Is Studying Abroad as a Freshman Student Safe?

Study abroad concerns for American students

Freshman year of college is unlike anything else. This particular year marks a huge rite of passage for millions of teens, opening them to a world of new friends and new experiences. For those adventurous few looking for something more in their freshman year, the Marist Italy Freshman Florence Experience (FFE) offers the chance to study in Florence, Italy, birthplace of the Renaissance. But with this step comes many questions, including wondering whether studying abroad as a freshman is safe. We’re happy to say that it is.

Study abroad concerns for American students are something Marist and the FFE take very seriously. It is our mission to ensure that every student feels safe and at home when on campus, whether in the U.S. or abroad. For students in the FFE, we have created a program to help keep students as safe as possible while studying in Italy. Though any campus will experience minor thefts and incidents, we’re pleased to note that our Florence branch campus has enjoyed a very low incident report over the past several years.  

Safety begins at home. Freshmen students studying in Florence, Italy live in a special residence in the heart of Florence on Via del Corso, one of the oldest streets in the city. This five story building is occupied almost exclusively by Marist students and staff, helping surround freshman with friendly faces. Students live in double and triple spaces, much like their counterparts studying in the states. This centralized location places them close to the school and major attractions in Florence, helping to limit travel and commuting.

Another major aspect of making studying abroad safe for freshman is helping them acclimate to the area. As a small city, Florence is very accessible to the thousands of American students who study here yearly. On top of this, Marist, in conjunction with the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici (Marist-LdM), makes a meeting with the local police part of orientation. Should issues arise during the school year, students have complete access to the Dean of Students at LdM.

In addition to the safety measures taken by Marist-LdM, the city of Florence is very accommodating to foreign students. English-speaking students find very little trouble navigating the city, purchasing supplies, and arranging trips and travel. FFE students are enrolled in Italian language as part of the program and often find that by the end of their second semester they have an increased comfort level with their language skills.

Studying abroad is already a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it’s even more of an adventure for freshmen leaving home for the first time. If you would like to learn more about the Marist-LdM program, and why it’s completely safe for freshmen, please visit https://italy.marist.edu/ffe/faq.html.