Milan and Siena 2021

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Before leaving


If you do not have a current and valid passport (valid for at least three months after the last day of the program and with at least two empty ‘visa’ pages), then apply for one as soon as possible.

U.S. and E.U. citizens will not need to obtain a visa for their stay in Italy. Some international students (depending on nationality) may need to obtain a visa though. If that is the case, you are responsible for gathering all documentation and going to the Italian Consulate to obtain the visa. Obtaining a visa might be a lengthy process; do start it as soon as you joined the program. Please apply for a tourist visa (“short term”), not for a student visa. Click here for more information about visas.

You must have a health insurance plan that provides full coverage during your stay in Italy. If when you filled out the application you didn’t enter your own health insurance information, then you will be automatic enrolled, for a fee, in the Harvard Summer School plan.

If you arrive in Italy before the beginning of the program or stay after the end, be sure to have health coverage. International SOS will assist you up to a week before and a week after the official period of the program. You can purchase from them coverage and assistance for the extra days or weeks that you plan to spend in Europe.

Please remember to bring with you a sufficient supply of any necessary prescribed medication: in Italy you might not be able to find that medication, or it could require a prescription by an Italian doctor.
All participants are encouraged to travel with a basic first-aid kit. It might include: aspirin or ibuprofen, antacids for stomach upset, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness pills, antibiotic ointment, decongestant, band-aids, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Mosquito repellent is particularly important, especially in Milan.

Download on your smartphone the International SOS Assistance App and register to it. Register your trip in MyTrips.

Go to MyTrips and click on “New User? Register here” (underneath the login box) to set up your profile so that you may update your information. Note: All enrolled Harvard Summer School Study Abroad students (from  Harvard College or other schools) are considered “Extension & Summer School (DCE)” students.
After you have created  your MyTrips user profile, download the International SOS Assistance App. The first time you launch the application you will need to sign in with either a Harvard email address or the Harvard University membership number: 11BYCA774932.

Students with disabilities or who have accommodation needs due to a disability must contact the Accessibility Services Office. Click here for more information.

You will be required to sign and return to the Summer School the Conditions of Participation and General Release form, and a completed Health Clearance Packet. Click here for more information.

Book your flight to Italy in advance; prices may increase and fewer options may become available. You may want to contact other students in order to travel together and share the cost of taxis to and from the airport. Please understand that if OCS is paying for your airfare you will not receive that money until April.
Note that if the intermediate stop of your return flight is in Europe your luggage will be sent directly to your final destination. If it is in the United States you’ll have to clear customs at that airport.
As the first event of the program is our welcome dinner on Tuesday, June 15, you must arrive in Milan and check in at the Residence Zara earlier that day. You can also arrive one day earlier, on Monday the 14th; all rooms have been reserved from that date. Remember that with most flights to Europe you will be departing the day before the day you wish to arrive.
When purchasing your ticket be sure that the fare includes one checked bag (usually 44 or 50 lbs). It is imperative that you travel with no more than one suitcase and one carry-on. If students come with too much luggage, it will be impossible to fit it all on our transport bus from Milan to Siena and you might have to ship your extra luggage. You may choose to fill your suitcase only partially in case you want to bring back purchases after the summer, or you may choose to bring a collapsible duffel bag to bring empty on the way to Italy, then to fill and pay to have checked on the way home.

For your return flight you may consider leaving from the airports in Rome Fumicino, Florence, or Pisa rather than from Milan. Your accommodation in Siena has been booked until Wednesday, August 18.
Depending on the place and time of your departure, you may find it difficult to get to the airport from Siena on the same day by public transportation. In that case, consider sharing a taxi (ideally an 8-passenger minibus) with other students to get directly to the airport from Siena.
Click here for more information about your return flight.

Click here for information on how to get to your residence in Milan from the airport. The Residence Zara is a 15-minute walk (approximately 0.8 miles) or a two-minute taxi ride from Milano Centrale, the main train station and the destination of all shuttles from the airports. If you plan to take a taxi from Malpensa airport, consider booking it a few days in advance at the Consorzio taxi Malpensa site. A reservation would ensure that you’ll pay the fixed rate (€95.00) and that you won’t risk not finding a taxi: the driver would meet you in the arrivals hall.

Please remember that you must purchase the following four books in advance and in the United States. You’ll then have to bring the books to Italy. The books are:
– Patrick Boucheron, Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching People What to Fear (Other Press).
– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (Harcourt).
– Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo or, The Rules of Polite Behavior (Chicago).
– Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton).
Click here for more information.

It is strongly suggested that you read at least the readings for the first week before the beginning of the program, and in particular Kant’s selection (almost 200 pages) and d’Annunzio’s novel. Click here for more information.

For the duration of the program, students are asked to have a working cellular phone so that teachers can reach them in case of emergency and vice versa. Ask your American carrier for international plans and be sure that the phone would work in Europe. It may be cheaper to buy an Italian SIM card with a pre-paid account upon arrival in Italy. The SIM can be used with an American cell phone only if it is tri-band or quad-band phone, if it has been unlocked, and if it has GSM capabilities. Otherwise, you should purchase a cell phone in Milan. Click here for more information about cell phones and cell phone plans in Italy.

Bring with you a couple of passport-size photos. You will need one for your bus and subway weekly pass in Milan. Otherwise you’ll find photo booths in the main subway stations in Milan, including Stazione Centrale and Romolo (the station close to IULM University).