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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Rome Program. If your question is not answered here or elsewhere on the Rome Program website, please contact Jen Hogan international programs coordinator.

Finances

Which Rome Program expenses are applied to my U-bill?
The following expenses will be applied to a student’s U-bill:

  • Program fee
  • Tuition
  • ISU fees
  • Study Abroad Administrative Fee
  • Housing
  • Utilities/cleaning escrow

All other costs associated with the Rome Program are considered to be out-of-pocket expenses.

For more information on specific costs, click on the links below depending on which semester you are interested in.

Who can I talk to about financial aid for the Rome Program?

All questions about financial aid, including eligibility, the FAFSA form, resources for additional funding, and the time line for release of aid should be directed to Tiffany Ahrenholtz, the financial aid officer for study abroad in the Office of Financial Aid.

How much money should I bring with me to Rome?

Students will be provided with an estimate of initial expenses in pre-departure orientation. Initial expenses generally include, but are not limited to transportation from the airport to your apartment, food and other groceries, a studio key deposit, and a studio photocopy card. Semester students will also need cash for the permit of stay (please see below for a description of the permit).

How do I get Euros before I go to Rome?

To obtain Euros in the United States, contact your bank around one month before your departure. They will be able to tell you if they can order them for you. If your bank is a small local bank, you may need to call a larger national bank instead.

Should I take an ATM card or a credit card?

You should take both if you have them. You should never rely on only one method to access money. The easiest way to access cash will be with an ATM card. Make sure your pin is four numbers, rather than a combination of letters and numbers or more than four numbers. Bring two cards with you: one for your main account that you will use all the time and the other for a different account for use only in an emergency. It is also important to test your cards in the U.S. before departure.

The disadvantage to using ATM cards and credit cards abroad is associated service and exchange fees. Investigate how much your bank and credit card company will charge you to use your cards abroad.

In addition, remember to notify your bank and credit card issuer that your cards will be used abroad. If you don’t do this, they may think your card has been stolen.

Do I have to book my own flight to Rome or is that included in the program fee?

Students are required to make their own travel arrangements, including purchasing their round-trip flights. The flights for semester students must be purchased before study visas are applied for in DSN S 301, which is approximately three to four months before the program commences. Generally, fall students must purchase tickets by April and spring students by September. Summer students will receive information in pre-departure orientation regarding when to purchase flights.

Documentation

What is a Schengen visa?

A Schengen visa is an official document added to your passport allowing you to enter and travel throughout the Schengen Zone for a specified amount of time and for a specified purpose. Countries in the Schengen Zone include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

All participants in the fall and spring Rome Programs are required to have a study visa, and you will receive instructions on how to apply for one in DSN S 301 the semester before you go to Rome. Students participating in the summer Rome Program who would not need a visa for tourist purposes (U.S. citizens and citizens of certain other countries) do not need a study visa. Summer students from countries other than the United States should contact Jen Hogan about the necessity of a study visa.

Why do I need a Schengen visa for the Rome Program?

Americans can travel in Europe for up to 90 days with a U.S. passport for tourist and study purposes only. When the program is longer than 90 days (fall and spring semester programs) a visa is required to legally enter and stay in the country. Students holding a passport of one of the countries listed above in question 1 do not need to obtain a visa for any length of stay.

How do I apply for a Schengen visa?

Students will apply for Schengen visas in DSN S 301. Further details will be provided in class, and one night of class will be set aside to fill out the application form and submit application materials.

Where are Schengen visa applications processed?

Schengen visas for Rome Program students are issued by the Visa Department of the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago.

How long does it take for Schengen visa applications to be processed?

Visa applications are usually processed within 4 to 20 business days. However, the process could take up to 90 days, and there is no legal right to a visa.

What is a Permit of Stay?

All non-European Union citizens who wish to live in Italy for more than 90 days are required to obtain a Permesso di Soggiorno or Permit of Stay to be in the country legally. Students will be advised in DSN S 301 about the current cost of the permit.

Students participating in the summer Rome Program are in Italy for less than 90 days and are required to obtain a Dichiarazione di Presenza or Declaration of Presence instead, which is free.

Housing

What are the apartments like?

Apartment living in Rome is one of the more memorable experiences associated with the Rome Program. In most cases, accommodations are very different from what students are familiar with in Ames. Room sizes and apartments in general are smaller than in the United States. All of the apartments are furnished and come supplied with dishes, cooking equipment, towels and linens.

How many students live in each apartment?

Typically, apartments accommodate between six and eight students. Bedrooms are doubles or triples, and each apartment normally has two bathrooms.

Where are apartments located?

Apartments are located in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome, which is a reasonable walking distance from the studio. Students who think their apartments are too far away should investigate the public transportation system in Rome. Monthly public transport passes are available for the equivalent of approximately $50/month, providing students with a quicker way to get to and from the studio as well as the opportunity to cheaply explore the city when not in class.

Is there Internet access? Telephone access?

All apartments have wireless Internet access and telephones.  The apartments also feature and intercom to communicate with housing staff members.

How is housing distributed?

The housing office prepares a list of available apartments for the semester. Students will be asked to organize into groups according to the number of apartments and how many beds are available in each. Apartments will be distributed on the basis of student preferences whenever possible, and flexibility on everyone’s part will make the distribution process run much more smoothly.

Can I arrange my own housing?

Students participating in the Rome Program must live in the housing that is arranged by the college. It is not possible to contract housing on your own.

Family & Friends

Is it possible to visit my student in Rome?

Yes, it is possible to visit while your student is studying in Rome. However, the first priority of Rome Program students is academics, and they will not be able to miss class while you are visiting.

When is the best time to visit?

It is recommended that visitors don’t come to Rome during the first two or last two weeks of the semester. Field trips outside of Rome are also scheduled during the semester and these dates should be avoided because they are for Rome Program students only. In general, family or friends should visit only when the student thinks he or she is able to handle the workload in Rome, which is more demanding than in Ames. For more information on specific program dates, click on the links below depending on which semester you are interested in.

Where can I stay in Rome? Could I stay in my student’s apartment?

As noted in the housing rental agreement, student apartments are for the exclusive use of the students. Therefore, no guests are allowed for overnight stays in student apartments. Ignoring this regulation is grounds for cancellation of the rental agreement, forfeiture of rent paid, and removal from the apartment.

Click here for more information on finding suitable accommodations in Rome.