CLAUDIA VON SUSKIL '20
Studying abroad was one of the best things I ever did.
There is no standard time when it is best to study abroad. The best time to study abroad depends on the individual and their degree program. You should let your academic advisor know if you are interested in studying abroad as well as visit our office. We can all work together to help you plan for an experience abroad.
Click below to view a sample plan for completing your degree in eight semesters, including one semester abroad.
Approximately 75 students study abroad each semester at the University of New Haven's Tuscany Campus and about half of them in the fall are first-year students. More than 100 students typically visit during the summer as part of faculty-led programs.
The official semester dates are similar to those of the main campus. We will add the exact semester dates to the website once they are determined.
Students do not need any prior knowledge of Italian. In fact, most students do not know any Italian beforehand. Everyone is required to take an Italian course while in Italy but the other classes are taught in English. The Italian class will teach them the basics to be able to get around in Italy. If students know some Italian, or complete an Italian course on main campus before they come to Prato, that is great! We offer several levels of Italian.
The courses offered at University of New Haven's Tuscany Campus change from semester to semester. There are many required core courses offered in Italy. We work with the Center for Student Success, the Criminal Justice Advising Center, department chairs, and the College of Engineering to place students in the correct courses.
Students will return with the group in mid-December for their winter break. They will move onto campus in late-January. We will provide them with a re-orientation to get them acclimated to the main campus.
This really depends on how much traveling the student wants to do, what type of traveler they are, and how much shopping they want to do. Students who do not do much traveling outside of the excursions that are provided can spend as little as $500. It is much more typical for a student to spend about $2,000-$2,500.
The first and best thing to do is to encourage the student to communicate with staff in Italy. If it is a problem with their housing, they should report it in the first instance to their housing owners. If they are unhappy for any other reason they should come and talk to Tuscany Campus staff. Staff members here are always willing to listen and to help, and students will only develop and grow if they are allowed (and encouraged) to take responsibility for any issues that may arise that affect them. Sometimes, as parents, we can do our children a greater service by encouraging them to take action, rather than just taking it for them.
This also allows us the opportunity to better understand exactly how to assist the student. Our staff members have the resources and training necessary to assist your student in finding a solution. Staff members meet with students throughout the semester, in small groups and individually, to get feedback on how their semester is going personally and academically.
For minor problems, such as small disagreements between roommates or a particularly challenging class, we often find that students just want to vent to their parents. They are often able to independently find solutions to these problems with positive support from home, and this is part of the development process that study abroad fosters.
It is not uncommon for students to experience periods of homesickness while studying abroad. While in most cases these periods are temporary and/or mild, it is important to support your student by encouraging them to stay active and involved in activities on the Tuscany Campus. If your student is experiencing prolonged or severe homesickness, encourage them to reach out to the onsite staff. The Tuscany Campus also has close affiliations with English speaking local mental health professionals who are available to assist students who are particularly struggling with culture shock, homesickness, stress, or other challenges that may be preventing them from enjoying this experience to the fullest.
We only recommend that parents contact the University of New Haven Study Abroad office or the Tuscany Campus directly regarding a student problem if you are concerned for your child’s health, safety or wellbeing.
Student safety is paramount. While Prato is a very safe town in Italy, it is a large city that, like all cities, presents a certain risk with regards to petty crime. It is important, therefore, that students are aware of how to protect themselves against petty crime. Being aware is the first step toward preventing incidents of robbery or theft from occurring.
While no one can guarantee safety, the University of New Haven has several health and safety measures in place. Staff constantly monitors current international, political, social, and economic conditions and events in Europe, and we take precautions in light of this information so that participants have the safest possible experience abroad. In addition, faculty and staff at the program site are available to oversee student safety and to support students who need medical assistance while abroad.
If students want to know more about health and safety in general while studying abroad, see the Traveler's Health information available from U.S. Department of State's Travel Safety Information for Students.
Prior to departure, students receive specific health and safety information about Prato. Upon arrival in Prato, students receive, as part of their Orientation Days activities, a dedicated session about personal safety while in Italy.
Students should also have the LiveSafe app downloaded on their phones. For major emergencies such as natural disasters, this will allow the University Campus Police to quickly and easily send information and assistance to students anywhere in the world, provided they have their phone with them.
Students in Prato are required to complete a Side Travel Registration every time they leave the campus overnight. Students must provide our staff with the dates of travel, location, address, and contact information so that Prato staff are able to locate and contact them if necessary.
In addition, local staff in Prato also provides a 24 hour, seven days a week emergency response to any incident.
If the student is in Italy and is involved in an emergency situation, the student should either contact an emergency responder or the on-site staff immediately. If a student is unable to do so, University Police should be contacted. Students will be provided with all of the appropriate contact details when they arrive on site.
Tuscany Campus staff has emergency contact procedures in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our staff is able to contact students quickly and can relay information to the home campus promptly when necessary.
Overseas staff will assist students who require medical attention. The University of New Haven enrolls all participants in a health and accident insurance plan. This plan is offered through GeoBlue Global Health at no additional cost.
In both Prato and nearby Florence, there are a number of English-speaking doctors and specialists. When necessary, staff is available to translate. Prato also has a new, modern and fully-equipped hospital and ER 10 minutes from the campus.
This depends on the rooming assignments decided by the university. Some housing is located in the university’s own Residence Halls (San Francesco, Annex and Rinaldesca) while some is provided in hotel-like residences owned and managed by local people. As those residences are not owned or managed by the university, they do not always resemble campus dorms. Other people not connected with the university will also be staying in the apartments at their housing location (other than San Francesco, Annex and Rinaldesca), so students are expected to follow a strict code of conduct regarding noise and behavior. Students will be notified of their exact housing assignment shortly before they leave for Prato.
Housing is located at several different institutions located in the city center, all of which are no more than 5 minutes from campus and no more than 10 minutes’ walk from each other. Students will be notified of their exact housing assignment shortly before they leave for Prato.
It is NOT like on campus in Connecticut! There is a lot of variety. Some rooms are more spacious than others, but none of them is as large as one might expect based on US standards. Students will be provided with everything they need (wifi, closets/wardrobes, bathrooms, furniture, bedding, basic kitchen facilities, laundry services and what to do in case of maintenance issues. However, the size and style of furniture provided differs from room to room, some apartments have 2 bathrooms while some have just one, and each establishment offers different laundry services. This is important to understand before students come to Prato, because they cannot choose their room, and they must be able to accept their housing as they find it.
In every housing location students will find EITHER an included washing service OR a washing machine is provided. Please note that washing machines in housing are not as large as those we find in the US or in a commercial laundromat. There are also several commercial laundromats located throughout the city center.
Roommates are assigned based on the housing questions that students fill out prior to departure. We take into consideration stated lifestyle habits and roommate requests, if any. While we do our best to satisfy your requests, we cannot guarantee that students will be assigned your requested roommate. The Residential Life Coordinator will create a Rooming Assignment list that will be shared with the students shortly before their arrival in Prato.
Housing in Prato is gender neutral supportive. However, no one will be put in a gender-neutral room without prior consent. The Residential Life Office reserves the right to assign students to any vacant residence hall space and to increase the number of occupants in any room. For any housing special accommodation request, every student must send their request to the Accessibility Resources Center (ARC) on main campus. Housing in Prato is gender neutral supportive. However, no one will be put in a gender-neutral room without prior consent. The Residential Life Office reserves the right to assign students to any vacant residence hall space and to increase the number of occupants in any room. For any housing special accommodation request, every student must send their request to the Accessibility Resources Center (ARC) on main campus.
Guests are permitted to make brief visits to housing, but not without the consent of all apartment/roommates. Guests are not permitted in rooms after 11pm. No overnight guests are allowed. No exceptions are made to this rule, even for relatives. Breaches of this policy will result in immediate sanctions and potential expulsion from university housing. Tuscany Campus staff can recommend a number of hotels and hostels close to school.
There is internet access in housing and at the school. But while lightning quick cable internet connections are common in the United States, students may experience slower connection speeds in other countries, Italy included. Wherever they are, it’s important to remember that certain conveniences – such as high-speed Internet access – are not always the norm as they would be at home.
Learning to adapt to these slight inconveniences is a necessary part of the study abroad experience. We find that the students who have the most successful experience spend more time out of their apartments enjoying everything Italy has to offer, rather than spending the majority of their free time online talking to friends and family back in the US. It is much easier, and better for the students, if everyone simply keeps up with their Facebook updates!
In the school and in student housing, the Tuscany Campus provides Internet access for academic purposes. Students need to be aware that making calls on Skype might not always be easy. A high-speed Internet connection is offered in the Tuscany Campus building, San Francesco, and students have access to this connection during the Campus’s opening hours. In addition, there are several free wi-fi points around town, including the Lazzerini Library, the city’s public library, which is also open at weekends and is free for all University of New Haven students.
To make eating out simple and convenient for students, University of New Haven Tuscany runs a prepaid meal voucher system. Students can eat with their Tuscany campus meal vouchers at over 25 different restaurants and cafés in the city of Prato and Florence. The meal plan covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, some grocery shopping in local stores, and even gelato! At Orientation in Prato students will receive their meal vouchers.
The campus does not have its own gym. However, students can take advantage of the many discounts available to them around Prato, including a three-month plan at a local gym. By showing their UNH student card at the gym reception, students can purchase a three-month membership at a discounted rate. The membership will give them access to the gym swimming pool as well.
The selection process is based on their application and interview. When reviewing their application, we consider their high school GPA and SAT and/or ACT scores as well as their essay.
Students must be 18 years old by August 1 in order to study abroad as part of the First Year Abroad Program at the University of New Haven Tuscany Campus. Exceptions to this date can be made on a case by case basis. The Italian Consulate does not issue student visas to minors.
The Study Abroad Office purchases group airfare for the program. Everyone flies out together from JFK airport in New York. The round trip airfare is approximately $1,200-$1,500. It will be billed to the student’s University of New Haven account and will show up on their fall bill.
A study visa is required for U.S. students who participate in a study abroad program that is longer than 90 days. Students must secure a student visa prior to the start of the program. Otherwise, the student will be unable to participate in the program. International students should consult the Italian Consulate website to determine if they are required to obtain a study visa. Citizens of European countries in the Schengen Region do not need visas for any Schengen Country. Student visas will not be issued to students under the age of 18.
Students must secure a student visa prior to their departure to Italy.
A student visa or study visa is an official stamp issued by the Italian government that is affixed to a page inside your passport before you depart the United States. Students must present it to immigration control when they arrive in Italy.
Students must have a study visa because it is illegal to study as a full-time student in Prato without it.
The Study Abroad Office will assist students with the process of obtaining a student visa. Student visas are issued by the Italian government via Italian Consulates located in various cities throughout the world. Please keep in mind that the Italian Consular Service offices are not affiliated with the University of New Haven, they are entities of the Italian national government that issue visas and perform other official functions.
The Study Abroad Office is eligible to participate in a process called 'batch processing'. This allows a representative from the Study Abroad Office to submit all visa application materials to the Consulate on the student’s behalf. The Study Abroad Office will send out detailed instructions on how to complete the visa forms and submit supporting materials. The guidelines provided by the University of New Haven are based on the information we have at the time regarding the visa process. It is important to remember, the Consulate can create and/or change their requirements for obtaining a student visa at any time and without prior notification. The University of New Haven does not have the ability to change visa requirements, though we are happy to help students in whatever way we can, the decision to issue a visa rests solely with the consulate or embassy.
The Study Abroad Office cannot submit visa applications for minors or non-US Citizens. Non-US citizens must obtain an appointment with the Italian Consulate and submit their visa application individually. The Study Abroad Office will assist, as able, in helping students prepare for their visa appointment.
The Study Abroad Office provides a mandatory pre-departure orientation for all the First-Year students going on the program. It will take place a day before one of the first year orientation sessions (SOAR). The exact date will be announced. Topics covered during pre-departure orientation include: culture shock and homesickness, communicating back home, Italian cultural norms, academics, money, housing, and health and safety. It is also a good opportunity for the first year students going on the study abroad program to get to know one another.
We do encourage parents of our students to apply for a passport if they do not already have one (or renew one they already had that will expire within six months of the student’s return date). Should an emergency arise while a student is abroad it may be helpful or necessary for parents/guardians to travel abroad to be with their student. Please visit the State Department for more information.
For questions about other University of New Haven Study Abroad programs, please see our general Study Abroad FAQ.