See the UCEAP Insurance Plan
brochure for details and read the Insurance
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
After you pay for health services, you can submit a claim to get a refund for eligible expenses. 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 in USD mailed to your U.S. address may take four to six weeks.
Arriving in a new country is a very busy time and there are a lot of changes to go through. There are differences in food, weather and customs to cope with. In this type of situation, with all its stresses, you may find yourself paying less attention than usual to your health.
Existing health problems can also be made worse by the effects of adjusting to unfamiliar food, a different climate and the emotional strains of being away from home. It can be easy to concentrate on your studies and forget about taking care of yourself. Travel health is about prevention and common sense: Being aware of health issues that may arise and taking the appropriate measures to prevent illnesses and injuries when you are travelling not only for your own well-being, but for the people and communities you encounter during your trip.
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 U.S. 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.
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- Although you should always travel with a copy of your prescription from your U.S. doctor, many pharmacies in other countries will only fill prescriptions written in that country. If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor to get a similar prescription that a pharmacy will fill. Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance. It may be covered if you are insured through your campus health insurance plan. It will be critical to have a letter from a U.S. doctor during this appointment explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
- If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 prescribed by a licensed physician 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 intending to travel with prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders 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 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. Ensure that it is clearly labelled with your full passport name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack the medications in your checked luggage.
- Carry copies of all original 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.
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country in quantities to last through your stay, 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, so you can have time to consult with your doctor on any resulting complications. 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.
Never ship medication to Spain or Italy or have it sent to you. Customs may confiscate the medication and/or impose very high fines. Plan to take enough prescription medication to last the length of your stay. Consult with your doctor(s) and the UCEAP insurance provider several weeks before departure to make sure that you can get enough medication.
You cannot get U.S. prescriptions filled in Spain or Italy. Pharmacies will not dispense drugs without a prescription from a doctor licensed to practice in that country. Antibiotics will not be dispensed without a prescription from a local doctor. Certain antibiotics commonly available in the U.S. are not available abroad.
Pack any medications in your carry-on luggage with a copy of the prescription and a note from your doctor on letterhead stationery that describes your diagnosis, your treatment, and the prescribed medications, including their generic names.
Most common over-the-counter medications are available at Italian and Spanish pharmacies. Discuss any medical or health concerns with your doctor before departure.
Living and studying in another country includes stressful activities that often compound or exacerbate emotional or mental health issues. Emotional distress can have an impact on academic progress, personal relationships, and a successful UCEAP experience. It is important to be able to recognize triggers and signs of emotional distress and act immediately to get help. Know the warning signs, learn some techniques and skills to manage stress, and reach out for help. The UC Centers are available to help you, if needed.
Your mental health is important to us all. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home. Read the Mobility International tips, Ups and Downs of International Travel
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.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., it is extremely important to discuss your study abroad plans and program details with your doctor. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician well in advance about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
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. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
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.
Precautions to take include:
- Research the local cuisine. Be aware that 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; make several copies in case you lose one. Be sure to have a native speaker verify that you have written everything correctly. If you will be traveling, know the names of the foods in the local language.
- Discuss the risks with your doctor six to eight weeks before departure to discuss your treatment plan while abroad.
- 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 the local language. Wearing medical identification at all times can help should a life-threatening reaction occur.
- Carry a card written in the local language explaining what foods cause allergies and possible reaction.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section
The topic of safety will be covered in greater detail at the orientations in Madrid and Rome.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being.
Staying safe in another country is similar to staying safe in a large U.S. city. Understand the potential threats, know which neighborhoods to avoid, and remain vigilant (pay attention to your surroundings; do not walk around while talking on the phone or while listening to music).
If you will be traveling, think about how you are getting to your destination and/or any travel inside a country. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel. Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
- Assess your surroundings.
- Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
- Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.
- Research potential risks you can encounter while traveling.
- Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking.
- 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. The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. 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 on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Know what to do in a possible risk scenario
Locate the nearest emergency exits. If evacuated in a group, remain in the center of the group with as many people around you as possible. Don’t take the lead or straggle behind.
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Madrid and Rome are major international cities. As such, be aware of and concerned for your personal safety.
Safe behavior abroad means using the same common sense and street smarts that you would use in any big city in the United States. This includes not putting yourself into risky or threatening situations, paying attention to safety briefings during orientation, learning areas of town to avoid, and knowing emergency phone numbers.
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.
Information on Spanish Criminal Laws and Procedures
While you in Spain, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Spanish police ordinarily inform the U.S. Embassy of the detention of an American citizen within twenty-four hours of the arrest. The U.S. Consular Officer will come to visit the arrestee when possible after notification. On the initial visit, the U.S. Consular Officer will check on the well-being of the detainee and the circumstances of the arrest, provide the list of attorneys, and ask for a Privacy Act Waiver to provide authorization for the consular officer to be in contact with others regarding the arrest. If necessary, the U.S. Consular Officer will intercede with local authorities to ensure full observance of the citizen's rights under Spanish law.
Excessive Drinking & Safety
Excessive alcohol consumption increases risk-taking behavior. Most safety incidents experienced by students while abroad were related to excessive drinking. You are expected to uphold the alcohol agreement that you signed with ACCENT, and abide by the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.
Drinking alcoholic beverages significantly increases risks to health and safety, and the danger increases as the amount of drinking increases. Drinking excessively will impair your ability to judge situations and make good decisions, which increases your risk for crime. You will be particularly vulnerable to robbery and physical and sexual assault.
Excessive use of alcohol affects perception, thinking, and coordination. It impairs judgment, reduces inhibitions, and increases any tendency toward aggression. Those who abuse alcohol are more likely than others to engage in high-risk, thoughtless, or violent behaviors.
The incidence of violent crime in Rome is low in comparison to many major U.S. cities. However, minor crime continues to be a persistent problem. Most crimes tend to be non-violent and directed toward obtaining property such as purse-snatching, pick-pocketing, and residential and vehicle break-ins. Purses are either outright grabbed or straps are slashed by a person on foot or on a motor scooter. The Centro Storico (city center) has the highest incidence of these types of crimes.
Pickpockets and thieves are active throughout Madrid, especially in and around tourist areas. While this can occur year-round, it is especially common during the summer months when tourism is at its highest. Most petty crimes are committed by groups of young people using distraction tactics. Pickpockets prefer tourists and tend to work in tourist and crowded areas, in addition to the Metro, airports, and train stations.
Generally, pickpockets work in small groups of two or three individuals. One or two individuals distract the victim while another thief comes from behind and snatches the wallet or cuts the victim’s purse/bag and steals the contents. The most common type of pick-pocketing involves a woman’s purse being cut, generally where the zipper meets the fabric, or the slashing of the interior pocket of a man’s jacket or even the front pants pocket. Other popular methods involve the pickpocket simply colliding with the victim and snatching the wallet or having an accomplice drop items at the feet of the victim to create a distraction. When the helpful victim bends down to assist in picking up the items, a second thief comes from behind and commits the theft.
- Plan ahead when you are going to an unfamiliar part of the city so you do not have to pull out a map on a sidewalk.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Exercise extra caution at night and at train stations, airports, nightclubs, bars, and outdoor cafés.
- Never carry large amounts of cash, and carry small amounts in more than one place in case you are robbed. Carry a decoy wallet with small bills.
- If you must carry a wallet, put it in a front or breast pocket—never in your back pocket.
- Carry money, credit cards, and important documents under your clothing in a security pouch or belt, if possible.
- If you must carry a purse or bag, strap it diagonally across your chest.
- If you wear headphones while out and about in the city or on public transportation, be sure to have the volume low enough so you can hear what is going on around you.
- Never walk alone late at night; plan to take a taxi home. Use the buddy system so you can monitor and help each other, and always carry enough money for cab fare home.
- Be careful about who you approach for directions.
- Never get into a car with a stranger or someone you just met.
- If you are using a backpack, do not store your camera or other valuables where they can be removed without notice. When in crowds or on public transportation, carry your backpack or bag in front of you where you can see it.
- Leave anything you do not need in your room; this includes your passport! Carry a copy of your passport.
- Dress to blend in with the local culture. College sweatshirts, sweatpants, baseball caps, ﬂip-ﬂops, and shorts are all associated with Americans and may make you a target for a pickpocket.
Make a copy of the first page of your passport to use as a form of ID so you can leave your actual passport safe in your room. Immediately notify the nearest American embassy or consulate, local authorities, and the ACCENT staff if your passport is lost or stolen.
You are responsible for all of your belongings both inside and outside of program housing. Protecting your personal property against potential theft is often as simple as locking your doors and windows. Many thefts occur due to negligence in securing accommodations. Carry your room key and lock your apartment door whenever you are not inside, even for a short period of time. Intentionally leaving your door unlocked is just an opportunity for theft of property, your personal information, and more.
Demonstrations & Strikes
Demonstrations, rallies, and protests are common in Madrid and are usually in reaction to labor disputes or domestic and foreign policy issues. Most demonstrations and protests are nonviolent, but violence may erupt. If you find yourself caught in the middle of a protest, seek shelter. Do not participate in demonstrations.
In Italy, strikes and other work stoppages occur frequently in the transportation sector (national airlines, airports, trains, and bus lines); most are announced in advance and are of short duration. Reconfirmation of domestic and international flight reservations is highly recommended.
Spain faces terrorism threats from both the Basque terrorist organization ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna - Basque Fatherland and Liberty) and al-Qa’ida elements and cells. ETA traditionally directs its attacks against government officials (police, military, and politicians) and facilities, as well as journalists and business executives (especially those involved in bringing high-speed rail to the Basque region). While ETA operates principally in the areas of northern Spain and southwestern France, attacks do take place in other areas including Madrid, Andalusia, and Barcelona.
In Italy it is most often connected to Italian internal developments or social issues. in Italy is most often connected to Italian internal developments or social issues.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Transportation & Road Safety
Spain has an excellent network of roads and highways. Spain’s bus system is extensive, serving cities and rural areas. The Madrid subway system is extensive and inexpensive. Train travel is reliable, though not as fast as the bus (with the exception of the high-speed AVE or Alta Velocidad Española).
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 conventions 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 or cyclists and scooters or other vehicles. Be particularly cautious if you choose to rent a scooter.
You must obey local transportation laws and regulations. You must purchase train tickets and validate them by punching them in 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 or kiosks. 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, it will automatically double and will be forwarded to the violator’s home address.
Use only officially licensed taxis. They are governed by strict legislation and standards are higher than in unlicensed taxis.
In Spain, licensed taxis are normally white with a red diagonal band on the door and will display a LIBRE (free) sign or an illuminated green light at night when they are available. Look for the taximeter inside and word TAXI painted on the outside. Asking for a receipt will deter most drivers from overcharging. Most cities have phone reservation and radio dispatch services for added security.
In Italy, a white vehicle with a red shield with “Comune di Roma” on the side door will indicate a licensed taxi from Rome County.
- 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, may be lacking, or can be extremely congested.
- 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 light illuminated.
- Traffic lights are limited and often disobeyed, and a different convention of right-of-way is observed.
- Be careful and attentive at all times; do not talk on the phone or wear headphones when crossing streets.
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 U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning 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, U.S. Embassy, U.S. 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 voluntary departure on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy. Principal Italian cities, with the exception of Naples, do not lie near these faults; however, smaller tourist towns, such as Assisi, are near faults and have experienced earthquakes.
Italy also has several active volcanoes generating geothermal events. Mt. Etna, on the eastern tip of the island of Sicily, has been intermittently erupting since 2000. Mt. Vesuvius, located near Naples, is currently capped and not active. Activity at Mt. Vesuvius is monitored by an active seismic network and sensor system, and no recent seismic activity has been recorded.Italy also has several active volcanoes generating geothermal events. Mt. Etna, on the eastern tip of the island of Sicily, has been intermittently erupting since 2000. Mt. Vesuvius, located near Naples, is currently capped and not active. Activity at Mt. Vesuvius is monitored by an active seismic network and sensor system, and no recent seismic activity has been recorded.
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. 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.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
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 at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
There are four phone numbers equivalent to the U.S. 911 in Italy:
- Ambulance and Emergency Doctors: 118
- Police: 113
- Fire Department: 115
- Carabinieri (Military Police): 112
U.S. Embassy in Rome:
U.S. Citizen Services
- Emergency Services: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (walk-in)
- Non-Emergency Services (e.g., passport renewal, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and notarial): By appointment only; go to the Department of State website to schedule an appointment.
- For general inquiries: call (+39) 06 4674 2420/2421 between 3 and 5 p.m., e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (+39) 06 4674 2244
If you need immediate emergency assistance call 112 for Police, Ambulance, or Fire Department
U.S. Embassy in Madrid:
Store emergency phone numbers in your cell phone. Also, keep a hardcopy of all emergency numbers with you at all times.
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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
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conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.