To Bring or Not To Bring
Do I have to bring my own linen/towels
No, unless you have a favorite pillow or sheets that you want to sleep on; otherwise, everyone is provided with a set of linen and bath towel. We have linen exchange once a week. We will cover the linen exchange procedure, including the assigned day and time of the week, during our Student Life Orientation.
What is the best way to pack?
Pack lightly! Do not pack more than you can easily carry. Don't weigh yourself down with items such as a hair dryer that can be purchased in Rome for a very cheap price. Start planning what you will pack by reading online the baggage allowance guidelines of your airline; also, be aware that on flights among various European cities (for those who might be planning to travel around Europe), the baggage allowance may be even less. Airlines often charge a penalty fee for overweight or excess baggage.
What type of clothing should I bring?
For the cooler temperatures (i.e., mid-October, November, December, January, February), you may want to bring a winter jacket (not too heavy), a few sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. For the warmer temperatures (i.e., end of September to mid-October, end of March, April, May), you may want to bring T-shirts and light long-sleeved shirts. Also bring jeans and one or two dressy outfits (dress/skirts for women, a suit/khaki pants for men) for special occasions throughout the semester. If you need anything else, there are many shops (inexpensive ones) to renew your wardrobe. Italians don't typically wear shorts, only when they go to the beach, so if you want to bring a pair of shorts with you, you can just wear it when you go to the beach or running (along the river or to Villa Borghese). Bring clothing that does not require special care in cleaning. Outfits should be casual and comfortable. As you will be walking a lot, bring comfortable walking shoes and slippers to wear in the residence. Pack whatever type of clothing you feel most comfortable in, just be practical. Stick with basics that can be paired together to create several outfits.
What kind of toiletries should I bring?
You will be able to buy anything in terms of health, hygiene and beauty products in Rome, so don't worry about bringing stocks of shampoo, shaving cream and soap from home. You just might not find your favorite brands. Bring the basics you use every day in travel-sized containers. There are grocery stores all around the city that have everything from food items to health and hygiene products, detergent, etc. Also, prepare a medical kit with a few over-the-counter pain relievers (i.e., Advil, Tylenol, etc.), cold medication and vitamins. For contact lenses users, you may want to bring a supply of all the necessary solutions. You also may want to have an extra pair of glasses.
What if I have a prescription medication?
If you need prescription medications on a regular basis you should carry a note from your doctor stating your medical condition, the purpose of the medication, dosage information, the brand and the generic name of the medication. This is especially necessary if you will be carrying insulin or if you are allergic to certain medication. Bring enough of your medication to last your entire stay abroad. Prescriptions written in the United States cannot be filled in Italy, and medications cannot be mailed from the United States.
Do I need to bring hangers?
No. All the rooms have hangers. If the ones provided are not enough, you can buy more from any household items store.
I hear that school supplies are hard to find in Rome. Do I need to bring notebooks, folders, loose-leaf paper, index cards, etc?
That's a misperception. It is not hard to find school supplies in Rome, but they might be a bit more expensive than if you were to buy a notebook or a couple of folders from Target or Wal-Mart. Do bring index cards from home. Those might be hard to find.
What kind of adapter will I need to buy for my laptop to be able to plug it in? There is no battery.
You should be able to buy the right adapter for Italy, if you go to Best Buy or Radio Shack (or a similar store). Carefully read what the box says and make sure it converts the power from 220 volts (European) to 110 volts (American) and vice-versa. Here are two websites that offer some advice on what types of adpaters to purchase:
What kind of plug adapter will I need to buy to charge the battery of my digital camera?
Buy a plug adapter from the United States — it will be one less thing to worry about in Rome; again, make sure that it converts the power from 220 volts (European) to 110 volts (American) and vice-versa. Here are two websites that offer some advice on what types of adpaters to purchase:
Can I use my electrial appliances from the United States?
In Italy, the current is 220 volts whereas in America it is 110. The difference in electrical current is so great that if you plug your American appliance into an electrical socket in Italy, it may explode, short out, melt or cause a fire. You should be very careful, as not all travel appliances are multi-standard. Italians have at least three different types of plugs and sockets. If you can't find dual-voltage versions of your favorite appliances (e.g., hair dryer, curling iron, electric razor, etc.), you can buy transformers to convert the electricity and adapter kits for the different sockets at your local hardware store before you leave home; however, you are better off just buying an inexpensive hair dryer, curling iron, etc. in Rome. Adapters are really made for occasional, not daily use. They do not always work, and the kits can be expensive and heavy to carry. Here are two websites that offer some advice on what types of adpaters to purchase:
Do you recommend buying a travel guide, or would it be better to use the ones that students have left at Bernardi?
You can use the ones we have in our library at Bernardi. The library has grown over the years to include many different countries and regions all over Europe. Some guides might be outdated, but if you would like to buy an updated travel guide, feel free and you can just donate it to the Bernardi library when your semester is over.
What do students use to carry their books, etc. to class? Do they bring backpacks? Or would that be a problem with the pickpockets?
Students typically carry a backpack or a messenger/satchel type bag to school. Either one works. One must always be cautious and careful of the pickpockets in crowded areas or when using public transportation.
What kind of bags do students use for traveling? Someone suggested a satchel-type bag with a flap over the side to deter pickpockets.
Yes, that is fine. I have seen students use all kinds of bags for traveling — anything easy to carry on the plane and while traveling would suffice. Tip: The hand-baggage regulation size for Ryan-Air, a popular, inexpensive European airline, is less than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in dimension and no more than 10 kg (roughly 20 lbs) in weight.
Should I buy an Italian-English dictionary in the United States or in Rome? Is there a specific dictionary we will need for our Italian class?
We have plenty of dictionaries in our library at Bernardi that former students had left behind and that anyone can use at any time; however, if you prefer to have your own dictionary you can certainly buy one from home. No, you will not need a specific dictionary for Italian class. Any dictionary (i.e., Webster's, etc.) would be just fine.
Do I need an umbrella?
You can buy an umbrella here in Rome (starting around € 5).