Frequently Asked Questions - Fall 2013

  1. Who is the Coordinator for the Rome Program/who do I contact about the Rome Program?
    1. If you have questions about the operations of the Rome Program, contact the Director of Student Activities and Rome Program Preparation, Miss Caitlin Bowers at cbowers@christendom.edu. Miss Bowers coordinates the Rome Program from Front Royal, facilitating plans and preparing students prior to their departure. Miss Bowers met with the students last semester to discuss transportation options, safety, finances, Roman culture, the residence, and basics of European living.    
    2. If you have questions while your student is in Rome, you may use the Rome Program Contact Information sheet and email the Director of Rome Administration and Student Life, Miss Katy Ott.  Her phone number is also listed on the Rome Program Contact Information sheet in case there is an emergency. In addition to Miss Ott, the Rome Program also has the support of two additional staff members, the Residence Coordinators, Miss Elizabeth Walsh and Mr. Gabriel Schuberg.
    3. The Director and the Residence Coordinators (RCs) are the staff members in charge of the Rome Program once the students arrive in Rome. These staff members oversee all components of the Program, travel with the students, and stay in the same hotels as the students.

  2. Can I/ should I (or my family/friends) send things to Rome via mail/UPS or similar?
    Please DO NOT send things to your student while he or she is in Rome. Italian mail is very different from U.S. mail. Students frequently have to pay substantial fees to pick up packages.  Furthermore, most packages do not make it to your student in the first place as they get held up in customs or are stolen. 
  1. How much does each student need for spending money?
    1. The amount varies. As a general rule, however, we do not recommend having less than $1,000 USD available to the student for the semester. Remember to consider the exchange rate (1 euro = $1.32 as of July 30, 2013).  “Available” doesn’t mean that needs to be the amount the student spends, but the minimum amount on hand (available to be transferred into the student’s account if needed).  Some of our students spend less than this, but most do spend this amount or more. We encourage you to think about what your financial limits may be, but also consider if you have a secondary financial source available. If the student should need more money later in the semester, a parent can transfer it into the student’s account where they can withdraw it in Italy via a debit/ATM card. There are also some U.S. banks that partner with banks in Europe, thereby allowing students to withdraw currency without any fees. Additionally, please remember to contact your student’s bank to inform them of how long they will be in Europe.
    2. Students should plan any personal (non-program related) trips in advance, accounting for additional hotel, travel, meal expenses, etc.  Additionally, souvenir costs and other similar items should be considered.  We have seen our students do anything from the most modest trip spending less than $700 with minimal side trips and souvenirs to travels to Ireland, Spain, Greece, England, and France spending an additional $3,000 or more.  We strongly encourage your student to plan as much out in advance so that the total amount of money needed can be pre-determined and you will not be surprised by their spending amounts.  
    3. Please note that the financial suggestions in this section do NOT include any emergency funds, expenses related to health or mental healthcare, or personal unplanned financial issues that may arise. Each family should consider such circumstances and evaluate their financial resources accordingly.     
       
  2. What costs are covered with the Rome Program? 
    The Rome Program covers housing and the larger portion of meal costs for the duration of the Rome Program, beginning with dinner the day the Program begins, and ending with dinner and lodging the night prior to the students morning departure from the Rome semester (dates are specifically listed in point # 16).

  3. What is the meal plan for the Rome Program?
    Students participating in the Rome Program will have a combination meal plan.  Students will dine together as a group for meals while in Assisi and Siena which are paid for by the College. While the students are living in Rome, they will stay in apartment-style hotel rooms with a small kitchen. Thus, students receive a weekly cooking stipend of 50 euro so they may shop and cook on their own or with their roommates. This stipend has been included as a part of the tuition and fees.  Please note that while the majority of students find the meal stipend sufficient, there may be some students who will have additional incidental meal costs based on their own personal eating habits.  As a guide, we can tell you that grocery store food in Italy is comparable or less expensive than grocery store food costs in the U.S.  If your student feels that this stipend is not sufficient for them, they will need to supplement the stipend with their own funds and should budget that as a part of their Rome Program expenses.     
  1. Medications and Rome
    Students on medications should bring enough medications (in original packaging) to last for the duration of their stay.  Furthermore, if taking prescription medications, it is highly recommended that students bring a copy of any prescriptions with them in their carry-on bag in case medications are lost, stolen, or run out.  Students must bring enough medication for their entire stay!
  1. Medical Care in Rome
    1. It is important to understand that, in general, medical care for the average person in Rome is substantially less advanced than medical care for the average person in U.S.  For emergencies, we use standard Rome hospital care.  If a student has a current medical condition, the student is strongly encouraged to contact their primary care physician here in the U.S. prior to their departure and follow all directives of the physician regarding their travels to Italy.  Students should be prepared with any medical documentation or resources necessary to play an active role in managing their personal health care.  Students are expected to pay for any and all medical expenses.  The College has a relationship with a doctor/medical practice in Rome for basic health care appointments. 
    2. If your student has a pre-existing condition (consider both physical and mental health conditions and circumstances) that could or will impact them during their travels in Rome, etc., they should absolutely seek the careful consultation of their primary care physician prior to participation in the Rome Program!  Again, remember that medical care in Rome is minimal and quite different than U.S. health care.  There certainly are circumstances where a student with a specific condition may be advised not to participate in the Rome Program for their ultimate health/well-being. 

  2. Insurance in Rome
    1. All students MUST have health insurance that covers them in Italy.  Furthermore, the student/parent must consider that health care costs in Rome could be very expensive, especially in an emergency situation, thus a considerable travel health insurance policy for the student is highly recommended. 
    2. Each student should carry a health insurance card with them in case health care is needed.  Further, each student will be asked to bring a photo copy of their health insurance card to give to the Rome Program staff.  The copy will be kept on file with a Rome Program staff member. 

  3. Phone access and communicating with my student in Rome
    1. Students may receive calls in their hotel rooms.  However, students may not call-out long distance from their hotel rooms.  Students should use phone cards (purchased once in Rome) to call family.  Students will have some access to internet via their hotel room and internet cafes.  If desired, students may also purchase an Italian cell phone once in Rome for about 60 euro plus phone minutes, purchased in blocks ranging in cost from 5 e uro to 100 e uro .  View the following website as one possibility for a cell phone in Italy:  http://www.vodafone.com/hub_page.html
    2. Students and parents should clearly define communication expectations and methods prior to the student’s departure (i.e., weekly email or phone call, etc.).  The Rome Program staff is not responsible for mediating communication between students, parents, family, and friends.   

  4. Visiting Family Members
    1. Can family members visit the students during the semester?
      Parents may visit their student during the Rome Program except for the portion of the program that is spent in Siena, Assisi, and Florence.  However, please consider that the students will be very busy for the entirety of the program with academic work, thus we recommend that parents travel with their student either before the Rome Program begins or after it ends. 
    2. Can I stay with my student in his/her apartment-style hotel room?
      While parents may not stay in the same apartment-style hotel room as their student when the program is taking place, based on availability, parents may book their own room in the same hotel.  See http://www.residencecandia.it/. You may also email the Director of Rome Administration and Student Life, Katy Ott, and she can assist you with making reservations at the Residence Candia in Rome as available.  Please give at least one month’s notice.
    3. To what extent are family members able to participate in Rome Program activities if they visit?
      If parents are visiting and would like to participate in some of Christendom’s Rome Program events, they should email the Director, Miss Katy Ott (kott@christendom.edu) with at least one month’s notice (the more notice you can give, the better) and accommodations for participation in most events can likely be made.  Due to space restrictions and ticketing limitations, there may be some events (including classes, Papal Audiences, visits to the Vatican Gardens, etc.) which cannot be made available to visiting family or friends.  Simply stated, if we can get you in to some event or location with the group, we certainly will. However, we appreciate your understanding if we just can’t make that happen.  Visitors are asked to pay in advance for any meals, ticket costs, etc. that they may be participating in while visiting their Rome Program student. 

  5.  How many students participate in the Rome Program?
    This Fall 2013 semester, 45 students will be participating in the Rome Program.
  1. What if there is an emergency such as an international illness outbreak or an act of terrorism?
    1. The Christendom College Rome Program will follow all directives of the U.S. Embassy in Italy and further directives of Italian officials regarding such emergencies.
    2. In the event of an extreme emergency (eg- natural disaster or terrorist attack), the Citizens’ Emergency Center of the Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) offers emergency assistance. If a student cannot be reached, the OCS can help transmit emergency messages from the family in the U.S. to the student abroad. They can be reached Monday – Friday 8:15am-10pm at (202) 647-5225.
    3. In the event of an extreme emergency, the Student Life Office on the Front Royal campus will maintain regular contact with the emergency contact person identified by the student. The Student Life Office will be updating the emergency contacts via email as often as necessary in such occurrences. Therefore, in the event of an emergency, it is imperative that the emergency contact checks his/her email as frequently as possible.

  2. Is my student allowed to travel during the program?
    Students may travel independently during designated free weekends.  Students are asked to inform the Rome Program Director and Residence Coordinator if they are leaving Rome during free weekends.  Some stipulations may apply depending on each student’s desired travel plans.    
  1. Are students allowed to come to Rome early, be late, or stay longer?
    Students are not permitted to arrive late or depart early from the Rome Program.  Students are free to travel independently before or after the Rome Program.  Housing is only provided during the exact days of the Rome Program, and students cannot check in to the Residence Candia until noon on Friday, September 20th.
  1. How will my student get to/from the airport in Rome and in the U.S.?
    It is very important to understand that students are required to arrange all transportation to and from any airport – this includes their arrival in Rome to the hotel in Rome. The students have the option of taking a taxi to the hotel, or taking a shuttle, bus, or train, to the Termini train station where they will be able to use the metro system and transport to the metro stop nearest to Residence Candia.  Once in Rome, there will be a Rome Program staff person at the airport (for a set time that your student has been made aware of), just outside of Customs/Arrivals to meet your student.  From there, the student will be assisted (if necessary) with arranging for a taxi to the hotel.  Students are aware of this, have been advised about the various transportation options, and understand that they are further required to pay for all transportation and have some (100 e uro or so) on hand for initial expenses upon their arrival in Rome. 
  1. How long is the program?
    The spring semester begins at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 20th, and ends on Friday, December 6th.  Meals begin with dinner on September 20th and end with dinner on Thursday, December 5th.  Lodging begins on the night of September 20th and ends after the night of December 5th.  Students will check out of their rooms on Friday morning, December 6th, 2013.