Do I need a visa?

Yes! Please see the Visa section for details.

Will I be issued a physical visa in my passport?

No. Your student visa is issued electronically by the DIAC. You should print a copy of your Visa Grant Notification email or a screenshot of your visa approval within the VEVO system with your visa grant number to bring with you to Italy. Please see the Visa section for details.

What's the weather like?

Italy is a peninsula and has many types of terrain, and therefore variable weather. Although the climate in central and northern Italy can be characterized as "Mediterranean," winters may be foggy, cold and damp (similar to the mid-Atlantic states). 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.

What should I pack?

Whatever you bring, you carry in two checked luggage bags and one carry-on bag. Be prepared to move your luggage through airports, on and off buses during orientation, and up several flights of stairs to your room.  Here are some tips:

  • The Leave Half Behind Rule – Select what you think you’ll need and leave half of it behind. Nobody ever complains about having too little luggage.
  • Layering – with such a changeable climate, layer your clothes from warm to cold so you can change them up easily. Include a rain jacket. Winter weather in Central Italy is typically in the 30s/40s and snowfall is not usually heavy. Without the powerful heating that you may be used to, it will seem colder. In the summer, it is very hot with temperatures and seasons that correspond to the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Remember, though, that air conditioning is not common in homes, businesses and transport so it will seem even hotter!
  • Use Duffel Bags - with wheels or an internal framed backpack. Closet space will not be as generous as what you are used to, so even if you can get it there, you won't necessarily know where to put it.
  • Be versatile - Student rooms are normally equipped with only a foot and a half of hanging space and two, three-foot bureau drawers or the equivalent shelf space, and emptied luggage is usually stored under beds. Go for multi-purpose clothing.

How can I phone home?

There are several options you may wish to consider for keeping in touch with friends and family back home.

  • Host-country mobile—Our staff will talk to you about the benefits of buying a mobile phone after arriving in Italy – it helps you integrate and while it should be cheap for in-country texts/calls it is usually not the cheapest way to call the US.
  • International cell phone—many US cellular phone companies provide international roaming options, so you can keep your same number and contact your friends and family just as if you were home. However this is expensive for your calls and texts to/from Italian phones so contact your provider for full details.
  • Skype, FaceTime or VOiP— Teach your mom to Skype! Sign-up online for free internet communication tools before you leave and plan ahead about when to connect. Please remember that internet access, reliability, and strength may be different to what you are used to.
  • International calling card—often the most inexpensive and manageable way to call home – purchase either before departing or in-country.

Will I get the courses that I initially requested?

There is no guarantee you will get the specific courses that you requested. Because every program is different, course approval and registration processes vary. Your schedule will be established after taking your placement exams when you arrive in Italy. You should select at least two alternative course choices. Please see your program page details.

How much money will I need initially?

About $100 already exchanged into EUR for the first few days. Take an ATM card that's linked to your U.S. primary checking account.

Should I take my computer?

Some students choose to bring personal laptops for convenience. However, outlets are typically not 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 backup and that you have a surge protector. Electricity in Italy is 220 Volts, 50 Hz. In the US, it is 110 Volts and 60Hz. You will need a transformer and an adapter.  Generally, you can print your work at school or at a local cyber café. Make sure that your laptop is insured.

What happens when I arrive overseas?

When you arrive at an airport in Italy there will be plenty of signs with instructions in your 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. Once you reach immigration control officials, you will show your passport and Visa Information, and officials may ask you a few questions, but nothing daunting. Next, you'll head for the baggage 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."

When will I receive my Arcadia University transcript?

We will send an official copy of your transcript to your home school and an unofficial copy to you, once we have received your official transcript from your Italian university. Most transcripts are issued within three months of the end date of the program.

Your transcript will be withheld by Arcadia University if you have an outstanding balance on your account resulting from nonpayment of the program fee (in whole or in part) or special course surcharges, any late fees or returned check fees, damage charges, library fines, or other unmet financial obligations as deemed appropriate by Arcadia University.

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.

Should I make copies of my papers?

Yes. Many home colleges want to review the work you completed overseas before final credit is awarded. Unless you make specific arrangements with your tutors prior to departure, final exams and/or papers will not be returned to you. It is important to keep copies, therefore, of your papers, reading lists and syllabi from all of your courses.

What about insurance?

Arcadia University enrolls all participants in a comprehensive health and accident insurance plan. Details of this coverage are outlined in the health and accident insurance section of our website. 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.

Can I still vote while abroad?

Before you leave home, check with the Board of Elections at your County Court House about procedures for voting by absentee ballot. You may want to arrange for a member of your family to pick up the ballot and mail it to you. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program for more details.

What time zone is Italy?

Italy is 6 hours ahead of the U.S. eastern time zone and 9 hours ahead of the U.S. pacific time zone. The daylight savings time changes can alter the time difference for a week by 1 hour, so that in the spring Italy is 7 hours ahead and in the fall 5 hours ahead eastern standard time.

An excellent resource for determining the time in different areas of the world is The Time Now.

Do I need a passport?

YES! Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees. Make sure that your passport is valid at least six months beyond your program end date.