Loyola University Maryland

International Programs

Florence: Information for Parents

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 Fairfield University to send students to Florence, Italy for a semester. Students in the Fairfield program will attend classes at  the Florence University of the Arts.The university was founded in 1997 and has 7 campus locations located throughout Florence city center. All facilities are equipped with free internet access. All courses are taught in English (except for Italian) and are taught by both local and international faculty.  Additional information can be found on the Fairfield website

Application Requirements

Students desiring to study in Florence through Fairfield University must submit a completed, online application to Loyola first. The Loyola online application is due First Wednesday in December after Thanksgiving of a student's sophomore year.  Students must also submit their academic planning form as part of the application process. All students must declare their major and any intended minors before submitting their study abroad application online. 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 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 Fairfield. After receiving the clearance letters, students will have to submit an online application to Fairfield University. Fairfield 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 Fairfield. All correspondence from Fairfield 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 2.8 or higher can be considered for the Fairfield 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 2.8 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  4 3-credit courses, and one 3-credit Italian language 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  with the exception of the Italian language course.  The course offerings for the particular semester that student plans to study is available a year in advance.  It is the student’s responsibility to check the website for course changes throughout the semester and the summer.

Students will register for courses before departure to Florence.  All courses selected must be approved by Loyola.  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 you 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.

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 but they do offer many of our core requirements. However, it is very important for a student to have as many course options as possible. Students must have at least one elective to use abroad for the mandatory Italian language 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 who have take Italian courses at Loyola, will take a language placement exam when they arrive in Florence to determine which Italian course they will take and not repeat a course taken previously.

Students who have not taken Italian before will register for the Introductory Italian course.

Language courses, beginning with Introductory Italian I to Intermediate Italian II, are worth 3 -6 semester-hour credits.  Only Intermediate Italian II course 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. Students are responsible for requesting an official transcript from Fairfield University and having it sent to Loyola in a timely manner. A student’s Fairfield's account must be up to date before an official transcript will be sent to Loyola.  

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 late January with a spring break.  The program ends in  early May. Please check the Fairfield website for specific calendar dates.


Students live in comfortable, furnished apartments in the center of Florence, within a 20-minute walk to school. Bedrooms are double-occupancy, and each apartment may have from one to four bedrooms (for two to eight students). Apartment sizes and locations vary greatly. However, all will have a minimum square footage and be located in the historic center so students can enjoy the experience of immersion into Florentine daily life. As part of the acceptance process, students are required to complete a housing questionnaire for Fairfield. The information that a student provides will help the housing coordinator to match roommates.

Students can request another Loyola student to be a roommate. Living abroad requires an adjustment period. If students request to move from one apartment to another because of  differences between roommates, Fairfield will not grant this request until after two weeks have passed. If the student still wants to move, then Fairfield will try to accommodate the request. However, if students feel threatened or unsafe, students are advised to contact the program director in Florence immediately.

The option to live with an Italian family is available at an additional cost. Please check the Fairfield website for the exact cost.


Meals are not included in the program or tuition fees. Students have to make own arrangements for their meals keeping in mind that eating out in Florence can  be expensive.

Costs and Benefits

You pay Fairfield's program fee. You do not pay Loyola’s tuition and housing fees for the term a student will be abroad.  Loyola students who are accepted by Fairfield may receive academic scholarships.   All payment is made directly to Fairfield, with the exception of the $1,000 non-refundable deposit that is paid to Loyola and sent to Fairfield 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.

The program fee covers the following: 15 Fairfield university credits with grades, fully furnished apartments, airport pick up, four-day orientation tour, on-site student support with 24-hour emergency coverage, cultural activities, visa assistance for qualified students depending on Italian consulate regulations, One Amici del Museo degli Strumenti Musicali museum pass and a membership to Ganzo, a cultural association where students can purchase inexpensive gourmet meals and insurance, including full medical coverage and medical emergency evacuation.


Living in Florence and traveling around Europe can get very expensive. Students have spent anywhere from $3500 to $8,000 in a semester on top of the program fee paid to Fairfield. 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 Fairfield program fee, you should also include but not limit it to the following items:

  • Meals; 
  • Round-trip airfare;
  • Passport and/ visa;
  • Books/supplies;
  • Local transportation and personal travel;
  • Personal items (toiletries, laundry, mobile phones, internet café);
  • Entertainment;  
  • Course fees (for courses with special fees attached to them);
  • Passport Photos
  • Travel to and from the departure city/airport (United States); and
  • Personal travel (hostels, hotels, airline or rail tickets, food, etc.).

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 $1,000 non-refundable deposit to hold his or her spot in the program. The $1,000 deposit is paid to Loyola and we will send it to Fairfield.

Students can easily use both American credit cards (MasterCard and Visa mostly) and American ATM cards to pay for goods and services in Italy.  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.

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 Fairfield, 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

CISI insurance is included in the program. The insurance is valid during the entire period the student will be abroad. It also covers the students when they travel outside Italy. The students will receive the insurance card before traveling abroad. The students can visit www.mycisi.com to register and find out more information including claim forms. The insurance will cover the cost of doctor's visits (only CISI covered and some prescriptions. 

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 suggest that students obtain from their 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 Fairfield University.

Keep in mind certain medications considered legal in the United States may be 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 United Health 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

Students are responsible for their own airfaire and organizing for their own flights. Fairfield staff will be at the airport at a designated day and time to pick up the students and take the to a hotel for orientation.

On-Site Support

Fairfield has an onsite director, Ms. Joanne Maddux, a program assistant, Ali Famigletti, and a program coordinator, Silvia Casnova. The staff assists students with housing questions, residence permit process (Permesso di Soggiorno) questions, conduct an on-site orientation and the orientation field trip. They all speak English and Italian.

Please keep in mind that services and accommodations provided by Loyola may not be available in Florence through Fairfield 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 Fairfield University.  

Arrival and Contact Information

Once in Florence,  the students will stay for one night in a hotel. On day two, they will be transferred to their apartments. On day 3, they will participate in a 2nd orientation organized by the Florence University of Arts (FUA) and will have a practical walking tour in the city of Florence. On day 4 and 5, they will take part in an orientation trip to cities like Perugia, Assisi, Siena and San Gimignano. The fairfield staff assists students with housing questions, immigation questions, conduct an onsite orientation on health and safety.

Ms. Joanne Maddux- Program Director
Fairfield University- Florence Campus program
Corso dei Tintori, 7
50122 Firenze, Italia

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