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In the spring of 2021 we plan to offer students our courses regardless of how the pandemic develops.  We will do this by having two versions of each course.  The first is our ‘on-site’ version.  We plan to teach it in the environs of Rome with excursions, lectures, and guest speakers.  The second version is a ‘virtual’ one that can be offered ‘at a distance’ from Rome or Italy.  If, for whatever reason, the ‘on-site’ version of the course is cancelled, we will shift to the virtual version of these courses.  We successfully did this in the spring of 2020.  

Please note that Gustolab International (GLi) takes our students and our world seriously.  We believe our students are at the forefront of national and international trends stressing stewardship for our planet and ourselves. We are serious about learning and seek equally serious students eager to grapple with the complexities of understanding other cultures – and our shared world —  through their study of food systems and sustainability.   

To minimize risk, we are calling for a heightened sense of personal responsibility from all of our students.


We anticipate all students will:

  • be cooperative in following our policies
  • adhere to all rules and regulations in Italy pertaining to Covid-19
  • stay informed and check the latest guidelines issued by health and government authorities as well as GLi
  • recognize their obligation to engage seriously in all educational activities
  • and to protect their own well-being, the well-being of fellow students, our staff and faculty, and the residents of Rome and Italy

Please note this is a dynamic situation with best practices, formal rules and informal practices subject to change at any time. At GLi we assume all students will work with program management and staff to seek out and maintain best practices in public health. If you feel you cannot adhere to public health standards created by legal entities across Italy and the EU then please consider postponing this study abroad opportunity.  


The academic schedule for this spring has been shortened to 89 days. For this reason, spring break will not be included in the program.  Students will be required to be flexible regarding academic scheduling because of evolving Covid-19 responses in Italy and the EU.


Students can choose among 5 courses: Food & Culture; Food & Media, Contemporary Italy: Culture & Society; Layers of Rome & Italian Language. To learn more about the courses, visit our course catalog.

Learn more about the spring program.

Admission process

Students will apply directly through Gustolab International, They will also be responsible for working with their home university regarding credits and any eventual waivers for studying abroad. We will provide support where available. In order to attend our programs, we will request that students sign a pledge and other documents regarding Covid-19 precautionary measures. The pledge is likely to be updated throughout the program. Your signature on the pledge reflects your agreement with all its aspects as well as understanding that GLi cannot eliminate all risks of contracting Covid-19, nor predict all related adjustments that may be required to protect yourself and your fellow students, faculty and staff. Students will be required to obtain health and travel insurance to attend the program.

Withdrawal policy

GLi is committed to serving our students and will not plan to cancel our program. If students will not be able to attend courses in person (for example, if circumstances deteriorate in Italy), GLi will shift to online instruction and work towards completing the academic program. Co-curricular aspects of the program such as excursions and onsite activities that require in-person attendance will be canceled and will be replaced with online activities where possible. Please see the relevant section on academics for more information.  In case of cancellation of the onsite portion of our programs, student fees dedicated to prepaid onsite expenses will be reimbursed as possible (depending on refunds from vendors, events, or services). After the beginning of the program, no refunds are possible on housing. Other onsite expenses can be refunded if not already spent on behalf of students This calculation will be done following the cancelation of the onsite program.


Student program withdrawal policy for Covid-19 related issues.

A student may submit a request for program withdrawal until 14 days before arrival if they contract Covid-19 and are unable to participate in the program. In this case, a full refund (including housing fee) will be provided. For any requests for withdrawal between the start date – 13 days before the start date, a refund will not be provided. However, if a student contracts Covid-19 before arrival and wants to submit a request to still participate in the program with a delayed arrival (after the program start date), their request should include a proof of negativity to Covid-19 along with a doctor’s note stating his completely recover and authorize the travel and the projected date of arrival in Italy. GLi will respond. This type of request can be sent at any time before the start date and typically will be approved and all funds will be allocated for the program.


Please also note that GLi will continue its normal student withdrawal policy


During the week before departure,  we will require students to attend 3-5 days of a mandatory pre-departure orientation online as an introduction to the program and Covid-19 procedures. Please note that the Italian authorities have asked all Italians to get the regular flu vaccination. We ask all GLi students to get this vaccination before coming to Italy. GLi will require proof of vaccination. Students will provide GLi proof of flu vaccination conducted prior to departure. Our practice is to keep students updated on the requirements they need to fulfill by email.

Visa & traveling to Italy

GLi has shortened its Spring semester 2021 to 89 days onsite (in Rome). European regulations state that U.S. nationals are exempt from the requirement to be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders of the Schengen Member States for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period, notwithstanding the possibility of having country-specific amendments to those Annexes in particular circumstances.


Due to current restrictions in place regarding travel to Italy, students will have to still enter Italy for “study reasons”, even if they come without a visa. This is because non-essential travel (i.e., tourism) to Italy from most non-EU countries (including the United States) is forbidden; only essential travel is allowed and includes students, businesspersons, EU residents, and relatives of Italian citizens. The student’s travel reason should be demonstrated when entering the Italian border by showing supporting paperwork. Students will receive more information about this when they are admitted to our programs. 


If the student plans to stay in Italy (or another Schengen country) for longer than 90 days, or is not a U.S. national, they will have to apply for an entry visa at an Italian consulate in the U.S. or country of residence Students should be mindful of potential delayed processing times for visa applications and resulting delays in travel planning.


All persons traveling to Italy from any foreign location are required to provide their airline or Italian law enforcement officials with a self-declaration form prior to travel. In this form, students should specify that they are coming to Italy for study reasons. Additionally, students must show supporting documentation such as their enrollment letter.


English-language guidance on current entry and exit requirements is maintained on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website 

Please see our section on travel  for more information.

Arrival & Welcome

On arrival day, students will receive a transfer from the Rome Fiumicino airport (suggested airport of arrival) to their accommodations in Rome. Students will receive a welcome kit including a disposable mask.     Thermometers will be available at their residence (one in each room).


According to the current regulations, students are required to quarantine upon arrival to Italy. They will do this at their assigned housing and during this time, students will receive an orientation (online in the case of the quarantine obligation or in person in the case that the quarantine obligation is removed). Please see this section on quarantine for more information.

Disciplinary measures

Students will face disciplinary measures for failing to comply with measures implemented by GLi. They may be removed from class until they comply and may face further punitive action, up to removal from the program and may face consequences according to the Italian legal system.

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