Some tips to have a nice stay

Living in Rome

What kind of clothes should I bring with me to Italy?

The first thing to bear in mind, whether you are coming in the Fall or Spring semester, is that you will need comfortable footwear to sustain a busy schedule of almost daily site visits. Many former students have remarked that they have lost weight during their stay in Rome as they have had to walk much more than back home.

Generally speaking, Rome’s climate is mild; in other words, it is unusual to have an extremely cold spell and, if that happens, it would be for a brief period. It is therefore not necessary to bring a lot of heavy clothes, but you should have some gear for rainy days which are more common and more likely to occur with greater frequency in November and in the winter months generally.

If you are coming in the Fall semester, the whole of September and most of October remains relatively warm. You might need a cardigan or light jacket for early mornings and evenings. November and December are cooler and it can get pretty cold in December so you should have a jacket or coat with you for colder days and some jumpers or sweatshirts underneath. Some students have remarked that the weather here is similar to Fayetteville’s in the sense that it is changeable from day to day. You certainly need to be dressed in layers.

The weather is generally colder during the Spring semester, with January and February being the coldest months of the year. Sometimes it remains cold during the first half of March. On cold days, you might need a hat and gloves. Moreover, if you get to go on tours in the North of Italy, you will find that the temperature in northern cities is noticeably lower than in Rome.

Should I get an International Student Discount Card?

Yes, because it could be useful in certain cases such as getting an entry discount to a museum or some other function.

How do I get in touch with people at home?

Communicating with family and friends in the US from Italy should not be difficult. The most economical choice is email. Our center is equipped with internet connection 24/7 via an ADSL line. Services such as Skype or messenger are not available at the center due to a proxy server which protects our system from computer viruses and controls surfing regulations as well.
Communicating by telephone with a pre-paid international phone card, which can be purchased from a tobacco shop or a newspaper stall near the school, is another option.
The cellular network in Italy is different from that in the US. We advise students to buy a mobile here when they arrive. A basic cell phone would cost between 40 to 60 euros and you can buy this from a TIM, Vodafone or Wind Center. In addition, you can buy a SIM card costing 20 euros which comes with a 10 or 15 euro credit for calls which you can recharge when your credit expires.
It would be convenient for incoming students to arrange to buy the mobile phones from outgoing students to avoid buying a new SIM card.

What are my transportation options around the town?

There are three Metro (subway) lines A, B and C but the network does not cover the whole city. You would therefore probably use the bus more than any other means of transport in Rome even though it is sometimes a slow means due to heavy traffic in the city. Lines A and Line B operate from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm Monday to Thursday and on Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, they operate from 5.30 am till 1.30 am.  Line C operates from from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm every day. Buses run till 12 midnight.


You will need to buy a bus/tram/subway ticket before getting onto the bus or subway and this can be purchased from tobacconists, newsagents or subway stations.

We have listed below the different ticket types:
- Regular ticket, valid for 100 minutes, allows the passenger unlimited travel on all buses and trams, as well as one subway ride. Cost: € 1.50
- Weekly pass covers bus/tram/subway. Cost: €24
- Monthly pass includes all rides on the bus, tram, and subway networks. Cost: € 38

The monthly pass is probably the cheapest solution if you need to use public transport on a daily basis. However, as far as the historic center is concerned, the best way to get around is on foot.

What type of power or electric converters do I need to bring or buy in Rome?

The electric network in Italy operates at 220 volts and not 125 volts as in the States. Certain equipment like portable computers operates perfectly well without the need for any kind of converter.

The only difference you might find is in the shape of the plugs, and for these you need an adaptor to change plug shape to match the ones in Italy.

You can easily buy an adaptor in any electrical shop.

Parcels, mail and money

How do I access money?

There are BANCOMAT (ATM) cashpoints in almost every bank. You can withdraw automatically from 50 to 250 euro a day subject to a monthly credit limit depending on the cardholder’s facility. All credit cards VISA/MASTERCARD MAESTRO AMERICAN EXPRESS can be used to withdraw cash, and a small charge is levied for each withdrawal. Alternatively, you could change money at the Bank or money exchange offices at a cost. Money exchange points tend to charge a high commission. We advise our students to have a credit card with them and this way money can be transferred from America on request.

To which address should parents and friends in the States send me things?

We advise students to have family members or friends in the US send packages to the Center’s address. Below is the full address:

University of Arkansas Rome Center

Palazzo Taverna - Via di Monte Giordano, 36 - 00186 Roma.

The UARC is situated at the piano nobile (second floor) of an apartment building, and there is a concierge who receives packages even when the center is closed.

How do I send parcels to the States?

There are about three post offices, listed in the handbook, located not far from the Rome Center from which you can send packages and letters. The Italian postal service works fairly well; however, we advise against sending food and drink as that becomes complicated due to restrictions on entry into the US. You can send things abroad at reasonable prices too. To check opening hours for post offices, check the Rome Center brochure or click on the following site: www.posteitaliane.it.

Alternatively, you could use the services of Fed-EX, UPS or SDA where packages can be taken directly from the center, but naturally the cost of shipping or airfreight is higher.
You should be aware that there might be a tax duty to pay on receipt of the parcel from the US; this depends on the weight and the value declared when sent (click on programbrochure.pdf for more detailed information on shipping and receiving packages from the States).

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Some main information you may need to apply for our program

Approaching UARC Program

Where can I find information about the Rome Center?

All the necessary information on the Rome Center and your semester in Rome is available in PDF on our website. Click on program brochure.pdf to gain access or download from the attachments section below this page.

How do I apply for the program?

Contact the Office of Study Abroad & International Exchange at studyabroad@uark.edu or go to studyabroad.uark.edu.

What happens during orientation week?

The orientation period is designed to familiarize students with their new surroundings, beginning with the Rome Center, and including the city of Rome as a whole.
Orientation week also includes a few mornings of sightseeing to help students recognize the important architectural sites within the Center’s neighborhood. There are also a number of bureaucratic matters to attend to, most important of which is getting the required documentation ready to obtain your permit of stay.
On the first day of orientation, you are given a welcome kit and some information about what to expect in Rome and at the Center. Some faculty and the Rome Center Staff introduce themselves. The instructors give you an overview of the courses and schedule, while the Rome Center staff will provide you with some information about what to expect in Rome. This information will help you get a feel of the place, settle in and open up to this new cultural environment, especially as for many students it is their first time abroad.

What does the Rome semester architectural design project entail?

The Rome semester project addresses the question of urban complexities. Rome in particular is blessed with a unique urban stratification which makes it an ideal model on which to practice, taking into consideration its rich history and pre-existing architectural structures. Special attention is devoted to the notion of Palimpsest, an understanding of which heightens the sensibility of any designer and sharpens his or her awareness of the very different and sometimes contradictory transformations that the city has undergone.

Student Life

What are the advantages of studying abroad, and specifically in Rome?

It is important to study abroad to develop a sensibility towards a different place, culture and identity. This kind of training nurtures a natural openness towards others; a certain flexibility. Students’ innate curiosity inspires their willingness to travel and, upon their return, they find themselves equipped with broader and wider views. When you return, you are bound to start seeing your home ground from a different perspective and needless to say, less one-sided.
Take architecture for example, experiencing architecture firsthand, studying it on site, taking into consideration the specific social, cultural, physical and structural contexts in which the work is realized, provides a better understanding of the processes which together define an architectural project. Le Corbuiser came back from his travels with quite a different awareness of his work. The same thing could be said about Louis Khan and many others. Just looking at their travel sketches explains a great deal about how their travels affected their design work.
Being in Rome, students expand their knowledge of architecture in the process of looking at both contemporary as well as historical buildings. Getting a better understanding of history is an opportunity to explore a useful theoretical background to architectural design and ultimately cultivates a cultural perspective in design

Which architecture or art supplies do I need to bring to Rome?

You will need basic architecture and art material during the semester such as colors, pencils and watercolors. You will also need to have a couple of sketchbooks and a ruler with you. As far as the drafting and art supplies is concerned, you can purchase all that you need from a number of shops specialized in design materials within the Center’s neighborhood. It is possible to log onto the map where the main art supply shops close to the Center are located.

Should I bring a laptop?

Our studio is equipped with a network of eight computers connected to a server and 24/7 internet connection. There are also numerous outlets where personal laptops can be connected to the system.

We strongly advise you to bring your own computer with you where you will be connected to the Rome Center network system. However, for security reasons, you should not leave your laptop overnight in the school.

When is the best time to travel?

Traveling in Italy and Europe is an important aspect of your experience as a Rome Center student. The Rome program offers some weekend site visit tours as part of the course to Pompeii, Florence and Siena. During the semester, there are also one-day tours to neighboring towns such as Tivoli and Caprarola. There are countless other sites across the country to visit beyond your designated course site visits and, for that reason, traveling during the semester is allowed as long as it does not interfere with course work.

You can also travel to Europe by plane or train on long weekends.

While we are happy to help students choose their destinations during their stay in Rome, we would not advise students to miss classes to travel, and we strongly advise against traveling immediately before reviews or presentations. It is better to travel at the beginning of the semester. Finally, you are expected to always inform your instructor before taking time off.

Use the Travel Registration Form.

Can I go traveling during the orientation week?

Not really.

It is important for students to be around during orientation week. You can use this time to settle in, buy your art and architectural supplies, and prepare for your classes.

Apart from the sightseeing tours that the Rome Center offers, this is the best time to hand in your permit of stay application at the post office before classes begin.

Can I leave luggage at the Rome Center while I travel?

If you plan to travel independently before or after the program, you can store your luggage at the long-term luggage deposit at the airport. The left luggage facility at Fiumicino airport is on the Arrivals level of the International Terminal. The baggage store is open from 07:00 until 23:00. Storage costs €2 for up to 7 hours, €3.50 per 24 hours. Large or heavy luggage costs €6 per day. You can also store luggage at the central station in Rome (Termini). There is a fee for each piece of luggage, according to the total number of days in storage.

Please note that it is not possible to store luggage here at the UA Rome Center.

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