Master's Degree FAQ
1. Where will I be living?
Branch campus apartments are all located within the center of the city of Florence. The apartments arranged by Marist-LdM vary in size, with capacity ranging from 2 to 8 students. Students live in doubles and triples and share common spaces and bathrooms while enjoying beautiful views and a central location to the school and major attractions in Florence. The apartments are renovated with kitchens and unique living spaces. Housing is guaranteed for all four years while in residence at the branch campus.
2. What is the campus like?
The Marist campus in Florence is a city campus. Florence is an historic city along the Arno River. There are beautiful medieval and renaissance buildings throughout the city and the branch campus housing and academic buildings are settled among the many shops, museums, cafés, and residences that make up Florence.
3. Are there laundry machines? Internet connections? How do I call home?
The residences have laundry machines in every apartment. Italians do not generally use dryers (clothes are air-dried on terraces throughout Italy), but they are available nearby in laundromats for special use. The residences are wireless internet ready, and the branch campus has a Student Center with computers nearby. Students will be able to get mobile phones with a local Italian number and many students use IP-based voice software (such as Skype) to stay in close contact with home for free.
4. Is there a meal plan?
There is a small café in one of the main campus buildings where students can choose to be on a lunch plan for an additional fee. The apartments are equipped with kitchens for students to prepare their meals and there are ample cafés and pasticcerie (bakeries) for the students to purchase food. Part of orientation you are taught how to shop in the Mercato Centrale (Central Market) and how to cook by an Italian chef. Like most European cities, Florence has a wealth of small markets - everything from cheeses and meats to pastries and vegetables. Students will find everything to meet their needs in a culturally rich environment.
5. 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.
6. What kind of activities are available at the branch campus?
The Florence branch campus has a variety of clubs and organizations that are available to all students, and there are dozens of organizations operating in Florence for Americans, where you can be involved in everything from politics to gelato tasting. The Marist staff members also organize a number of activities throughout the year for our students, including one day trip and one overnight trip per year.
7. Is there work study available at the branch campus?
There are a select number of student assistant positions in the branch campus office. Preference is given to students with work study, but not all work study students will find work in the branch campus.
8. 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, walk-able, and beautiful city in which to live. It is incredibly easy to travel to other popular European destinations from Florence as well.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Do I need a visa?
Yes. All students who are non-EU citizens need a visa, and Marist will help FFE participants apply for a visa in their jurisdiction (home state) during the pre-departure period. This process should be initiated as soon as possible. Details can be found here on our website, and students will receive complete instructions as part of their orientation to the program.
12. Who else studies at the Marist-LdM 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. There are also several students in the Masters of Arts in Museum Studies program. In addition, Marist also offers a unique program called the Freshman Florence Experience or FFE. Currently 42 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 60 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. At any given time, there are always fellow undergraduates in Florence from a variety of backgrounds and programs.
13. 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. Students will be enrolled in Italian language as part of the program and will find by the end of their second semester they have branched out into new areas of Italy with their new-found language skills - but the experience of hundreds of Marist students who have studied at the branch campus has been one of comfort in this area.
14. How do you select roommates?
Marist staff arranges apartment assignments and roommates according to a housing survey that students complete during the pre-departure period. You will be notified of your roommate approximately 2 weeks prior to departure.
15. What if I get sick?
The city of Florence has several medical and pharmaceutical facilities throughout, including those that specialize in serving students and visitors to Florence. If one of our students becomes ill there are English speaking doctors and pharmacists that are available to them.
16. Who teaches the courses?
The courses taught in Florence are Marist courses and taught by Marist faculty. Many are Florentine; there are international professors and visiting professors from the New York campus as well. Each professor brings a dynamic and passionate experience to the classroom.
17. Will I have time to travel?
Yes! Florence’s geographic location lends to incredible access to many places not just in Italy but Europe as well. Not to mention the many beautiful places to explore in Tuscany! There are also additional trips planned through the school that you may purchase. In the past we have had programs explore Torino, the Swiss Alps, Croatia, Pompeii, Naples, the south of France and many others.
18. Will there be Resident Directors and Resident Assistants?
Yes! In addition to a Director and Assistant Director of Marist-LdM, we will have Resident Directors and Assistants on staff. The RD’s and RA’s are there to program events for you and assist with your transition.
19. Can my family visit?
Of course! Florence is a very tourist-friendly city. There are ample hotels throughout the city center to fit most people’s needs. After a few weeks in Florence you will become an expert guide.
20. Will I be able to study abroad?
Branch campus students are eligible to participate in Marist Study Abroad, including both semester long programs and short term programs offered by the Marist International Programs office in Poughkeepsie, NY. In many cases, additional costs may apply depending on the program selected. Each student’s major and academic plan will determine eligibility. Strategic planning with your academic advisor can allow you to plan ahead.
21. Will I be eligible for financial aid?
U.S. citizens enrolled in the Florence Branch Campus are eligible for federal financial aid, including loans. The program also offers the opportunity to apply for a small merit scholarship, which requires a supplemental application, to all students.