Study in Italy - 2

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Information on student welfare services at italian universities and highter education institutions

Universities, other higher education institutions, the regional EDISU offices ( ), and the Autonomous Provinces supply a series of services and facilities for higher education students to remove economic and social obstacles which limit access to higher education.
(EDISU= Ente per il Diritto allo Studio Universitario. There is such an agency in each Italian region; it has the task to set up and run the necessary student welfare services in conformity to the current legal provisions).

The services offered are divided into two categories:

1. Services for all students: canteens, access to libraries, reduction of ticket prices for public transportation, access to the University Sports Centres (C.U.S.);
2. Services ad personam: grants, accommodation, facilities for the disabled, part-time activities. These benefits are attributed sometimes by competition, sometimes on student’s request.

The Guida dello Studente, published at the beginning of each academic, generally in October, year at the care of most higher education institutions, includes complete and detailed information about each degree course and teaching activity, but also describes the types of services in offer at each study site.

Some facilities and financial support are offered to those who otherwise would be without the necessary means. Candidates must give proof of possessing adequate merit.
The benefits consist in:

* grants, both ordinary and special;
* grants for research work towards dissertations and final degree projects;
* grants to encourage post-graduate studies.

Part-time jobs

Universities generally offers their students a maximum of 150 hours/each in part time rewarded activities. Students who are regularly enrolled and have passed the examinations required each year can apply for these part time jobs. Students who have not received the E.DI.SU. grants have priority.
Counselling and Tutoring Service

Universities promotes a series of initiatives to help students, by providing them with information: on degree courses, other teaching/learning opportunities, and job placement, etc. This service is related to the three phases of the student's career:

* Counselling on entry;
* Counselling during the study course;
* Counselling on outgoing to help transition to the labour market.

Job, stage and placement

Job, stage and placement offices of higher education institutions facilitate contacts among companies/job opportunities on the one side and students on the other, both during their study course and on leaving.
International Relations Office

The International Relations Office of the various institutions:

* promotes and manages the institutional participation in European exchange and co-operation programmes, such as Socrates and Erasmus;
* draws up bilateral conventions for partnerships with foreign higher education institutions;
* gives information on programmes, grants and co-operation schemes at an international level.

The Socrates-Erasmus Programme

The project ERASMUS, within the framework of the SOCRATES Programme, promotes and governs the exchange of students who wish to spend a period of time at higher education institutions of an EU member state other than their own. Those institutions are eligible which have signed a written cooperation agreement with the students' home institutions. During the period spent the host country, the student is required to carry out the educational/research activity approved by the home institution before departure. The length of the period to be spent abroad depends on the agreement signed by the instituions concerned. Nevertheless, it may not be less than 3 months or longer than 12 months.
Assistance and support for students with disabilities

Most higher education institutions promote initiatives to favour integration of disabled studentsas: e.g. service of accompanying persons to help them reach and move within the respective institutions, other forms of general support. Students with disabilities can contact the Counselling and Tutoring Service of their individual institutions for information on opportunities already in place, and to learn how to make the most of the benefits available at each study site.
Cultural activities

Universities and other higher education institutions may allocate funds to encourage cultural activities organized by their own students. Their chief purposes are:

* promote the development of studies and research, in such fieldes as visual arts, music, theatre, cinema, etc.;
* promote and organize meetings, conferences, group activities;
* encourage international exchanges.


This type of service is available to all students. For those who benefit of regional grants the service is free, the others pay a low cost depending on income and merit.

To enable students coming from outside the chosen study site to attend their study courses regularly, the local EDISU supplies places in hostels or flats. Should the number of students with a right to housing be greater than the number of places available, then places are allocated according to a priority list or according to the chronological order of the applications submitted.
Medical care

Medical and pharmaceutical assistance for foreigners in Italy is regulated by international agreements and treaties. To benefit of such assistance, foreign students, are required a specific documentation.
Normally EU students must have a certificate (E111 or E128 model) issued by their National Health Authority that will cover first-aid and medical assistance in Italy. When they arrive in Italy this certificate must be validated by the local health agencies (ASL).
Non-EU students must have a health insurance policy; this may be made either at their arrival in Italy with a private Italian insurance company, or before their departure with an insurance company of their respective countries; in this second case, students had better contact the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their home countries for further information on existing agreements on medical assistance.
Language centre

The Language Centre of each institution develops and co-ordinates language facilities. It provides language courses for the students enrolled at the institution concerned, for those on international exchange programmes, and for the institutional. The Language Centre provides a fundamental support service by facilitating learning processes and encouraging students to keep on improving their language competences.

The Sports Centre (C.U.S.) promotes physical activities with regard to the institution commitment in the field and, to the physical and educational well-being of its students. It offers the necessary facilities and promotes sport courses for beginners and professionals. The centre promote institutional participation in competitive and federation activities.
Office for public relations (U.R.P)

The Office for Public Relations (U.R.P.) provides information on institutional planning, counselling and job-placement; it also manages some of the services offered by the institution concerned.