A. Estimate for textbooks and class supplies: $80.
B. Money for meals. Estimate $200-$300
Breakfast each day is already included in the cost of lodging. Students will need money for at least 9 meals while we are on field trips. Meal costs are comparable to eating out in the US. Students can save money by purchasing snacks, food and sandwiches at local grocery stores and markets for lunches or dinners in Italy and while traveling.
C. Money for souvenirs, postcards, stamps, phone calls.
D. Money for unexpected expenses. (could be band-aids, could be allergy medicine, could be money to replace a lost passport). No matter how many preparations and precautions we take, someone may gets sick (allergies, a cold), someone may lose something.
If each student brings $400 with them to Italy they should be in good shape to cover expenses listed above in B through D. Some students will spend less and some will spend more.
Carrying Money Unfortunately, pickpockets are a reality in Europe. Be especially careful in crowded buses, which allow nimble-fingered thieves, sometimes children, the perfect opportunity to snag wallets from purses, pants, or jacket pockets. Beware of anyone holding out a piece of cardboard or folded newspaper; it's probably a trick. It is not at all rude to hold your private possessions close to you or cross to the other side of the street when passing suspicious looking individuals. All students on the program are advised to bring a money belt for carrying money. A money belt keeps the cash and important documents near your body and out of easy reach of thieves. In addition to money belts, past participants have recommended purses to wear around your neck (and under your shirt) as well.
Here are some other precautions you should take:
1. On a daily basis in Italy, do not carry your passport, flight tickets, or large amounts of cash on your person unless absolutely necessary. Important items can be stored in your room's safe deposit box.
2. Do not carry money and credit cards together.
3. Make photocopies of all important documents and keep them in a separate place. Also leave photocopies with a relative or a friend in the US.
Paying for Expenses There are several ways to carry money and pay for costs while overseas:
1) We recommend that all participants carry a major credit card in their name. Visa and MasterCard are accepted all over Europe. (In some places however, Visa seems the credit card of choice). Even if payment by credit card is not preferred for daily expenditures, a credit card might be important in case of an emergency and/or while traveling, all the more since they are protected and easily replaced if lost. A process for payment of credit card bills should be established before a student's departure from the U.S. Credit cards also offer access to cash via banks or cash machines, although there is a service charge for these transactions and interest payments begin immediately.
2) ATM machines, which give you access to your checking account, can be found throughout Italy and Europe. This is the most popular method of obtaining money while abroad for program participants. By using ATMs, students avoid the risk of carrying large amounts of cash, withdrawing sums of money as needed. Check with your bankcard provider to determine if a transaction fee will be charged, either here or abroad. Your card must be on the International ATM Network, and the PIN for your card must have four digits. Cirrus and Plus are the most popular ATM accounts. The symbols will be on your card, but they should also appear on the machines themselves. Cash dispensers will eat cards they don't consider valid, so match symbols first. Past travelers to Italy found a combination of credit cards and ATMs for handling money convenient. An easy way to access additional money while abroad is to ask someone in the U.S. to deposit money in your bank checking account, thereby allowing you to withdraw additional sums with your ATM card.
3) There are currency exchange booths in the airports in Italy as well.
Students in the past have requested and received extra financial aid in the fall or spring to pay deposits in anticipation of the Italy study abroad program in the summer. Students interested in financial aid should contact the Student Financial Services Office as soon as possible for applications.
In August 2009 one Euro was worth 1.47 dollars. For updated exchange rate information, see the currency exchange web site: http://www.xe.net/currency.
When using your credit card, the exchange rate will be calculated automatically, and you will see the cost in U.S. dollars reflected on your statement. To give you some idea of how far your money will go at this exchange rate, below on the left are some examples of how much items cost in Cassino this past summer.
Students enjoying a meal outdoors in Cassino.
Prices in Euro
Dome of St. Peter's. photo by student J. Glass