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Rome & Madrid
Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hours
European Transformations, Rome & Madrid

- Spring Quarter

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.

While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network

 UCEAP Online

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.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Italy and UCEAP Spain Facebook pages.

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).

Contact Information

Program Advisor
Rebecca Kwon
Phone: (805) 893-4138; E-mail:
Program Specialist
Ann Rotlisberger
Phone: (805) 893-4138; E-mail:
Academic Staff
Monica Rocha

Rachel Ogletree

Phone: (805) 893-2712
Student Finance Accountant
Christine Rehage
(805) 893-8459; E-mail:
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
Academic Information
Program Overview
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.

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.

As a means of deepening your appreciation for both of the cities in which you will study, a language course (City course) is taught in combination with a course to introduce various of the most interesting aspects of your new urban setting (Core course).
Academic Culture


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 per course during the program. Each absence beyond the limit will result in a deduction of 3% points from the student’s raw total in that course.
  • 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
Course Information

Course Registration

You will receive information on how to register for classes online by email. Be sure to check the email 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. 

City and Core Courses

Students with the equivalent of one year of 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.
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. 

Course Schedule

Classes are held Monday through Friday with some required activities on weekends. There may be some make-up classes scheduled to account for 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 on weekends.


Course Information

Program Requirements:
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. In total you will take four courses for 15 UC quarter units.
  • You may select one course for pass/no pass credit.
  • All courses must be taken for the full unit values. The variable unit option is not available on this program.

Grades are typically transmitted in mid-July.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation

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.
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself

Educate Yourself

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 and
The ACCENT website also has useful background information about the Rome and Madrid Centers, and the ACCENT blogs for Rome and Madrid and ACCENT's Rome and Madrid 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.

Coping Strategies

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.
Travel Planning
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 European Transformations Group Facebook page.
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 calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Travel Documents


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 who are US Citizens and enrolled in the quarter program do NOT need a visa.
Non-U.S. Citizens
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.
EU Citizens
If you are an EU citizen, you do not need a visa.

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, you will only have a little less than two weeks for travel before or after your program. There is additional information about this in your Pre-Departure Checklist.
 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.

Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students

Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley, contact the Undocumented Student Program

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at
Packing Tips
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.”

Packing Tips

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 tends 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.

Electrical Current

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 protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage.  Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss. 
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Return Transportation
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.
While a return ticket is not required for US Citizens, some airlines may require proof of a return ticket in order to allow boarding prior to departure. Because of this UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing a changeable/refundable return ticket prior to leaving for the program. 

Financial Information
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.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
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.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.
Handling Money Abroad

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 website.

Initial Expenses

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.

ATM Cards

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.
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.

Credit Cards

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.

Wiring Money

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.
Communications Abroad
Internet Access

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.
Mail & Shipments


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.
[Student name]
c/o ACCENT/UC Rome Study Center
Piazza dell’Orologio, 7
00186 Rome, ITALY
[Student Name]
c/o ACCENT Madrid Study Center
Paseo General Martínez Campos, 42 Bajo 4
28010 Madrid, SPAIN
Housing & Meals


Madrid – Student Residence Hall

Your stay at the residence hall is pre-arranged by ACCENT and paid directly to UCEAP. You do not need to reserve your room for your stay during the program.

You will be in a double room with private bathroom to be shared with one other UC student.
The residence hall is in central Madrid about a 20 minute walk from the UCEAP/ACCENT Madrid Study Center, which is where your in-class lectures will take place. Amenities in the residence include a cafeteria for the included full-board meal plan, on-site gym, TV room and a common study space.​


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 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and a security guard is on duty after hours (9 p.m.– 4 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: Spaniards typically socialize in public locations, such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and parks. Living spaces are usually reserved for rest and studying. 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 residence halls, 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. 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.
At the residence hall in Madrid, Residence Trastevere, each room at  is furnished with a kitchenette including a microwave, sink, fridge, and storage space. No stove is available for safety reasons. Instead, the student residence offers a full-board meal plan at the cafeteria, so students receive three meals per day, seven days a week except during the spring and winter breaks (Holy Week and Christmas). Students use their key card to access the dining area and special dietary requirements reported will be considered. There is also a to-go service for students to get their lunch meal to-go if not able to eat in.​

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.

Eating Out

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.
Important to Know About Housing
​Housing assignments in both cities are based on your original housing request form as rooming lists must be submitted to the housing providers in both Madrid and Rome well before the program start date.  Keep in mind that housing assignments (roommates and flatmates) are likely to change from the first city to the second city, since apartment size and configurations are different in Rome and Madrid. New roommate requests for housing in the second city cannot be accommodated after the start date of the program.

Students should be aware that apartments in Madrid and Rome vary in style and size.  Madrid apartments hold few students and are in newly constructed buildings, whereas apartments in Rome are larger, hold more students and are in older buildings.  These differences in housing reflect the many difference students will encounter between the two cities and is part of the experience of a multi-city program.

Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.

Local Transportation

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.
Extracurricular Activities

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.

Extracurricular Activities

Get Involved

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
Contact the UCEAP Program 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.

You will find accessibility and accommodations in Italy and Spain different from the US. Note-takers and tutors may be available, but there may be expenses involved, which will be your responsibility. In general, most professors are willing to give extra time for exams.


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.
Older buildings will only 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.


Italy's narrow cobbled streets and storied monuments can be a challenge for physically impaired travelers. Many Italian streets lack ramps and sidewalks, or as in Venice, feature stairs and narrow pedestrian bridges. Some major sights and hotels are accessible. Others lack ramps, elevators, or accessible bathrooms. Within the city of Rome, some metro stations are wheelchair accessible. Some buses have wheelchair access, but service is inconsistent.
For more information:
Travel Sign-out Form

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.

Travel Sign-Out

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 US), 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.
Working Abroad
LGBTIQ Students


Anti-discrimination laws exist. Urban centers such as Rome, Bologna, and Florence are generally tolerant of LGBT individuals. Students may face isolated incidents of discrimination throughout the country, particularly in more conservative, rural areas. Isolated cases of anti-gay hate crimes are unlikely but possible.


LGBT community is widely accepted throughout the country. Discrimination in employment is banned.
​For more information,

UCEAP Insurance

Know Before You Go

While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations. Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance. You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process or about non-medical claims.
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status

Contact ACI at

Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
Before departure, review the US CDC Travelers’ Health Information website for specific health information for all your travel destinations.
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. 
See the Insurance tab for information on your insurance coverage and how to submit a claim.
Physical Health

If you feel sick or injured, seek medical attention, and contact the Study Center staff immediately. They can help you locate a medical clinic, provide guidance with the UCEAP insurance claims process, and help coordinate with your professors if extended absence is expected.

Basic Wellness

Your behaviors have a significant impact on your wellness. Observe healthy habits:

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and smoking.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Get routine exercise.

Know Before You Go

Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
Prescription Medications


  • While on UCEAP you are covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.  Inform yourself, UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
  • If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing physician explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name. 

    Note:​ If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it. 
  • If you need to find out if an appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
  • Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.


  • If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
  • Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
  • If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal or unlicensed in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
  • Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
  • Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.


  • Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is a liquid, consult the US Transportation Security Administration, Traveling with Medications.
  • Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
  • Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.

Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary? 

If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor.  If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage.  The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.

Consult with ACI about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage for prescriptions, Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.​​​​

Never mail medications abroad nor have them mailed to you.  Customs may not accept them or they may impose high fines and you will need to follow a complex bureaucratic process to get your medications out of Customs.

Medical Alert ID

If you have significant allergies or chronic medical conditions, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or a Medic Alert emblem.  For more information, you can contact American Medical ID

Mental Health


If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen, so a local physician can assess your needs.

Consider the country where you will be living and studying. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition? 

If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, may be problematic, along with narcotics. What substances are prohibited in any given country varies. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.​

Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.


  • Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
  • The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at


SINEWS, a multilingual therapy institute offered through HM Hospital de Madrid, has bilingual licensed clinical psychologists to help you deal with emergencies 24/7.
Are you a sexual assault survivor? Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts? Personal crises need immediate professional help.

SINEWS Multilingual Therapy Institute
M-F 8:30 am - 9:30 pm
Sat 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Tel: (+34) 91 700 19 79
Health Risks
Food Allergies
​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. 
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section.​
Air Quality
Staying Safe

Refer to the US Department of State Italy and Spain country information.

Minimize Risk
The topic of safety will be covered in greater detail at the orientations in Madrid and Rome.

Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.

With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.


Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.

Report anything suspicious to local authorities.  Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff.  Schedule direct flights, if possible.  Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area.  Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency.  If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible.  Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.

Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety

  • Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
  • Assess your surroundings. Observe and learn to recognize danger.
  • Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your feelings; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
  • Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety. This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other. Choose your buddy wisely. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?

Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate

Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.

Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider

You will be automatically registered with iJET International, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.


Before traveling, always consult the host International Office and the US Department of State Students Abroad web resource. You must comply with all travel advisories issued by the host university, UCEAP, and the Department of State.

Crime & Prevention

Minimize your chance of becoming a victim

Petty crime is prevalent in Spain and Italy. Report lost or stolen items immediately to the police. Keep a copy of the police report for UCEAP insurance claims and as an explanation of your loss.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not walk alone at night.
  • Learn which areas of the cities to avoid. 
  • Look like you know where you are going, even if you do not. Plan before you go to an unfamiliar part of the city so you do not have to pull out a map on the sidewalk and advertise to thieves that you are lost.
  • Dress to blend in. College sweatshirts, sweatpants, baseball caps, flip-flops, and shorts are all associated with Americans and will likely make you a target.
  • Save emergency numbers in your phone. Carry a hardcopy version in case your phone is lost or stolen.
Protect Your Belongings
  • Never carry large amounts of cash. Separate your cash and documents among various pockets.
  • Carry your wallet in a front pocket, or in a security money belt/pouch under your clothing. Never carry valuables in your back pocket where it is subject to theft.
  • Carry your purse/bag diagonally across your chest. Keep your hand on your purse or in your wallet pocket.
  • Never put your purse, backpack, or other belonging at your feet or on the seat next to you. Keep belongings on your lap at all times, especially on the metro.
  • Do not store your camera or other valuables in pockets where they can be removed without notice.

Drugs and Alcohol

UCEAP expects you to abide by the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.

Drinking even a small amount of alcohol can lead to dangerous or even deadly situations. Drinking can impair a person's judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Your reaction to the immediate effects of alcohol depends on body size, genetics, and when and what you last ate.

Drink Responsibly
  • Stay in control of your drinking.
  • You are vulnerable when you are drunk, and become a potential target for criminals and other people that may take advantage of your impaired state. You are also more likely to have an accident.
  • Never leave your drink unattended, or accept a drink from a stranger, as this may allow for someone to spike your drink. "Date-rape" drugs, GBH, and liquid ecstasy are examples of drugs used against victims in bars and clubs.
  • Plan to take a licensed taxi home. Store the taxi number in your phone. 


Photocopies of Important Documents

Make photocopies of your passport, credit car/ATM numbers, emergency phone numbers, etc. Store them in a safe place (separate from the actual documents). Leave a set of copies with your parents. You might also choose to store this information in a private online account. If you lose your wallet, purse, or backpack, you will have the copies to make it easier to process a new passport or new cards.
Avoid carrying your passport with you. Make a copy of the first page of your passport to use as a form of ID and leave your actual passport safe in your room. In the event your passport is lost or stolen, immediately notify the nearest US embassy or consulate, local authorities, and the Study Center.

Specific Risky Circumstances



While you are traveling in Italy, you are subject to Italian law. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Persons violating Italian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. If you break local laws in Italy, your US passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Do not sign any documents that you do not understand until you are able to speak with the a US Consulate official. If arrested, request politely to speak with an official from the US Mission.
Arrest notifications in Italy: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest US embassy or consulate if a US citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the US is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest US embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
You must obey local transportation laws and regulations: You must purchase train tickets and validate them by inserting them into validating machines, which are usually located near the entrance of train tracks, prior to boarding. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an on-the-spot fine by an inspector on the train.


Do not walk alone down deserted streets, including during the siesta.
Persons violating the laws of Spain and Andorra, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Spain and Andorra are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. 
Civil Unrest

Demonstrations & Protests

Avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas, or other measures to control crowds.
If violence erupts or you feel is imminent, leave the area. If you cannot leave the area, seek shelter in large public buildings such as hotels, churches, stores, hospitals, and museums. Wait until the crowds have dissipated before going back outside.
Traffic & Transportation Safety



Public Transportation

Transportation in Italy is generally safe if you use common sense and observe basic precautions. If traveling with bags, keep them in sight at all times. When riding the metro, avoid depositing luggage near doors, as this is the most opportune place for theft, especially when the train is stopped.
A conductor or member of Italy’s railway police (Polizia Ferroviaria) is present on most trains. A member of the railway police is almost always present on long-distance and night trains and greater numbers regularly patrol train stations. Emergency brakes are also available, but a heavy penalty can be levied against someone who unnecessarily stops the train.
Bus travel in Italy is generally very safe with the most common threat being petty theft. Pay close attention to your belongings.

Obey local transportation laws and regulations

Purchase train tickets and validate them by inserting them into validating machines, which are usually located near the entrance of train tracks, prior to boarding. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an on-the-spot fine by an inspector on the train. You must purchase bus tickets prior to boarding and validate them immediately after boarding. Tickets may be purchased at tobacco stores, street kiosks and automatic vending machines. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an immediate fine imposed by an inspector on the bus. If the violator does not pay the fine on the spot, the fine will automatically double and will be forwarded to the violator’s home address.

Road Safety

Italy has one of the highest rates of car accident deaths in the European Union. Streets in Italian historic city centers are often narrow, winding, and congested. Motor scooters are very popular, and scooter drivers often see themselves as exempt from rules that apply to automobiles. Pedestrians and drivers should be constantly alert to the possibility of a scooter’s sudden presence. Most vehicle-related deaths and injuries involve collisions between pedestrians/ cyclists and scooters or other vehicles. Be particularly cautious if you rent a scooter. UCEAP strongly discourages operating any kind of motorized vehicle. While in Italy, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. For more information, visit the Association for Safe International Travel.

Pedestrian Safety

Make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations.
Be careful and attentive. Traffic is heavy in major cities, and pedestrians are numerous. Sidewalks are sometimes narrow, congested, uneven, or nonexistent. Motorists may not stop for pedestrians in crossings. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets. Cross only when using a marked crosswalk with a green avanti (“walk”) light illuminated. Traffic lights are limited and often disobeyed.



Public Transportation

Spain has an excellent network of roads and highways.  Public transportation in large Spanish cities is generally excellent and travel is usually secure. Do not drive. Spain has a high rate of car accidents, especially among young people. 
In larger cities, subways, buses, commuter trains, trolleys and their associated stations are havens for thieves, pickpockets, and purse-snatchers. Use security money belts under your clothing. Keep loose items, such as cameras and purses, within a larger and securable carrying bag. Keep it in front of you, on your lap.
Rail service is comfortable and reliable, but varies in quality and speed. Intercity buses are comfortable and inexpensive.
Travel tips:
  • Travel during the day. If overnight travel is required, book tickets only on international rail lines, in a lockable cabin.
  • Never travel alone.
  • Use the highest class of travel and the most direct booking available.
  • Train stations are usually open 24 hours a day and have limited security. Stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid using the station’s public restrooms if they are vacant or not guarded by an attendant.



Licensed taxis usually provide a more secure means of transport. Use only officially licensed taxis. They are governed by strict legislation and standards are higher than in unlicensed taxis. 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 the vehicle, and word TAXI painted on the outside.
If you have a problem or suspect you are being over-charged for a taxi ride, ask for an official receipt. The license number for the taxi should be located in a metal plaque by the passenger window. This number identifies a specific taxi and can prove useful in the event of forgotten property or if you decide to file a complaint.
Most cities have phone reservation and radio dispatch services for added security. Use only telephone-dispatched taxis after dark.

Pedestrian Safety

Road safety is a concern. Practice safe pedestrian behaviors:
  • Pedestrian crossings are marked with black and white (zebra) wide striped lines. Use these indicated crossings.
  • Cross streets at a corner, using traffic signals where available.
  • If there is no traffic light at the crossing, the pedestrian has the right of way, but cross with caution. Spanish drivers do not usually stop at zebra crossings unless they are accompanied by traffic lights.
  • Do not assume cars will stop or that they see you - always check to make sure both directions are clear.
  • When going out at night, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
  • Exercise increased caution where the view is restricted before you cross.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
If at any time you want to report any concerns or need immediate assistance, contact the local program staff immediately.


Rape is a criminal offense. The law criminalizes the physical abuse of women including by family members, allows for the prosecution of perpetrators of violence against women, and helps abused women avoid publicity. Sexual harassment is illegal, and the government effectively enforced the law.


The law prohibits rape and violence against women. The government generally enforced the law effectively. The law also prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence chapter.

University of California Policy

Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/o​r University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local partners and/or UCEAP staff if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
Natural Disasters
Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy. Principal Italian cities, with the exception of Naples, do not lie near these faults. Smaller tourist towns, such as Assisi, are near faults and have experienced earthquakes.
Fire Safety
Most college-related fires in the US are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
  • Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the US

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.

In Italy:

There are four phone numbers equivalent to the US 911 in Italy:
  • Ambulance and Emergency Doctors: 118
  • Police: 113
  • Fire Department: 115
  • Carabinieri (Military Police): 112
US Embassy in Rome:
US 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 or fax (+39) 06 4674 2244

In Spain: 

If you need immediate emergency assistance call 112 for Police, Ambulance, or Fire Department
US Embassy in Madrid:
Store emergency phone numbers in your cell phone. Also, keep a hardcopy of all emergency numbers with you at all times.
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.