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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 in the areas of food systems and sustainability. We understand university students from the US and other countries and the challenges they may face in Italy, Japan and Vietnam.


Gustolab International requires all students in its direct enroll programs to enroll in an insurance policy with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Please note that for only one to two dollars a day this insurance solves multiple difficulties you would encounter in Italy should you attempt to use the Italian health services or insurance policies from the states. You will be provided more information on the specific policy and the registration process with your acceptance notice. Students must show proof of enrollment in CISI insurance within 30 days of acceptance by GLi.


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.


Wellness and Safety Advisor

The wellness and safety advisor is a skilled member of our staff who is knowledgeable about Italy, Italian culture and has experience in emergency and crisis response.In the case of an emergency, the advisor 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.  Specifically, the wellness and safety advisor: 

  • Is on call for emergencies 24/7
  • Has office hours for students
  • Supports students with questions related to daily life in Rome
  • Collects information and keeps track of students’ travels outside of Rome.  In the event of an emergency, contacts students immediately to check their wellbeing wherever they are.
  • Helps students understand how to make travel plans
  • Collaborates with Housing provider to handle problems related to accommodations (being locked out of apartments, accidents, thefts, any other major incident)
  • Can assist with arranging medical visits, accompanying students to pharmacies, providing translation if necessary and monitoring student well-being.
  • Reports to the Director and works with director to prioritize the level of emergency and handle accordingly.

Cellphone & sim card with Italian number

A simple cellphone is provided to all students for the duration of the program. The Wellness & Safety Advisor will contact students at the student's Italian number in case of emergency.

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 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 and the U.S. State Department to address any additional measures that should be taken (areas to avoid) 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 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

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