Assistant Director of International Programs
Office of International Programs, HU 136
Thank you for your interest in our study abroad programs! The goal of this page is to help you better understand the Rome Semester 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 son/daughter who might be able to fill in some of the gaps. 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 with students, parents and the university. 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. Please keep in mind that due to the FERPA federal regulation, we will not be able to discuss specific information regarding your son/daughter; however, if your son/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 son/daughter to accomplish his or her goal of learning, living, and serving abroad. We look forward to working with you and your son/daughter.
Travel to Rome
Students fly into Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, also commonly known as Fiumicino Airport. Students are met at the airport by the assistant director onsite and they travel together by bus to St. John's University building in the Prati neighborhood of Rome where they will leave their luggage and proceed to the orientation hotel.
Please make sure your son/daughter is at least three hours early to the airport for proper check-in and to go through security. Students should carry with them: their passport with visa, money, ATM card, credit card, any prescription drugs they might need, and clothes in case your luggage gets delayed.
It is very important for your son/daughter to check the airline’s website to make sure that their luggage complies with weight and bag restrictions. International flights are very strict about luggage size and weight and it is something that can change weekly, so checking the website periodically as your student prepares to go is highly suggested.
Loyola has an onsite director, Dr. David Dawson-Vasquez, and staff that work with our students while in Rome on all aspects of their study abroad experience (questions, concerns, illnesses, and homestays). Dr. Dawson-Vasquez also teaches courses in theology and history.
Housing in Rome
Housing is only available with host families in the Rome program. The housing authority (Italiaidea) we use is very thorough in making placements. Students do complete a host family application form about their personal habits, traits and preferences once they are accepted into the program. Italiaidea (the housing authority) is responsible for selecting the participating host families. They do have a contingent of about half of the host families who have been with them since the program started in 2002. The other half usually turns over every few years. New host families are only considered on recommendations from our long-standing host families or through Italiaidea’s personal contacts. They are also interviewed to make sure that they are suitable and are a good fit for the program.
Host families are generally situated around Rome outside of the city center. The hosts provide the students with a private bedroom, and some families have two spare rooms to accommodate two students in the program. The commute from the host families to school is generally around 45 minutes using public transportation. Depending on where the family lives, students may be taking a bus or the metro or a combination of both.
One common thread is that most of the host families do not speak English. Italaidea does not do placements based on level of English versus level of Italian. There are more important aspects of living together that they focus on for placements. It is important to keep in mind that the host families know that they will likely have a student who speaks little or no Italian and they are up for the challenge and work with the students to find ways to communicate. Most of the host families have had our students before, so they know what to expect. The more students interact with their hosts, the better their Italian will be at the end of the semester.
Visit the state department for country specific information on Italy, along with travel alerts and travel warnings.
Criteria for Acceptance
For the Loyola study abroad program in Rome, students must have a minimum of 2.75 CQPA. They should apply to Loyola’s Office of International Programs by Wednesday after Thanksgiving break of their sophomore year, in order to be considered for fall or spring semester spots in their junior year. Disciplinary records from the school’s Office of Student Life are taken into consideration when reviewing applications. Students should mark down second and third choices in the event that we cannot offer them a spot in the Rome program. There are usually 30 available spots for each semester. Lastly, it is required that students find at least five classes in this program that fit into their Loyola degree program.
Money and Banking
We do not encourage students to open up an Italian bank account. It is best to use their U.S. bank account. Students will be able to withdraw money from any ATM in Europe (as long as the account has a debit card instead of an ATM card). You should check with your bank to make sure that the student’s debit/credit card will work overseas, and find out the fees associated with using the account internationally (do the same with any credit cards). In the past former students from the program recommended withdrawing the maximum amount allowed from ATMs while in Rome, and then keeping their cash in their bedrooms while bringing out only the amount that they need each time they leave home. This will save on ATM fees. You should also check to see if your bank is partnered with any European banks. Usually in that case, students can use the partner’s ATMs for free or for a very low fee. Credit/ Debit cards are not as widely accepted in certain European countries as they are in the U.S. People tend to use cash more frequently. Students should make sure that they are signed up for web banking for all accounts that they will be using overseas. That way they can monitor any fees that are being charged, as well as know their balance in American dollars. When using ATMs in Europe, all information and dispensed currency will be in Euros. Check www.xe.com for the current currency conversion.
Students should bring over about 300 Euro in cash for the first few days in Rome. You can order Euro from your bank, or depending on the size of the branch, it may already have Euro on hand. For the first weekend, students will need to pay for their lunch each day, a cell phone with a SIM card, and a taxi to their host family. They will also need approximately 156 Euros in cash(price subject to change) for their residence permit which they will get in the first week. Once they have been there for a few days they will be able to get to an ATM to get more money as needed. It is not a good idea to bring U.S. cash or travelers checks with you, unless it is a small amount to use in case of emergency.
Expenses while abroad
Living in Europe for four months can be very expensive. It seems that most students who studied in the spring 2013 semester spent from $4000 – $7500. It is very important that students are conscious of their money from the very first week. It is easy for students not to think about their budget until they realize that they have gone through half of it in the first month. The Rome program includes some meals with the host families, so that does help with controlling costs.
All Loyola University Maryland students who participate in the Rome program are automatically covered for emergency evacuation insurance, as it is part of the Frontier MEDEX and the cost is built into the program fee.
Students are required to obtain a student visa to study in Italy, as well as a residence permit upon arrival in Rome. To apply for a visa, students must have a passport that is valid through six months after the end of the period of study. If the student already has a passport, the expiration date should be checked to ensure that it meets the date requirement. Students should apply for a passport as soon as they know they are applying to study abroad.
Loyola facilitates the process of obtaining student visa. We will go over the required paperwork and procedures in our individual meetings and predeparture workshops. Loyola will take the Italian visa applications, passports and all paperwork during the semester, and then will redistribute the visas and passports back to the students.
The Italian visa process requires a lot of paperwork and documentation! The students will fill out the application in one of our workshops. However, there is a lot of information that must be presented with the application to the Italian Consulate. In addition to submitting the passport, application and a photo, students must also submit financial information from themselves and sometimes their parents. The student’s financial sponsor is required to submit an original bank statement (with account numbers and addresses blocked out) showing that there are funds of approx. $4000 available. The sponsor must also complete an Affidavit of Support (this is distributed to the students) that must be notarized. A recent passport-size photograph (2”x2”), official Loyola transcript, and a copy of a driver’s license or state ID are also necessary. The Italian government has the right to change its requirements, and students and parents must remain flexible to such changes.
The student visa is what allows the students to enter Italy. Once they arrive, our onsite director will facilitate the process of obtaining their residence permit (permesso di soggiorno), which will allow them to stay in Italy for the duration of the program. For the residence permit, students must submit photos, copies of their health insurance information, and copies of their entire passport. The permit costs 155.12 Euro (as of 7/2013). Students will be given the latest information on the permit requirements in the predeparture workshops.
**Please keep in mind that study abroad information, dates, benefits, and fees are subject to change without notification. You are encouraged to contact the Office of International Programs directly for the most up-to-date information regarding any study abroad programs offered at Loyola.