Master's Degree FAQ
1. How do I go about planning for my departure and stay in Italy?
Marist Italy offers a comprehensive pre-departure program that takes place via e-mail and the web in the months prior to departure. Some topics covered as part of the pre-departure program include, but are not limited to room and board, visas, academic expectations, books and school supplies, travel, health care abroad, course registration, money management etc…
2. What kind of accommodations are available in Florence?
Masters students may choose to house directly through the College or can secure housing on their own. Note – all students seeking a visa will need to have these accommodations in place prior to departure in order to secure the visa.
Marist offers single and double room accommodations in apartments located throughout the city. Each apartment has 1-4 bedrooms, a living area, kitchen and at least one bathroom. All Marist apartments have a washer, the internet, and basic utilities included in the price. All apartments are furnished and include basic bed linens, and kitchen cookware/utensils.
3. I have never been abroad before; will I be comfortable in Florence?
Florence is the second most popular study abroad destination in the world for English-speaking students (next to London). Thousands of American students call this city home every year - and there are hundreds of services, organizations, and even restaurants designed to cater to their needs and tastes. Florence is a very manageable, walkable, and beautiful city in which to live. It is incredibly easy to travel to other popular European destinations from Florence as well.
4. I don't speak Italian. Is it difficult to live in Florence without Italian language skills?
No previous experience with the Italian language is necessary. Florence is a friendly city for English-speaking students. Students, upon arrival, find it easy to buy supplies, move about the city, and arrange trips and travel, all with minimal language skills in Italian. During orientation, students will be enrolled in a short introductory Italian program to gain survival skills or as a refresher course for those with some knowledge of Italian. After orientation, students will have the opportunity to sign up for undergraduate language courses or tutoring based on interest and language level - but the experience of hundreds of Marist students who have studied at the branch campus has been one of comfort in this area.
5. How do I travel to Florence?
Because our students come from all over the country and the world we do not usually organize group flights for students in our Master’s program. We have a relationship with a travel agent who specializes in student travel who can assist you with booking your flight, and for nervous travelers, we can arrange for students to fly on the same flight for companionship (when possible). We urge all students to review the travel section of the pre-departure program prior to booking travel to ensure you have all of the necessary information (i.e. the correct airport, orientation start date, etc.).
6. Who else studies at the Marist Italy campus in Florence?
Marist enrolls students in four-year bachelor's degree programs in eight majors, including Italian, Studio Art (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science options), Art History, Restoration/Conservation Studies, Digital Media, Interior Design, and Fashion Design. In addition, Marist also offers a unique program called the Freshman Florence Experience or FFE. Currently, 50 freshmen are spending their first year abroad in Italy, and will return to Marist’s main campus in Poughkeepsie for their sophomore year. Lastly, approximately 120 students from the Poughkeepsie campus study abroad every semester in Florence as sophomores, juniors, or seniors. Marist also enrolls several hundred students each semester as visitors from other institutions to the branch campus. Lastly, Istituto Lorenzo de' Medici directly enrolls students from universities like the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Hawaii-Manoa, and many others.
7. What kind of living and miscellaneous expenses should I expect to have?
This is a difficult question to answer, as students will live differently depending on background, taste, and travel goals. Most students can live comfortably on 100-200 Euro a week, including meals, pocket money, and small travel. More extravagant trips and shopping will increase that budget. Students who are planning to sign up for language classes or private tutoring will also need to budget for these costs.
8. What about safety and security?
Florence is a small city, and has a very low crime rate. Obviously, students should always exercise the utmost caution and respect their environment, but the branch campus has enjoyed a very low incident report over the past several years. Each year, there are a small number of thefts and minor incidents, which happens in any city-campus environment. Students are introduced to the Italian police as part of orientation and have access to the Dean of Students office at Lorenzo de'Medici to assist them with any issues.
9. Do I need a passport?
Yes. If you don't already have one, you should apply immediately either at the U.S. passport webpage or your home country’s passport office.
10. Do I need a student visa?
All students who are not passport holding citizens of the European Union are required to apply for a student visa. The student visas are sponsored by Marist Italy and are issued for the academic year (fall and spring semesters). Students can extend their visa/permit to stay past spring based on each student’s summer enrollment. This process will be organized through the College in the spring semester.
11. How do I get a visa?
All U.S. Citizens will apply for their student visa prior to departure through the Italian Consulates in the United States. During the pre-departure process Marist Italy offers assistance with the visa process in the form of instruction for individual appointments and an optional group appointment.
12. Will I be eligible for financial aid?
U.S. citizens enrolled in the Florence Branch Campus are eligible for federal financial aid. The program also offers a few small merit scholarships.
13. Can I work in Florence?
The MA program is a very large academic commitment. We urge students to consider their academic course load when planning on working while in Italy. Students who are on a student visa can usually work up to 20 hours a week legally.
14. Are there graduate assistantship/scholarship opportunities?
Marist Italy does offer limited assistantship and scholarship opportunities. More information on these can be found at the following link: http://italy.marist.edu/graduate/grad_assistantships
15. I am an adult student and would like to bring my family with me, is this possible?
Marist Italy welcomes adult students. Adult students who wish to bring their families may do so, but there are several things we encourage adult students with families to consider. Please see the bullet points below:
- Marist Italy housing is unable to accommodate families, but does provide a list of land lords who may be able to assist with family accommodations.
- Adult students traveling with families will need to seek visas directly through the consulate so they can make arrangements with the consulate to have their dependents/spouses included on their visa.
- Adult students traveling with children will need to make independent arrangements for childcare, schooling and activities. Marist Italy is unable to assist with recommending or organizing these services.
- Please note that working in Italy may be restricted based on your visa type/status. If your spouse plans on working while in Italy be sure to review this scenario with your local Italian Consulate.