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Florence- Frequently Asked Questions

Passport and Visa

Do I need a passport even if I’m only going for a month?

Yes.  Always bring a passport with you when traveling to a foreign country.  Remember: make lots of copies of your passport!  Leave one behind with your emergency contacts and put a copy of your passport in each piece of luggage you take with you, including your carry-on.


Do I need a Student Visa if I’m only going for a month? What about if I go for a quarter or semester?

For summer programs it is unnecessary to obtain a visa because the program duration is under 90 days in length.  If you plan on extending your stay or doing independent travel after your program ends such that your time abroad will exceed 90 days you will need to obtain a visa before you enter Italy.  All quarter, semester, and year students are required to obtain a visa from the Italian Embassy nearest you before departure.  Please be aware of when to apply for your visa by looking at our Passports and Visas information page.


Should I keep my passport with me every place I go during my time abroad?

No.  Leave your passport and other important documents in a safe place at your apartment.  However, you should carry a COPY of your passport at all times.  That way, should you misplace your wallet or purse, you will not lose your most vital information.


What should I leave behind for my parents/emergency contacts?

Leave your correct contact information, a copy of your airline tickets, a copy of your passport and visa (if applicable), and your Onsite Program Director’s contact information. 

City Information

What is the typical weather in this city?
The National Weather Service provides an International Source Weather service with information on weather conditions.  Check it out at  If you want to find out more information on typical weather in Florence try  This site provides information on current conditions, historical statistics, seasonal weather, and much more.

What types of clothes should I bring?

The Mediterranean climate in Florence produces both warm and cool weather.  In summer, students should bring clothing that is light and comfortable.  Cotton t-shirts, shorts/skirts, and light pants are recommended.  For the winter season it is recommended to pack warmer clothing. Sweaters, jackets, and thick pants are important items that should not be left behind.  As a lively city, Florence offers a wonderful nightlife.  Although it is not always the case, remember to bring a few items that are slightly more stylish and formal for some nighttime activities.


Will I have free time?

GSE offers numerous group activities, but there is also plenty of time to explore and experience all that Florence has to offer.


What are some things to do?

Florence has plenty of sights and activities which will afford GSE students a chance to understand and participate in the Italian culture.  The city is filled with museums, famous sights, and galleries.  Florence is also renowned for its love for fashion, so plenty of shopping districts fill the narrow streets.  At night the city comes to life at local bars, clubs, and restaurants.  Due to the small population of the city and the increasing popularity of Florence as a study abroad destination, nightclubs are filled with both young Americans and Italians.


Should I bring a computer?

If you decide to bring a computer on this trip then you must assume all responsibility for the computer.  GSE is in no way responsible for the loss or damage of any personal items while participating on a GSE program.  There are numerous internet cafes throughout the city and internet access at LdM


What type of transportation does the city offer?

Florence is known as a walking town.  Although walking is the easiest way to get to understand the layout of the city and usually is the quickest way to get around the city, GSE offers a pass for the beginning of each program on the efficient bus system know as the ATATF (Azienda Transporti Autolinee Fiorentine).  This bus system will enable GSE students access to transportation in the city center and the outskirts of the city at their own leisure.


University Information 

Is attendance mandatory?

Attendance is mandatory.  All matters of attendance comply with the attendance policies of the University of Florence and Lorenzo de' Medici


Will I be fluent from this program?

Your level of fluency will be determined on a case by case basis.  All language courses are designed to help facilitate language development and eventual fluency.  Yet, fluency is not an easy task, and requires students to work hard inside and outside of the classroom environment.


Do credits transfer?

The University of Florence is a fully accredited university.  Many students before you have taken the exact classes that you will be signing up for.  Those who received credit complied with the same protocol set in GSE’s “Transfer Credit” instructions.  Also it is important to comply with the policies of the University of Florence, which include regular attendance, participation, and completion of all required tests.

Students attending Lorenzo de' Medici will receive transferable credits through Marist College, which will provide a transcript for all work completed at the end of each semester. Marist College is a four-year, fully accredited U.S. college in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Are there university courses that are optional?

The cultural courses provided by the University of Florence are optional.  Language courses are not.  At Lorenzo de' Medici you must enroll up to a specified number of electives listed.


What will books and school supplies cost?

The cost of these items will be about $50.  You will be instructed within your first days of class on how to obtain these items.



Are meals provided?

GSE does not provide daily meals; we recognize that each student prefers their own type of diet.  In order to allow students to eat when and what they want GSE does ensure that all student housing is equipped with a kitchen.


Who will I be living with?

Typically, you will live with other members of your program, but you might also have the opportunity to live with other foreigners.  Most likely you will be living in a multi-room apartment and be sharing a room with a friend (if applicable) or a GSE participant who most closely matches your Student Housing Preference questionnaire.


Will I have a single, double or triple room?

As a GSE participant you will most likely share a room with one other person.  If you are participating in the program with a friend GSE will try to accommodate the two of you together.  Remember to let GSE know that you are going with a friend so that housing assignments will be according to your likely.  If you are not going with a friend GSE will match you up with a program participant who most closely matches your answers on the Student Housing Preference questionnaire.  Occasionally students will have a single or triple room.                                            

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