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Money and Finances Abroad

CURRENCY

The currency in Italy is the euro. It is important that students understand the currency conversion from US dollars prior to departure. Currency conversion rates can be checked online at www.xe.com.

EXCHANGING and ACCESSING MONEY

Major credit cards: Cash advances are available from most ATM machines all over the world for those who hold VISA, MasterCard or American Express cards. You will be charged an unknown interest rate on cash advances, thus we recommend withdrawing the largest amount possible (usually €250) each time so as to avoid being charged repeatedly. Please contact your credit card company for details.

Debit cards from your local bank: Cash advances are available from most ATM machines. Before you leave, contact your bank to find out exact international locations of machines connected to your card’s network.

Exchanging American currency (USD) for Euros (EUR) will not offer an optimal exchange rate. Also, banks hold specific hours of operation and due to your academic schedule there may not be sufficient time during the week to exchange currency.

Traveler’s checks are not suggested. In addition to inopportune hours, banks will apply a fee for exchanging traveler’s checks. Shops do not accept traveler’s checks.

MORE TIPS and INFORMATION on BANKING

  • Ask your bank if there are any charges that may be applied.
  • Some systems may require your United States account to be a checking account.
  • Many overseas machines have only numbers on the keypads so do not memorize your PIN by letters. Some networks only accept 4-digit PINs. Shorten your PIN to enable you to use your card at the widest variety of locations.
  • Tell your bank that you will be studying in Italy and for how long. Also tell them that you may be traveling to other countries during this time. This way, charges to your card in another country will not appear as suspicious action and prevent your account from being frozen.
  • It is recommended to exchange $200 – $300 US dollars worth of money into euros before traveling to get you started.

SPENDING MONEY

You are the best person to determine how much you will spend while abroad. Consider what your current spending habits are per week. Now double that because you will probably want to do twice as much as you regularly do considering that you are in a new environment.

Many students spend more than they anticipated. This is for a variety of reasons, but overall students are taking advantage of opportunities they may feel are once-in-a-lifetime and are also impulse-shopping with regards to excursions, clothes and the like. Also, some basic amenities are more expensive in Italy than in the United States.

 

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