Study Abroad Summer in Italy - Information

ITINERARIO:                                                        

Sunday May 17

  • 0000AMilano LOGOmeet at the airport in Milan, Malpensa (MXP) by noon; as soon as the group is there we leavewith a rented bus andhead for Bergamo. Being at the airport in Italy on the 17th means leaving the States on Saturday May 16th.
  • after we get unpacked, we’ll have an orientation to distribute course materials, talk about the hotel rules, the town, public transportation, etc.
  • dinner all together at 7:30

Monday, May 18 to Friday June 5

  • language classes
  • literature, art, and art history  classes
  • excursions to Milan and Venice, and possibly Genova (days to be determined).

    ALL CLASSES MEET MONDAY-THURSDAY
    ALL EXAMS WILL TAKE PLACE ON FRIDAY JUNE 5

Saturday June 6: departure for Malpensa airport

 

staircase w flowers

Time management

When you are not in class, your time is your own. You will need to study and keep up with the class pace. However, you will also have plenty of free time. Public transportation is reliable and cheaper than in the States, and the train will take you everywhere you wish to go. In Bergamo you will have time to explore the town and also to take advantage of the low-cost airlines (Ryanair, Buzz, Go, etc.) that will take you anywhere in Italy and Europe form the airport of Orio al Serio (the third-largest in Italy) in the free week-ends at your disposal.

Since we are a rather large group, even when we go to Venice, we won’t all walk together. I will give you several meeting times and points during the day, and you will be able to explore the town at your own pace. Venice is rather small and easy to navigate. You will be given maps.

Rooms

Doubles and triples (possibly quadruples, depending on how many we are).

Practical concerns that came up at the meetings we had last year and more suggestions

How much money should you bring?
Keep in mind that all meals (but week-ends when we are in Bergamo) are included.. Only you know how much you spend per day. If you have ATM cards and credit cards, I wouldn’t bring more than 300$ in euro. You can always get money from an ATM machine.

DO NOT CHANGE MONEY AT THE AIRPORT!! Their exchange rates are high. Either get euro at your bank in the US or from an ATM machine in Italy.

Computer
Bring it. There is wireless internet connection at the hostel. You will need a plug adaptor.

Appliances
Voltage in Italy is double what it is here (220 volts, 50Hz vs 110 volts 60Hz). If you can’t live without hair curlers or straighteners, you’ll need to buy an electricity converter (about about 40$). Otherwise, your appliances will die, melt, fuse, go up in flames, cause a short circuit in the hotel …

Digital cameras and cellular phones normally have a built-in converter in the battery charger. Look at it and you’ll find it written on the plug. For those you will just need a plug adapter (cheaper than converters; it can also be bought at the airport or on the plane for about 10$)

BergamoPhones and phone cards

DO NOT BUY A PHONE CARD IN THE U.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For 5 euro you can get a calling card in Italy that will work from any landline (including the hotel) or cell phones. The hostel in Bergamo has free international calls and free wi-fi.

DO NOT BUY THEM AT THE AIRPORT

Do your cellular phones work in Europe? Yes, they do IF they are tri- or quadri-bands (GSM 900, 1800, 1900). You may even want to invest on a little cheap new one once you get to Bergamo, if being available to your family via phone and being in touch with other people in Italy is important.

If your phone is a tri-band and you have a contract with a phone company (T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.), you will have to call them or stop by a shop to have them unlocked for use in Europe.

Once in Italy, you can just buy a sim card (with a phone number), and use it instead of your American sim card. If your phone works in Europe and you use your regular American number, you will pay roaming charges even for receiving calls, which can be as high as 2$ per minute. You don’t want to do that, UNLESS you have an international plan. Check with your carrier.

With an Italian sim card in your phone, or any public phone, you can always use pre-paid calling cards to call home. Companies such as TIM have very good deals for the summer. BUT!!! INTERNATIONAL CALLS FOR THE THREE WEEKS WE ARE AT THE HOSTEL ARE FREE!!!

Laundry
Typically, there are no laundromats in Italian cities. Dry cleaners in larger cities may wash your clothes in bulk for a cheap fee. Be prepared to wash your underwear in the sink of your room.

Passport
You need one… no visa necessary for stays under 90 days. Once at the hotel, I would just leave it in the room's safe. Bring a copy for yourselves, with the name and number of the hotel on it. You don’t want to lose your passport, and you don’t really need it. There is no drinking age in Italy, so no one will card you in bars and clubs.

Cappella ColleoniNight life
Bergamo has plenty of bars and places where students hang out. I did say there is no drinking age. You are adults: I trust you will know not to be silly and overdo it. Please be responsible.

If you prove you cannot drink responsibly and cause disruption or harm yourselves or others, you will fail your courses and be sent back to the States. Depending on the offense, you will also be placed on Academic Probation. No tolerance for drunks.  

Otherwise, it is lovely to stroll around town in car-free streets, filled with shops that are open at night. And good gelaterie are always there

Medicines, etc.
It is always a good idea to add an international clause to your health insurance, if you don’t already have one. However, in case of an emergency, no Italian hospital will ever refuse treatment to anyone. Medical care is free for Italians.

If you need prescription medicines, obviously, bring them with you. For every day, minor ailment needs (aspirine, Aleve, etc.), there are plenty of pharmacies around (although Aleve is cheaper here).

Packing
You are not moving to Italy permanently… it’s only three weeks. Please bring only one piece of luggage. It’s summer and you will be studying, not competing for a prize for “the best-dressed American student in a medieval town”… bring comfortable clothes and comfy shoes (Bergamo alta is all cobble stones, very hard on heels...). There is always room for a little black dress… Also do bring a sweater (or sweatshirt) and a rain coat. The weather should be beautiful, but you never know...

Usually I bring a folded bag inside my luggage (I always return with two bags… it’s inevitable… you always end up buying stuff).

If you need solutions for your lenses, you have your favourite sunscreen, etc. bring them in your main luggage (NOT your carry-on: you’re only allowed 3-ounce containers and they have to fit into a ziplock quart plastic bag (see: http://travelwithkids.about.com/od/planetrips/qt/carry_on.htm). You can buy all that stuff in Italy as well…

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Courses
They are regular 35-hour FDU summer courses, and you are getting three credits per course. It is going to be a pretty fabulousvacation, but you are also there to study: keep up with the course work!

For the language classes we are using: Julia Cozzarelli, Sentieri. Vista Higher Learning.
You can buy it at the Madison bookstore or directly from the publisher: either buy the book with the supersite and webSAM (student activity manual, necessary for your homework):  or buy the book used and the supersite and webSAM code (which obviously cannot be bought used).