Frequently asked questions about the JAF291: International Seminar in Italy
The following are covered for all seminar participants.
Snacks, coffee, souvenirs, private travel and personal purchases are covered by individual participants.
The seminar is open both to current Gordon College students and to adult learners, including Gordon College alumni, staff and faculty, JAF alumni, and other friends of the College.
Gordon students receive 4 credits for the Seminar by supplementing the on-site study with two reading and writing components completed before and after the two weeks in Orvieto. The additional elements locate the theme of the Seminar in the larger historical and religious contexts of medieval-Renaissance Europe.
Yes. JAF291 has been approved to satisfy the Human Person theme and the Fine Arts element in the Core.
In addition, and with the approval of the History department chair, History majors are likely to be able to use JAF291 as an elective in the History of the Ancient and Classical World or History of Medieval Europe sections of the History major curriculum.
No. Gordon College-sponsored financial aid does not apply to International Seminars, although a student’s financial aid advisor can indicate the possibility of applying federal loan options to the program.
Round-trip flights to Rome from Boston Logan International Airport will be arranged for participants through Gordon's preferred travel agency, the World of Travel.
The program will follow a rhythm of focused lecture-and-discussion time in the mornings with local activities and free time in the afternoon. The days based in Orvieto will be punctuated by excursions, including the main excursions to Florence, Siena, Rome, and Arezzo.
You DO need a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months beyond the dates of the Seminar. United States citizens do NOT need a visa to enter Italy with the tourist status sufficient for this Seminar. However, international students at Gordon College with an F-1 visa -- or adult learners who are not US citizens -- may need to apply for a visa depending on the agreements between Italy and your own country-of-citizenship. We have learned, for example, that Italy and China do not have a reciprocal agreement, and students with a Chinese passport must apply for a visa. Applications for a visa can be submitted at the Italian Consulate in Boston. The GEO can guide you through this process.
Winter weather in Umbria is changeable, with bright sunshine and clouds and rain equally possible, often in the same day. Temperatures are unlikely to fall below freezing; daytime temperatures normally range between 40 and 60. Light snow is possible but unlikely. Guests are more likely to feel uncomfortably chilly while inside than out of doors, because the thick masonry walls soak up and slowly exude the winter’s dampness. The key for clothing is the ability to modify four layers: warm underwear (turtlenecks or silk underclothing is great), a shirt or blouse layer, sweaters, and wind-and-water-proof jacket. A bulky winter coat should not be necessary if you can add on warm underlayers. A cozy and stylish scarf or two is a necessity, and very often worn inside as well as outside by Italians. Bring gloves, a warm hat, and a fold-up umbrella and compact rain poncho or coat. Cozy slippers are nice indoors. Bring comfortable and sturdy walking shoes, and a fancier pair for more formal events such as concerts or nice restaurants. Bring along all necessary prescription medications (impossible to refill in Italy without an Italian doctor’s prescription) and your own favorite pain and cold remedies and toiletries—although no need to overdo it, since Italian versions are readily available.
Gordon College’s leased property in Orvieto is a 13th-century monastery recently renovated and modernized. Seminar participants are lodged in spacious double-occupancy rooms on the residential corridor, each with a private bathroom. The library-classroom hall contains comfortable chairs and desk-tables that can be arranged as needed. A comfortable sitting area is available for quiet reading, writing and conversation.
The dining area includes a toaster-oven and hot-water-heater and refrigerators for storing personal items and making snacks. The institutional kitchen used by our professional cook is not available for use by guests. Two washing machines are available, but bring enough underwear and socks so that the need for the washer is kept to a minimum.
Yes, but the signal is deliberately localized to the library-classroom space, and does not reach the dormitory area. Wireless signal pick-up and internet cafés are located throughout the town.
Strongly-delivered advice: do not bring cash or traveler's checks. Rather, bring a debit card for use in the several ATM machines around town. PLEASE TAKE THIS ADVICE: check with a real person at your debit-card home bank to make sure that international use is not automatically blocked, and to review the charges that may or may not apply to using your card. Credit cards are widely used in Italy, but not universally. Small shops and cafés are mainly cash-based.
Yes. This seminar is distinct from the year-long, on-campus JAF honors program.
Yes. All students are invited to apply whether or not they have participated in the JAF program.