Ready to Go to Italy
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a passport?
YES!!!! Visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees.
Do I need a visa?
YES!!!! See the section on visas for more information.
What about insurance?
Arcadia University enrolls all participants in a health and accident insurance plan with HTH Worldwide. The plan covers the costs of treatment for most sicknesses and injuries up to $500,000 with no deductible. Details of this coverage are outlined in the health and accident insurance section of our website. Specific questions should be addressed to the insurance carrier. Please note that Arcadia University does not provide insurance for your possessions. We encourage you to purchase coverage for them or to leave irreplaceable valuables at home.
Will I get the courses that I requested on my initial application or course selection form?
There is no guarantee you will get the specific courses that you requested. Your schedule will be established after taking your placement exams when you arrive in Italy. You should select at least two alternative course choices.
Will my credits transfer back home?
Only your home college can answer this question, so be sure and safe – ask now, and obtain all the approvals you'll need. For more information regarding credit transfer policies, please visit the “Credits/Grades/Transcripts” section of our website.
How much money will I need initially?
About $200 for meals and basic expenses during the orientation. Take an ATM card that's linked to your primary bank account in the US.
If it is linked to either the Plus or Cirrus systems or has a Visa or Mastercard logo, your card will work in thousands of cash machines throughout the world. Make sure you know your PIN in numbers (see the banking description in your specific program section).
For Cirrus customers, the MasterCard/Cirrus Maestro Cash Machine Locator phone number is 800-424-7787. Plus customers should visit their web site at http://www.visa.com for Plus cash machine locator information. Both organizations provide information for cash machines located worldwide. (please see the section Banking in Italy).
Should I take my computer?
If you have a laptop, you might consider taking it. However, outlets are not typically plentiful in Italian apartments and it is very easy to overload the circuit box and cause a power outage. Therefore, you will want to make sure your computer has a battery back up and that you have a surge protector. Electricity in Italy is 220 Volts, 50 Hz. In the US, it is 110 Volts and 60Hz. Check your computer for a dual voltage switch, even if there is one, check with the manufacturer. You will need a transformer and an adapter. Leave your printer at home. Fluctuating air pressures may wreak havoc with the toner. And be sure your stuff is insured! (See the section on Security and Insurance under “What to Pack”). You can print your work at school or at a local cyber café.
You will need to adjust to the fact that computer use is much less widespread in Italy than it is in the United States. Your school's computer center will not be open 24-hours and there may be fewer terminals available than you are used to. You will find IBM and Apple compatible software and printers at your school's center. Also, you will not have internet access in your apartments.
Is there any financial aid to study abroad?
Arcadia University has a scholarship fund for accepted students. See the Fees and Financial Aid section of our website or call our office for further details.
Ask the study abroad adviser on your campus about other financial aid possibilities and investigate the Stafford loan and the Plus loan scheme.
Will I feel culture shock?
Italy may not be "shocking," but it will certainly be different. Give yourself time to adjust and the school time to address your needs. Returning students report feeling "out-of-it" when they arrive overseas and when they first return to the USA. Read the description of Culture Shock for more detail.
What happens when I arrive in Italy?
The fee for Italian programs does not cover transatlantic travel. You can book a flight through your own travel agent or through the agent used by Arcadia University. Please do not try to arrange your travel plans until you review the calendar for your program and the arrival information.
When you arrive at an airport in Italy there will be plenty of signs with instructions in your airline terminal. Follow the ones that say "arrivi" or "arrivals" and you will be led to Passport Control. There will be lines for citizens of the European Community and others for non-community members. The line for non-European citizens will probably move more slowly as immigration officials verify passports. You will wind your way around to immigration control officials, where you will show your passport and Visa Information. Officials may ask you a few questions, but nothing daunting.
Next, you'll head for the luggage claim carousel or "ritiro bagagli." Check on the overhead monitors to see where your plane's luggage has been unloaded. In this area, there may also be an ATM machine and/or a change bureau or "cambio" where you can obtain some Italian currency.
If your luggage is missing, you must fill out a report in the baggage claim area at the luggage desk for your specific airline. Make sure you take a copy of this report to claim your luggage later.
After collecting your luggage, you will see signs for customs or "dogana." In general, you will not have anything to declare unless you are carrying goods that exceed the duty free limit. Follow the green signs ("nothing to declare") through the customs area and head towards the exit or "uscita."
What's the weather like?
Italy is a peninsula and has many types of terrain. Although the climate can be characterized as "Mediterranean," winters may be foggy, cold and damp (similar to the mid-Atlantic states). This type of weather is found in central and northern Italy. As buildings are not heated to the same degree in Italy as they are in the U.S., it may seem colder than you would expect. Summers can be very hot and air conditioning is not a regular feature in buildings and homes. Relief can be found at the seaside, by cooling yourself off with water from the numerous fountains around town, or by savoring a cone of delicious gelato.