Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Answers to your questions

We know that as you start preparing yourself for the next academic year there are a lot of questions that come to your mind. Economics, visa, housing, health insurance, concentration…and the list goes on.

We thought it’s time for a question and answer session.

Q: How do I meet the introductory economics requirement mentioned in my letter of admission?
A: You can take the Online Principles of Economics (OPE) course we offer during the summer, or you can take a similar course at another institution. If you decide to take a course elsewhere, we would ask you to send us the course description so that we can make sure the course is at the correct level.

More information on the course we offer is available here. Please note that enrollments are on a first-come-first-served basis, and you should make sure to register as soon as possible to secure your spot.

Q: What should I do if I don't get a place in the SAIS OPE?
A: You should look for a course outside of SAIS. There are several institutions that offer courses, online and in-situ, which will help you get a solid understanding of the principles of micro and macroeconomics.

Q: Can I substitute the OPE with the pre-term courses?
A: No. The economics courses offered in pre-term are at the intermediate-level. To be able to start those classes you must have completed the introductory courses. It makes sense: you need to be able to walk before you can run.

Q: I would like to pursue a different concentration than the one I indicated in my application. Can I change?
A: Yes, you can choose from any of the concentrations we offer with the exception of International Development, which has capped enrollment.

Q: Where can I see the list of courses that will be offered at SAIS Europe in 2014-15?
A: Information on the course offerings at SAIS Europe is available here.

Q: What type of visa should I apply for?
A: Non-European Union citizens need a visa to study in Italy. The visa you should apply for is the type D student visa (visto per motivi di studio), which will allow you to stay in Italy and travel within the Schengen area.

Q: How do I apply for a visa?
A: The first step is to check the requirements on the website of the Italian Embassy in your home country and follow the instructions listed there. We will provide you with a visa request letter, which you will need to attach to your other documents.

Very important: You should make sure your visa lasts at least for the duration of the academic year. The reason it is important is because your permesso di soggiorno (residence permit) will have the same duration as your visa. If your visa does not cover the entire academic year, please be sure to send us a message at

Q: Who can use the visa service offered by Admissions Office in DC?
A: Anyone who is currently residing in the U.S. can use the visa service offered in Washington. More information on the service is available here.

Q: How long does it take to receive the visa?
A: It depends on the Embassy and their workload. It's best to start as early as possible.

Q: Do I need health insurance while I am in Italy?
A: Non-EU students need to have a health insurance plan that will give them access to health care while they are in Italy. You can buy insurance through SAIS or you can purchase a plan in your home country that is equivalent to the SAIS insurance plan.

Q: I am a dual national and I hold an EU passport. Do I need health insurance?
A: If you are not a resident of the EU, it is likely that you will need health insurance. EU residents can apply for a European Health Card which will give them the same access to health care as Italian citizens.

Q: When does the housing service begin?
A: Salvatore, our housing consultant, will start showing apartments on August 11. Finding a roof over your head can be a daunting thought when you move to a different country. But worry not, Salvatore will make it easy for you.

Students generally manage to find a place very quickly, often a day or two after their arrival. Please make sure you have booked yourself a hotel room for your first night in Bologna.

More information on housing is available here.

If you have questions, please comment on this post or send us an email at

Amina Abdiuahab

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