Loyola University Maryland

International Programs

Florence: Information for Parents

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Program Director

Naomi Githae
Associate Director
Office of International Programs
Phone: 410-617-2920          

Thank you for your interest in our study abroad programs! The goal of this page is to help you better understand the Florence Semester affiliation study abroad program and highlight distinguishing features and components that will interest you as a parent. More detailed and updated information are given to your son or daughter in information sessions, academic reviews, workshops, and pre-departure orientations. Once you read this information, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your child first. Please know all information is given to the students, and we ask students to share all of this with you. 

Sending students abroad is a partnership that includes students, parents, university personnel, and our overseas partners. We realize that you will have questions, and if our website or your son/daughter cannot answer those questions, we will be happy to discuss the study abroad process and program information with you. However, due to the FERPA federal regulation (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), we will not be able to discuss specific information regarding your child; however, if your son or daughter is willing to sign a waiver form indicating the specific information to be shared with you, we will be more than happy to discuss specific matters regarding your son/daughter.

We hope you find this information helpful in assisting your child to accomplish his or her goal of learning, living, and serving abroad. We look forward to working with you and your son/daughter.


Loyola University Maryland has a contractual agreement with Syracuse University to send students to Florence, Italy for a semester. The Syracuse University Florence Program is centrally located at Piazza Savonarola at the Villa Rossa. It has been in Florence since 1959. The Villa Rossa is the main campus of the Syracuse Florence program. The Center houses administrative offices, classrooms, a lounge, limited computers with e-mail capability, a café bar, and a courtyard garden. The art studios are housed in their own buildings within walking distance from the Villa Rossa. Additional information can be found on the Syracuse website.

Application Requirements

Students desiring to study in Florence through Syracuse University must submit a completed, online application to Loyola first. The Loyola online application is due December 4 (Wednesday after Thanksgiving break) of a student's sophomore year. Students will need their advisor’s electronic permission, and if applicable, their coach’s approval and signature to study abroad. All students must declare their major and any intended minors before they submit their study abroad application online. Students will be turned down for clearance for the Syracuse Florence program if they have not declared a major. We strongly recommend that students submit any paperwork that involves declaring a major and/or minor or any change of major or minor far in advance of the December 4 deadline, since the above forms have to go to several different departments before it is officially declared.

Once a student submits the Loyola online application, the Office of International Programs will send each student a clearance letter giving them detailed instructions on when to apply and what documents he/she will need to submit to Syracuse. After applying to Loyola, students will have to submit an application to Syracuse University. The Syracuse admission office will review a student’s admission file and make a decision on it. An official letter of acceptance will be sent to the student from Syracuse. All correspondence from Syracuse will be via email. Therefore, it is very important that your son/daughter reads their Loyola email account on a regular basis. 

Criteria for Acceptance

Students must apply to be considered for admission. Typically, sophomores with a cumulative GPA of a 2.75 or higher can be considered for the Syracuse Florence program. All admission into this program is based on the competitive pool of the applicants for that given year. Students accepted into the Florence  program must maintain a cumulative GPA of a 2.75 or higher during their last semester before going abroad. In addition, students must be able to find enough courses that will work in their declared degree program and not have a history of serious disciplinary problems or continued small incidents on campus before and after acceptance.


Students take  three 3-credit courses, 1– 4 credit Italian language course, and 1 – 2 credit Culture and Community course for a total of 5 courses/ 15 credits. The level of difficulty in the courses in Florence is very similar to Loyola. All of the courses are taught in English in Option I, with the exception of the Italian language and culture courses. Syracuse employs faculty from their New York campus and from the University of Florence. If a student is studying in the fall, the course offerings for that particular semester will not be available until late April. If a student is studying in the spring, the course offerings for that particular semester will not be available until late November. Course information can be found on the SU Abroad website. It is the student’s responsibility to check the website for course changes throughout the semester and the summer.

Syracuse offers a pre-term course called the Greek Odyssey. This course does not fulfill any degree requirements at Loyola. However, if students take this course, the course, grade and credits will transfer and be calculated into the Loyola GPA, but it will fall under the area, "Other Courses" on the degree audit. This course has a separate fee that is not covered under the tuition and program.

Students will register for courses once they arrive in Florence. Syracuse will mail information regarding registration and send an academic packet to each student. Students are asked to complete a preliminary course selection form. All courses selected must be approved by Loyola. Students are given a list of approved courses for Florence after the course offerings for that semester is posted on-line. Students must select only the courses that Loyola has approved. If new courses are added, students are instructed to contact the office of international programs to seek approval for new courses.  Students must be able to find a full-time load of courses for abroad; the minimum is 12 credits. If we were unable to find your child at least four courses/twelve credits, we would not recommend that your son/daughter goes abroad, unless they have written permission from your stating you understand your child is not taking a full-time load of courses abroad, and that your child may have to take summer courses and/or sixth courses in order to graduate on time, or may not graduate on time as a result of not taking a full-time load of courses in Florence.

Registration will take once the student arrives abroad; there is no pre-registration. It is recommended that students prepare in advance for their time abroad by having as many course options as possible. Students with double majors or students with majors and minors may have difficulty finding enough course options for abroad. If students still choose to study abroad under these circumstances, parents need to be aware their son or daughter may have to take summer courses and/or sixth courses to keep them on track for graduation.

As part of the process, we ask students to meet with their major advisor or department chair to discuss their study abroad plans. This is extremely helpful, because students can get recommendations on how to schedule major or minor courses at Loyola based on what is may be offered abroad, or indicate any potential problems missed by the student.

The course offerings in Florence are limited and they do not offer many of our core requirements. It is very important for a student to have as many course options as possible. Students must have at least two electives to use abroad for the mandatory Italian language and Culture and Community course. It is also advised to have at least two more electives in the event there is a time conflict or a course cancellation.

Students are expected to take their examinations on the scheduled dates. Students must have completed all of the final examinations and class assignments before changing any airline tickets. Students/parents are responsible for any ticket changes.

Language in Italy

The program requires that all students take a mandatory Italian language course. Students will take a language placement exam when they arrive. Language skills in Italian will determine which Italian course a student will take in in Florence. Language courses, beginning with Introductory Italian I (101) to Intermediate Italian II (202), are worth 4 semester-hour credits. In addition to the Italian language course, students also take the 2-credit Culture and Community course to accompany the

The exception is the advanced level of Italian language courses; they are usually worth 3 semester-hour credits. Students who have not taken Italian before will register for the Introductory Italian I and the Culture and Community course.

If a student has taken Italian before, he/she will need to place into the next level in Italian abroad and not repeat a course taken previously. Students can lose credits if they repeat a course(s). Only Intermediate Italian II (202) will fulfill Loyola’s core requirement.


Loyola will transfer all courses, grades and credits where a "D" or higher is earned in approved courses. Students cannot register for courses on a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. The grades from abroad are factored into Loyola’s QPA. So that Loyola can transfer the grades, we must receive the Syracuse official transcript in a timely manner. Students are responsible for requesting an official transcript from Syracuse University and having it sent to Loyola. A student’s Syracuse account must be up to date before an official transcript will be sent to Loyola.  

Studio Arts – Fine Arts Majors/Minors

Students must submit a portfolio to Syracuse if they want to take more than one studio arts course in Florence. The portfolio will be judged by studio arts/fine arts faculty at Syracuse. Syracuse will judge portfolios and will offer acceptances to students who meet the admission criteria for the studio arts/fine arts courses. Admission into these courses is very competitive. While students may wish to bring their own brushes and other special materials, usually art supplies can be found in Florence.

Length of Stay

The fall semester begins in late August or early September with a fall break. The program ends in mid- December, before Christmas.

The spring semester begins in early January with a spring break in either March or April depending on the calendar.  The program ends in late April or early May. You can check the SU Abroad website for specific calendar dates.


On the Florence program, students live with Italian hosts. This gives students an opportunity to learn and practice their Italian, and to understand and appreciate Italian culture and customs. Italian hosts represent all walks of life and professions.  Some are traditional large families, some are retired couples, some are divorced or single parents, and some are young parents. The hosts may be working-class families or middle to upper middle class.  

As part of the acceptance process, students are required to complete a housing questionnaire for Syracuse. The information that a student provides will help the housing coordinator to place him/her with an appropriate Italian host.

Host families live all over Florence. Some Italian hosts may live in walking distance from the Villa Rossa or others may live on the outskirts of the city, which means that students may have to take public transportation to and from the Villa Rossa. Syracuse will provide students with a local bus pass that they can use on the public transportation (bus) to get back and forth from the Villa Rossa to the homestay.

Syracuse will assign two American students to one homestay. Students can request another Loyola student to live with abroad. Living abroad and with a host family requires an adjustment period. If students request to move from one homestay to another because of cultural differences or minor differences between a student and the host family, Syracuse will not grant this request until after two weeks have passed. If the student still wants to move, then Syracuse will try to accommodate the request. However, in Syracuse’s experience, after two weeks, students tend to work out their differences with their host and decide to remain there. However, if students feel threatened or unsafe, students are advised to contact the housing office in Florence immediately.

Students will not be allowed to withdraw from the homestay to make their own arrangements to move into independent housing; students will need a letter of support from Loyola. Loyola will not give this support, unless we feel there are extraordinary circumstances for us to do so. If permission were granted, students would forfeit the housing fee paid to Syracuse. Syracuse and Loyola will not be responsible for any financial commitments made for independent housing and Loyola would not be able to assist students and parents with any issues connected to the independent housing.

Students will have a break during the semester. During the break, students are required to move out of the homestay. If this presents a problem, we informed students to contact Syracuse immediately, so that they can suggest other options. Some of these options may have additional costs that the student will be responsible financially.


Continental breakfast is provided seven days a week and evening meals for five days a week, and are included in the program fee. Students will have to budget for weekend lunches and evening meals. Continental breakfast includes fruit, cereal, and pastries and breads. Students who want more for breakfast should pan to go to the café to make purchases at cost. It is not included in the program or tuition fees. Remember, eating out in Florence is expensive.

Costs and Benefits

You pay Syracuse’s tuition and program fee for Florence. You do not pay Loyola’s tuition and housing fees for the term a student will be abroad. The fees for fall 2012-spring 2013 are the following: $19,485 for tuition and $7400 for the program fee for Florence. Loyola students who are accepted by Syracuse may receive a Tuition Differential Grant.  This is reviewed each year and the amount awarded may change. All payment is made directly to Syracuse, with the exception of the $500 non-refundable deposit that is paid to Loyola and sent to Syracuse on your behalf. 

No Loyola scholarships, including but not limited to academic and athletic scholarships, grants, or any institutionally-controlled monies, can be used on the affiliation. Students with a cumulative QPA of a 3.7 or higher will be automatically considered for academic scholarships.

In the 2013/2014 academic year, our students can apply for need-based Study Abroad Grants through Syracuse University. In order to be considered for any need-based study abroad grants, families must allow Syracuse access to your FAFSA form online. If you have specific questions on the need-based grants, please contact Anne Mong at among@syr.edu or 1-800-235-3472.

The program fee covers the following: ground transportation (bus) to the Florence Center, "all-school" trips, orientation, costs for placement in private homes with continental breakfast seven days a week and five evening meals with your hosts per week, and an international ID card, plus other services not covered under tuition.

Many of the studio arts courses have additional fees attached. These fees are not covered under tuition or the program fee. Students will be billed separately for these courses.


Living in Florence and traveling around Europe can get very expensive. Students have spent anywhere from $3500 to $10,000 in a semester on top of the tuition and program fee paid to Syracuse. You will have to factor in the exchange rate when contemplating fees in Euro.

Setting a budget is very important. In addition to paying the Syracuse tuition and program fee, you should also include but not limit it to the following items:

  • Meals that are not included in the program fee;
  • Round-trip airfare;
  • Passport and/ visa;
  • Books/supplies;
  • Local transportation and personal travel;
  • Personal items (toiletries, laundry, mobile phones, internet café);
  • Permission to stay in Florence permit;
  • Entertainment;
  • Room and broad during vacation breaks – if a student remains;
  • Course fees (for courses with special fees attached to them);
  • Mandatory Italian health insurance;
  • Health insurance in the states (if your plan does not cover abroad expenses; and
  • Photos and a pre-paid, self-addressed track able USPS Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope.

Items not included but should be budgeted for:


  • *Weekend meals not covered in the program fee;
  • *Passport;
  • Cell phones and other communication expenses;
  • Medical and dental check-ups (immunizations up to date);
  • *Health insurance (to cover you outside of Italy);
  • Travel to and from the departure city/airport (United States); and
  • Personal travel (hostels, hotels, airline or rail tickets, food, etc.).
  • Transportation to and from homestay (after transportation pass runs out)

Unexpected items:

These items do not normally occur but could happen depending on the student and unforeseen circumstances:

  • Airline ticket change (student wants to come home early);
  • A hotel stay abroad for an emergency (snow storm or flight cancellation);
  • Lost keys or room damage;
  • Illness (payment of services rendered expected at the time of service); and
  • Summer school (student is behind in their degree program or a course is not offered abroad).

Money Matters

This is an affiliation program. This means that Loyola financial aid (academic scholarships, grants and other controlled sources of aid, including college work study), cannot be used to help with educational expenses. Students on athletic scholarships should consult the athletic department to see if this aid can be used abroad. Parents should contact the financial aid office to discuss your financial aid package and what will not be allowed to travel with your son/daughter. Conversations should be made with the financial aid office before your son/daughter submits the study abroad deposit to Loyola.

Students will have to submit a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold his or her spot in the program. The $500 deposit is paid to Loyola and we will send it to Syracuse.

Students can easily use both American credit cards (MasterCard and Visa mostly) and American ATM cards to pay for goods and services in Italy. This is especially useful for visits to the hospital and payments for air travel. Make sure your child contacts their bank and credit card company prior to their departure in order to let them know he/she will be in Italy for a specific period of time. It is also good to let the banks know if your child is traveling outside of Italy, too, so their card will not be deactivated.

It is a good idea to check with your bank in the U.S. to see if they have any affiliation with any banks in Italy. This may cut down on ATM/Debit card user fees. Past students recommend that students take out enough cash to last a few weeks. This cuts down on withdrawing money every week and thus incurring bank fees.

Students reported spending anywhere from $2800-$9,000 during a semester. These funds are primarily used for travel, meals, and entertainment. The exchange rate and other factors can affect spending amounts.

Documents for Abroad

Currently, the following documents are required to travel and study in Italy:

  • Valid, signed passport (with six months left after the program end date);
  • Permission di soggiorno (obtained in Italy);
  • Letter from health insurance company verifying health coverage that is valid abroad;
  • Verification of Full-Time Status letter from Loyola University Maryland; and
  • Student visa: because the Italian government has no particular deadline to return the passport with the visa to Syracuse, we recommend that students do not make any plans to travel internationally in the summer before going abroad in the fall.

Health Insurance and Health Care

The Italian Government requires that American students purchase mandatory Italian National Health Insurance. It is already included in the charge from Syracuse. The Italian insurance is only valid in Italy. Your child will not be able to use it outside of Italy. Therefore, all students will need to have a comprehensive health plan that is valid in the United State and can be used abroad in other countries.

We recommend that you contact your health insurance company in advance to check on overseas coverage. Students will have to provide proof of insurance to Syracuse and students will have to provide Loyola University Maryland with a copy of a letter from the health insurance company verifying that your health insurance will cover your child while abroad, and the plan must also include hospitalization and accident coverage.  

Before going abroad, students should make sure their immunizations are up to date before departing overseas. You can consult the CDC website or Loyola Student’s Health Center to determine what immunizations are required to study in Europe. In some cases, health care providers abroad may make recommendations to students to obtain additional shots after arriving in Italy. In cases like this, it is usually left up to the student and his/her parents/guardian as to whether or not you want your child to receive any additional immunizations abroad.

Shipping medications is not recommended. We suggested that you obtain from your doctor and pharmacist enough medication(s) to last for the duration of the program. In addition, we also recommend bringing the name, dosage, and the breakdown of the medication just in case the student needs to purchase a particular medication(s) while abroad. This information should be noted on a doctor’s stationery or prescription pad. Any medical questions or concerns should be directed to Syracuse University.

Keep in mind certain medications considered legal in the United States may be deems illegal abroad. This should be discussed way in advance of departure so that other arrangements can be discussed in the event your son/daughter will not be able to take or obtain a certain medication(s) abroad. 

If your child is currently on Loyola’s student health plan through AETNA in the spring and your child plans to study abroad in the fall, students/parents will not be able to purchase Loyola’s student health plan for abroad while your child is on an affiliation. You will need to select another carrier for overseas. Please contact Loyola’s Student Health Center at 410-617-5055.

Travel to and from Italy

Syracuse will arrange for group flights for students traveling to Florence. Syracuse group flights usually depart from JFK International Airport. If your child does not live near the airport and he/she wants to participate in the group flight, it is the student’s responsibility to pay for their own transportation to the designated departure city.

If students participate in the group flight, they will be picked up by motor coach and taken to Florence. There is a luggage limit and Syracuse will send students information on this later. One piece of luggage will be allowed on the motor coach to Florence. The rest of your luggage will be sent straight to Florence Center. Students will stay in a hotel for orientation for the first couple of days.  

On-Site Support

Syracuse has a resident director on-site, Dr. Sasha Perugini. There is a director of registration, Camille Crites, a director of housing, Mr. Kaufman, and several assistants that work with students in Florence. The staff assists students with housing questions, conduct an on-site orientation, and arrange the "all-school" field trips. They all speak English and Italian.

Please keep in mind that services and accommodations provided by Loyola may not be available in Florence or through Syracuse University. Please encourage your son or daughter to contact our office early in the process to find out more detailed information or to get in contact with the appropriate department at Syracuse University.  

Arrival and Contact Information

Once you are in Florence, you will stay in an orientation hotel. The first couple of days you will be oriented to the country of Italy and the city of Florence. You will also register for courses during the orientation in Italy. At the end of the orientation, you will meet your Italian hosts and move into your new home. The staff assists students with housing questions, conduct an on-site orientation, and arrange the "all-school" field trips. They all speak English and Italian.

Dr. Sasha Perugini –Resident Director
SU Florence
Piazza Savonarola, 15
Florence, Italy 50132; syr.fi.it