International Engineering Program

Preparing for Your Year Abroad: Italian IEP

Preparing for the year abroad in a stress-free way takes months of planning before you depart. Most students leave for the year abroad in September and return twelve months later. The preparation process includes individual and group meetings and orientations to discuss a range of topics such as the application process, academics, internships, accommodation, course selection, registration with the university, culture and cultural differences, visa advising and health, safety and security abroad to offer the maximum support to our students. We will also connect you to 5th year students who just returned from their year abroad, to exchange students from our partner universities whenever possible and to other helpful resources. 

Follow the timeline below and also check out the Italian IEP Student Guide below created by Italian IEP Student Ambassadors to help prepare you for the year abroad.


Italian IEP Abroad Timeline

October – December

  1. First informational session: TBA
  2. Budget: View the Program Budget Sheet in URI Abroad for estimated program expenses. 
  3. Passport application or renewal:  If you have a passport, make sure it will be valid 6 months past the date of your anticipated return. If you do not have a passport, or if you need to renew your passport, go to your nearest Post Office (which for URI is in Wakefield); you MUST schedule an appointment.
  4. Obtaining a Visa: While URI offers students guidance on how to apply for a visa, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa needed to support their studies. US citizens who are studying in Italy need to apply for a long-term student visa before entering Italy (see the Italian Consulate Website for instructions). You are eligible to apply for a visa as soon as you receive your acceptance letter from the Italian university, and a letter from URI addressed to the Italian consulate in March/April. It can take months to get a visa appointment, so plan ahead and DO NOT WAIT to make your visa appointment within 3 months of your departure date even if you do not yet have your acceptance letter. Important: Non-US citizens need to check whether they are on the list of countries whose citizens need to apply for a visa on the consulate’s website. Please make an appointment with Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor,, if you need any additional guidance on obtaining a visa.
  5. Financial Aid: If you have questions about financial aid during the year abroad, you should contact a financial advisor in Green Hall.
  6. Meet with your advisors to discuss your academic plan for your fifth year: Make sure to work on a graduation worksheet with your advisors, so that you know which classes you have to take for graduation. Since you will have to register for Fall courses from abroad, let us know if there is a conflict between a Italian course and courses required for engineering in your 5th year. Review your IEP program curriculum sheet.
  7. Scholarships: Start working on scholarship applications for scholarship opportunities with December or January deadlines, such as the Beatrice Demers Scholarship, the Gilman scholarship, and the Teodoro Raffaele Diaco Excellence Scholarship (deadline: March 25). For additional grants and deadlines, check out IEP Scholarship & Fellowships. Note: The URI scholarship portal opens in April and the deadline for URI scholarships is in June.
  8. Research opportunities: If you would like to earn 3 professional elective credits, talk to your IEP director about possible research opportunities (pending availability and transferability). During your year abroad there is the potential for a research project with an Italian professor who is willing to sponsor you. For this, the following steps need to be completed: On the Prior Approval Form, please list “MCE 491”, “ELE 491”, “CHE 491”, “CVE 491” etc. for this course and finalize with the University of Calabria / University of Parthenope how many hours you are going to work/perform your research. For visa purposes you should work at least 25 hours per week (this will be stated in the UNICAL/UNIParthenope letter of acceptance). This way it is possible to determine the exact number of credits that will be received for this course at the University of Rhode Island. The transfer policy is 6 ECTS credits will come back as 3 URI credits and count as a professional elective. The course will also need to receive a grade for the work performed, and therefore needs to go on a UNICAL/UNIParthenope Transcript. In the event that the class cannot count for a 491 course, then it may be able to count as 4xx (note: this option may only count as a free elective). On the Prior Approval Form the engineering department chair at URI will need to sign off on the course. From here you have the option of any URI professor that has a related study to the research project, to read your reports or final paper. This is done in order to gain approval for the work completed abroad. It is better, but not necessary, to identify the URI faculty member before you go abroad.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Attend an optional information session on how to apply to study abroad in the URI Abroad Application System – TBA

    • All students who plan to study abroad are required to obtain permission from URI and therefore must complete the URI Abroad Application. In general, IEP students should apply using the Fall Semester application for their program – not the Academic Year.
  2.  Contact Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor, if you have any questions about the URI Abroad Application or about the study abroad process.
  3. General IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting: TBA


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 1:  Complete Phase 1: Pre-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. Deadline: March 1st.
  2. Italian IEP Preparation Meeting: TBA


  1. Italian IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting: TBA
  2. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: Complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st
  3. Internship Documents and Placement: Set up an appointment with Dr. La Luna to discuss company choices no later than the first or second week of April. With Dr. La Luna’s help, you will gain access to our internship portal where you can learn more about the different Italian companies that have internships and view projects from past Italian IEP program participants to help you determine the company you would like to intern for.  Internship Resume/Cover Letter: Each student needs to complete a resume and the draft of a cover letter for an Italian company. Students upload all their paperwork in the Italian Advising Google Folders. In addition, students need to submit a copy of their resume (both in Italian and English), and transcript to their folders. This is important for companies who host URI students for an internship.
  4. Prior Approval Forms: Make an advising appointment with Dr. La Luna to discuss course equivalencies between URI and your chosen university of study. Complete the Prior Approval Form. Dr. La Luna can help you get your language courses approved, but please note that for all other courses from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the chair of that related department and/or the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will need to sign, and that for engineering courses, your engineering advisor and the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering will need to sign. Remember to add in a couple (2-3) more classes than desired, in case of class unavailability or changes while taking courses in Italy. Students will then need to upload the finalized Prior Approval Form to URI Abroad in the post-decision phase of URI Abroad application.
  5. Italian Partner University Application: Complete your partner university application, so that they can send you the acceptance letter you need to obtain your visa.

    University of Calabria

    • For more information on the application process, registration, courses, scholarships, etc. please visit UNICAL’s admissions page here.
      Please also contact UNICAL Welcome Office
    • For the UNICAL Application form, click here. After completing the form, please email it to the Welcome Office, copying Dr. Gianpiero Barbuto, Manager of International Relations at UNICAL, and Dr. La Luna

    University of Naples Parthenope


  1. URI Office of International Education – Pre-Departure Meeting: TBA
  2. Health Insurance: In addition to URI Health Insurance or other private insurance, all URI Students are covered by CISI Insurance. Students confirmed to study abroad will automatically be registered and emailed proof of insurance, which they will need to obtain a visa.
    For students going to UNICAL:

    • While at UNICAL, students can purchase optional Italian insurance (€150/yr.). This will cover them for any medical services that they may need.
  3. Optional Intensive Summer Language Program: Consider enrolling in an intensive Summer Italian language program. Consult Dr. La Luna for more information. If you enroll in a Summer Program that is NOT a part of the IEP program, you must meet with OIE Education Abroad Advisor, Jamie Loredo, to discuss the transfer of credits and to register the program through URI Abroad as a non-affiliated summer program.
  4. IDI Meeting/Testing: In this meeting, students will learn about the Intercultural Development Inventory, followed by a mandatory IDI testing session.
  5. Visa Appointment: Start working on your visa application by making an appointment with the Italian Consulate as soon as you have your acceptance letter. 

May – June

  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: If you have not done so already, complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st 
  2. Pre-departure Meeting: TBA. This meeting will serve as a final overview of the plans for the year abroad.
  3. Visa appointment: Please note that your appointment must be within 3 months of your departure date.
  4. Travel arrangements: Students are responsible for their own travel. Usually Italian courses for international students begin toward mid to late September. However, some classes, especially engineering, do not begin until late September to mid October. Make sure you contact the universities to ask when the best time is to arrive.

    UNICAL Travel Arrangements:
    For more information, please visit this website.

    • Contact the Welcome Office at least two weeks prior to your arrival to obtain the mandatory Pre-Arrival Form and to confirm an arrival date ( It is strongly recommended that students arrive on a week day as opposed to the weekend to guarantee that the offices are open.
    • Inform Dr. La Luna and/or Dr. Berka via email if necessary so that URI and UNICAL are informed of your arrival date and time.
    • Free student pick up service is available from Castiglione Cosentino Train Station
    • Find housing for your first two days in Italy. Due to UNICAL’s at least 2-day process for students’ registration, students are expected to find housing for the first night. Fortunately, they do provide housing on-campus. However, it is up to the student in choosing where to stay. Visit the Welcome Office for assistance.
  5. Parthenope Travel Arrangements: Make sure you contact the university to ask when it is the best time to arrive. For more information, please visit this website.

While in Italy

September – October

  1. Arrival:
    • Upon arrival, check-in with the Welcome Office and receive your housing accommodation assignment.
    • Apply for your residence permit referencing the information provided to you in the Pre-departure orientation and on the On-Site Timeline.
    • Inform the Welcome Office of the courses you are taking / did take.
  2. Coursework: Participate in summer program (if applicable).
  3. Begin semester program.
  4. Scholarship Aid/Financial Aid: Applies as usual

December – January

  1. Prepare for internship:
    • Location/assignment to be worked out with Dr. La Luna
    • Working papers required – International University Offices in Italy will help you. 
    • Fill out the Required IEP Internship Application in URI Abroad by the Spring Course Registration Deadline (Jamie Loredo from OIE will email this to you). You MUST fill this out so that OIE can enroll you in the 12 credits you need to maintain your student status.
  2. Getting Courses Transferred and Intent to Graduate (if applicable):
    • Upon completion of the exchange program, you will need to have your program’s institution send an official transcript to OIE so that your transfer credit can be evaluated. Please refer to OIE’s Transfer Credit policy for more information.
    • If you will be graduating, you will need to fill out the appropriate Intent to Graduate Form at least a semester before you graduate.
    • Read additional in-depth instructions regarding the Intent to Graduate process for the College of Engineering.
  3. Housing: Begin looking for housing in the city where you complete your internship. Use your city’s Facebook pages or another online platform to search for housing (click here and here for some ideas).
  4. Winter Break: You can use some of this time for housing interviews or researching your internship company/location!

Late February – Late August

  1. Take exams (if not already completed).
  2. Begin your internship: Usually from February – August.
  3. Courses: Work on online Spring Semester course work.
  4. Advising: Check-in with your advisor and get your advising hold and any other hold lifted so that you can register for Fall semester courses.
  5. Register for Fall Semester courses.