Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bits and pieces

Got questions on economics, jobs, internships, visas, health insurance or housing? Let me take a stab at answering them.

One of SAIS’s distinguishing features is its interdisciplinary curriculum. The combination of international relations, economics and languages sets SAIS apart. You may remember a past post by Prof. Çigdem Akin explaining the importance of studying economics to succeed in international relations.

As a future "SAISer", you are required to have a basic understanding of the principles of micro- and macroeconomics. If you’ve already passed university-level exams in basic micro and macro, you can start your course work at SAIS. If you have been admitted through the SAIS Bologna Admissions Office, you will receive an email this week indicating if you've met this economics requirement.

What if you’ve not satisfied the requirement?

You have two options. You can to sign up for the Online Principles of Economics course we offer during the summer. The registration deadline is May 15, and the course runs from May 23 to August 16. This course will give you the training you’ll need to tackle the intermediate-level classes you will take at SAIS, either in pre-term or during the academic year.

The other option is to take an equivalent university-level course elsewhere. Before you enroll, we want to make sure you are learning the right stuff. Please send us a syllabus of the course for approval. To understand the key concepts you’ll need to grasp, take a look at the syllabus of the course we offer.

Remember: All incoming students have to have studied both introductory micro and macro before they can start their course work at SAIS. The pre-term courses in micro and macro are at the intermediate level.

Many students need to work to make ends meet. Every year some students work on campus while others work outside of via Belmeloro. Opportunities within the SAIS Bologna building include working in the library, at the reception, as teaching or research assistants, as well as working with administrative offices.

There are internships with the CCSDD, an organization run in partnership with University of Bologna, and the Bologna Institute for Policy Research (BIPR). In coming weeks we will ask Ann Gagliardi, SAIS Bologna’s Career Counselor, to discuss opportunities available to you. For now, you can take a peek at a short interview with Ann last year.

Some students work outside of SAIS, for example as language tutors. With a student visa, one can work up to 20 hours a week. We do not recommend much more than 10 hours of work a week; otherwise, one's studies can suffer.

Students from outside the European Union need to apply for a visa to study in Italy. U.S. students are encouraged to make use of the visa service offered in Washington. Non-U.S. students will receive a visa request letter in Italian after they've paid their matriculation fee to reserve a spot in the program. There are a number of documents you will need to apply for your visa. Please consult the website of the Italian Embassy in your home country to make sure you have all the required information.

The visa application procedure is fairly straightforward. But there can be surprises. Please contact us if you encounter any difficulties.

In Italian they say, "La salute prima di tutto", or "health above all".

Non-EU citizens need to arrive in Italy with a sound health insurance plan. Regardless of your health, you need to have adequate health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay.

It is important to distinguish between Italy's emergency insurance and traditional, more comprehensive health insurance. The former provides coverage in emergencies, for example if you are taken to hospital. The latter covers non-emergencies. We recommend that students have both.

Housing matters won't eat you alive in Bologna
Finding a roof over your head in a foreign country might seem cause for an anxiety attack. Not at SAIS Bologna. We have a housing consultant who has been helping SAISers find accommodation for three decades.

The Housing Service will start on August 16. If you want to take advantage of the service, you should sign up for a housing tour after you arrive in Bologna. On the day of your tour you will be shown several apartments; if you find one you like, you can move in right away. Here is a video that shows how some of this year's students found accommodation.

Please note that housing is on a first-come-first-served basis. You should know that you are not required to make use of SAIS's housing service. If you speak some Italian, you'll see that there are real estate agents in Bologna.

Amina Abdiuahab