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Safety, Health and Wellness

The safety, health and wellness of our students is a priority at Gustolab International (GLI). We are an experienced organization working with US universities on international programs in the areas of Food Systems, Sustainability, Cities, Human Rights, Media, Design and Technology. We understand university students from the US and other countries and the challenges they may face when studying abroad.



Gustolab International requires all its program participants to programs to enroll in a comprehensive international travel and health insurance policy suitable for international education or cultural exchange such as Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Participants are responsible for procuring and  showing proof of enrollment of such insurance before their program starts


Student Services Coordinator

The Student Services Coordinator is our staff appointed to assist with questions of wellness and safety. They are knowledgeable about Italy, Italian culture and have experience in emergency and crisis response. In the case of an emergency, the coordinator is ready to implement an emergency response plan such as accompanying the student to the doctor, hospital, police station, coordinating between medical professionals in Italy and other countries and providing consistent support throughout the incident.

Medical Advisor

Aside from the health and wellness resources that are normally available to students, students also have access to our medical advisor, Dr Andrea Guerriero. Dr. Guerriero is a local English-speaking medical professional who can assist with any health issue that arises. He works for MedinAction, a private health service collaborating with the Salvator Mundi International hospital and various student insurance companies including Gallagher and CISI. The medical advisor: is on call for emergencies 24/7, will be available for the GLi community when there are health related questions, concerns or medical cases, will assess whether medical cases are Covid-19 related or not, is available to activate the service for thePCR test in case of a suspect Covid-19 case, will liaise with the Italian national health system when a positive case is confirmed, create protocols for safe return to class, will update all the international guidelines based on World Health Organization guidelines and Italian Ministry of Health, will isolate suspect cases and liaise regarding contact tracing when the public authorities will do the contact tracing (the Italian national health system is in charge and they are the major authorities who will decide the contact tracing, the medical advisor will supervise and support them and facilitate), will promote hygiene and preventive measures, social distancing and mandatory wearing of masks.

Aside from the medical advisor, GLi has a dedicated doctor who will advise regarding Covid-19. All schools have this resource by law.

On-site cultural & security orientation

At the beginning of each program GLi organizes an on-site safety and security orientation where students learn about the normal security precautions to exercise, communication protocols and support, services and resources they will have available during their program. We also provide orientations that are identity & inclusion specific (focusing on LGBTQIA+, women, students of color). We make available to all students at orientations and elsewhere lists of hospitals, physicians, counselors and pharmacies in Rome.

Safety Monitoring

The GLI staff monitors official warnings and alerts regarding U.S. citizens provided by the U.S. embassy, the U.S. State Department and AACUPI to address any additional measures that should be taken in the event of an emergency. Our staff also monitors news provided by the Italian government such as strikes or weather alerts. GLi implements a group evacuation and emergency plan (in case of pandemic, terrorist attacks, earthquakes) specific to each program in the event of an emergency.

Additional support through our network

Clinic or counseling services

Gustolab International does not offer clinic or counseling services. However, our emergency phone is active 24/7 and we collaborate with trusted service providers who have worked with our students in the past. This includes counseling and health services that cost an extra fee. For regular health related questions, Gustolab International collaborates with local English-speaking medical professionals who can assist with any health issue that arises. This includes MedinAction , a private health service available 24/7 (this health service works with the Salvator Mundi International hospital and various student insurances such as CISI and Gallagher). They also provide psychological support. We continously monitor student issues in partnership with our service providers and can provide additional options for contacting other forms of assistance.

US Embassy support

During an outreach organized by the U.S. embassy in Rome during the student's on site safety and security orientation, students receive U.S. embassy in Italy contact information, which they are advised to save in a safe place and contact at any time they like.  Students learn about the type of support that they can receive from  the U.S. embassy while studying in Italy (emergency, passports). Students are also encouraged to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) that the U.S Department of State provides. STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If they do, they will get alerts regarding U.S. citizens (Safety and Security Conditions) and can get contacted by the U.S. embassy during an emergency.

Other resources

National emergency service

For any emergency, students can also contact the national emergency service: 118

Different conditions may apply for students from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Hobart and William Smith Colleges or students attending other customized field schools. Learn more

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