Florence City Guide from ThisIsNYU Bloggers

As you may know from previous updates, students across the global sites are currently blogging on ThisIsNYU about their experiences away and must-see spots.  Visit the Florence City Guide to see favorite places to go, things to do, areas to visit beyond Florence, and overall advice.

We encourage you to sign up and blog for ThisIsNYU too during your time away!  Not only will others benefit from your recommendations, but this is a great way to document and share your experience with family and friends.  To get started or to learn more, simply visit nyu.edu/global/bloggers. The “Getting Started” page will have you ready to start in under 15 minutes, so you can sign up — and start blogging — today!

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What to do if you Encounter Flight Cancellations or Delays

While our hope is that you arrive at your study away destination without any challenges, we know at times these can occur for a variety of reasons. Please note that NYU is unable to act as an intermediary between the traveler and airline, but it may be helpful to keep in mind the below tips should you encounter any flight cancellations or delays:

Contact Your Airline First

Number one tip: Whether it’s an airport delay or flight cancellation, contact your airline – immediately. It is most beneficial to act quickly so that you are able to grab a seat on the next available flight if necessary. Many passengers will be trying to rebook and options may become more limited the longer you wait.

If Your Flight is Canceled:

  • Multi-task communications: If your flight is canceled or delayed, immediately get in line for a gate agent; at the same time, call the airline (it may be quicker).
  • If you have a frequent flyer status with the airline that gives you access to a priority phone number, using this may expedite the service you receive.

Note: There are no federal requirements that require airlines to provide you with any hotel or meal vouchers due to events outside their control such as weather, but airline policies on this vary. When in doubt, ask. Some will provide you with certain amenities.

If Your Flight is Delayed:

  • Stay in touch with the airline: Follow the tips above; stay connected to your carrier
  • Don’t be late to the gate: Even if you’ve been told your flight is delayed, stay in the gate area. Delays can evaporate and windows of opportunity for take-off can be short; if you’re not present for boarding, you may be out of luck

Note: Always be at the gate at least 20 minutes before departure, minimum.

Ultimately, if you are in an area where you still have access to email or phone service, please contact the appropriate staff member(s) at NYU Florence listed on your arrival cheat sheet to forward your updated itinerary.  This is another reason why it is important to have a copy in your carry on.  

Should your updated itinerary arrive outside of the provided transportation window, you will be responsible for getting to housing (but don’t worry – the arrival cheat sheet will have all the relevant details necessary to do so!).  

The staff recognize these occurrences are beyond your control so will work with you to catch up if any material is missed.  On behalf of the entire NYU Global Programs team, we wish you safe travels!

Practical Pre-Departure Checklist and Packing Tips

As you prepare to get on a plane, it is now time to review the below final checklist full of practical items and packing tips to ensure your travel goes smoothly.  Also, take note of what NOT to pack by visiting this website.

  • Notify your bank and credit cards that you will be abroad.  Make sure they won’t block your accounts when they see international charges, and ask for phone numbers to call from abroad in the event you have any issues. The 1-800 numbers on the back won’t always work from overseas.
  • Have all medications you may need for the full term & bring a copy of prescriptions (medication, eyeglasses, etc.) and carry it with you in your carry on.  Your carry on should also have all important paperwork, phone numbers, and a change of clothes in case your luggage arrives late.
  • Make photocopies of your passport/visa, ID, and cards (bank, credit card). Leave one copy of this packet at home with your family and bring a set with you in your carry-on.  That way, if these items are lost or stolen, they’re much easier to replace.
  • Bring your flight confirmation printout to the airport.
  • Check the luggage restrictions for your airline before you pack.
  • Have some cash on hand to get you through the first few days (you can exchange at the airport if needed, but service fees can be hefty.  Banks can generally issue euros ahead of time if they have notice.  Or simply withdraw cash from the ATM directly once you land – this can be easiest)
  • Have a copy of your arrival cheat sheet – and leave one with your family!
  • Set up a plan of communicating with your family members while abroad—we recommend calling or e-mailing them only once or twice a week while abroad. Your parents will ALWAYS want to talk to you more often than that, but remember that part of studying in another country is putting some distance between you and your old life. You’ll be better for it!
  • Buy a journal.  Study away is a profoundly personal experience and Facebook updates alone won’t capture the spirit of what you are doing.  Keep a journal that is meant to be just for you.  
  • Do not plan to use your blow dryers and flat irons that you use currently. Even with a plug adaptor and converter, the higher voltage can destroy (as in burn to a crisp!) your appliances and could potentially knock out power in entire buildings, which isn’t a great way to make friends abroad. If you’re not willing to forgo the blow dryers and flat irons for a few months, then it’s best to purchase local versions that operate on 220 volts once you get abroad.
  • Bring a small weekend-size bag/backpack/collapsible duffle bag for trips you’ll take during your time abroad.
  • Don’t forget that you cannot bring more than 3 oz. of any liquid in your carry on for your flight overseas.  Airport security is often very strict. Make sure you follow all the rules when it comes to flying!
  • If you follow a special diet (vegetarian, kosher, etc.) don’t forget to inform your airline ahead of time. It’s horribly unpleasant to be hungry and thirsty while you’re on a plane and they control when you get meals, so bring some snacks (stay away from fruit, as some countries don’t want you to bring perishable food into their airports). And make sure you have your own water on the flight (though, remember, you can’t take any through security).
  • Last but definitely not least, try to pack LIGHT.  Layers, layers, layers!  You will inevitably come home with more than you started with.

You can find more packing information linked here.

Offices Closing for Winter Break

NYU’s Office of Global Programs and Office of Global Services, as well as most other departments around NYU, will be closed for the winter break starting at 4pm EST on Wednesday, December 23rd. We will reopen on Monday, January 4th at 9am EST.  Both the Office of Global Programs and the Office of Global Services will not be monitoring voicemail or emails during this time.

We understand that questions may come up while our office is closed – if so, please use the “Search” tool within this blog to see if we have covered it already (in many cases, we have!). This blog is meant to be your main resource of things to know and do regarding Florence, and can continue to assist in answering your questions even when we are not available.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes this Holiday Season!

Transition Tips: Preparing to Live in a New City

World Trade Resource is a tool that provides accessible information about developing cultural competencies and best practices for communicating, living, or working in another country or city, including New York.  Additionally, it includes health and travel guides, as well as culture and city guides for the most popular destinations. The cultural self-assessment feature provides you with tailored information on how to succeed in a new host country.

To start exploring World Trade Resource, please visit here.  You can also access World Trade Resource via NYUHome.

Pre-Departure Orientation Recap and Make-Up

For those of you who could not attend an in-person session, we missed you, but don’t despair. While there is no way we can replicate the orientation, you can view the presentation here.  Please ensure to read through the presentation in its entirety.  You can view the handout given to students at orientation (which includes tips on money and banking as well as a recommended packing list) here.

I will also hold one make-up orientation on Friday December 4, 2:00-3:30pm in Waverly 431. Please review the presentation beforehand so you are prepared with questions. I will be doing an abridged version of the November 14th presentation.

To be put in touch with an NYU Florence alum, email global.ambassadors@nyu.edu. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at zbb203@nyu.edu.

Some key points to remember from the orientation:

  • On-site orientation is Mandatory! All students must arrive on January 26.
  • Additionally, all class attendance and course related field trips are mandatory.  Do not book personal travel until you have arrived and confirmed your syllabi.
  • Please note that housing is ONLY available during the dates of the program, January 26 – May 13!
  • Bring all the prescription drugs you will need for your entire stay. Make sure you talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for any medication you take regularly for the full 4 months. Do NOT ship medication overseas.

What You Need To Know Ahead of the Pre-Departure Orientation

We look forward to seeing those in New York this Saturday, November 14th at the NYU Florence pre-departure orientation!  As a reminder, this session will be held in Vanderbilt Hall, Tischman Auditorium from 10:00-11:30am.  Here are some items to note ahead of the session:

  • Be on time!  In fact, please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early.  There is a lot to cover, and we will get started right at 10:00am.
  • Bring your NYU ID to swipe in.
  • Bring a pen/pencil with you (there will be a worksheet to complete).
  • Take care of yourself/eat ahead of the session if you normally would during this time.  Don’t be hangry!
  • Come with excitement, ready to learn, and an open mind!

The PDO will discuss various aspects related to Resources, Responsibility, and Flexibility.  You will hear from me (your site rep) as well as students who have previously studied away in Florence.  

Please note:  This session will NOT cover aspects of the visa process.  Each individual’s visa process is very different so there is not a one-size fits all approach.  Our partner office, The Office of Global Services, will continue to be your main resource when navigating this.  Please ensure to follow any communications they send, and do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions.  They can be contacted at ogs.outbound@nyu.edu or 212-998-4242.

Preparing for Study Away: Panel with Students of Color

To kick off International Education Week, the Office of Global Programs is partnering with CMEP and Diversity Abroad to host a Study Away Panel for Students of Color. Former study away students will discuss how their racial and/or ethnic identity was perceived in their new city, and how it impacted their experience. Come and join the conversation!

Date: Monday, November 16
Time: 5:30 to 6:30 pm
Location: Silver Center, Room 401

RSVP here. If you are interested, but unable to join, let us know! Email jessica.levin@nyu.edu.