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UW Rome Center

Health and safety

Please carefully review this information and the Study Abroad Handbook. Your health, safety and learning are very important!

Health concerns and insurance

  • UW students must purchase UW Student Abroad Insurance before departing the U.S.
  • To make a medical appointment while in Rome, contact the Rome Center staff or call On Call International.
  • It is a good idea to have a physical, eye exam and any necessary dental work before leaving for Rome. The Rome Center office has numbers and addresses of doctors, dentists and hospitals.
  • Please think ahead about necessary medications and vitamins – more information here.

Student conduct

  • Remember at all times that you a visitor in a foreign country as well as a representative of the University of Washington. The U.S. and Italy are different in many ways, and while some Italian laws and customs may seem unreasonable to visitors, students must be aware of them and should be sensitive to them.
  • While in Rome, you must act in an appropriate manner at all time and to follow the UW Standards for Conduct for Study Abroad.
  • If you do not follow these standards for conduct, disciplinary action may be brought against you and the UW Standards for Conduct for Study Abroad will be followed.
  • You signed a document agreeing to follow the UW Standards for Conduct for Study Abroad and submitted the signed document to UW Study Abroad when confirming your acceptance to your program.

In churches, cloisters and other religious sites, remember that you are entering as a privilege. Your conduct and clothing should show respect to the culture and religion of Italy.

Safety in Rome

You should do everything you would normally do in a large metropolitan city in order to ensure your safety.

Petty crime, especially pick-pocketing, is common in Rome. The best way to protect yourself against this is to only carry with you what is strictly necessary.  Never carry large amounts of cash and avoid camera bags and expensive jewelry when possible. Pickpockets use clever ploys and often work as teams, in which one distracts you, either by being very friendly/helpful or by throwing/spilling something on your clothes,  while the other picks your pocket or bag.

The squares outside the Rome Center (Campo de’ Fiori & Piazza del Biscione) and in Trastevere are gathering spots for large numbers of young people, especially in the summer.  Occasionally there have been episodes of drinking related violence.  You should be aware that this can take place and safeguard against possible problems by not walking alone at night and by avoiding contact with those congregating in the piazzas.

Italian law and police

There are several kinds of police in Italy:

  • Carabinieri (military)
  • Polizia (national) and Polizia Municipale (city police)
  • Vigili Urbani (city traffic police)

Terrorist activity in Europe over the past years has resulted in an intensification of security measures and police are frequently heavily armed. It is not uncommon in Italy to be asked by police to show identification. If asked, it is important to be polite and cooperative. Show a copy of your passport and your “declaration of presence” receipt.

Possession and use of illegal drugs are serious crimes for which the consequences in Italy are severe. Do not risk involvement in any illegal activity. Individuals arrested are subject to foreign laws, not U.S. laws, and may face imprisonment or deportment.