Studying Abroad Smart: Safety During Your Semester in Rome

Studying abroad brings many new and unforgettable experiences. While planning for study abroad, students think about all of the incredible cities they will visit, the friends they will make, the food they will taste, and the exciting experiences they will have. Very few prepare for the less exciting component: safety.

Although generally a safe city, Rome is a large European metropolis with its own set of challenges and threats. Student safety is a priority at John Cabot University, and as a result we provide many resources and services to ensure that all students are prepared to handle safety concerns that may arise both on and off campus.

On campus, all JCU academic buildings are monitored by our highly trained security staff, and our Gianicolo Residence is guarded by 24/7 security. Student ID cards are required to access the Guarini and Tiber Campuses, Gianicolo Residence, fitness center, and library. Our Assistant Dean for Student Health, Conduct, and Wellbeing is dedicated to our students’ health and safety, and our administration works closely with the U.S. embassy and State Department to be ahead of any possible threats.

Like any urban environment in the United States, crime exists. Rome has very low rates of violent crime when compared with major US cities, although petty crime (pickpockets) is more prevalent. While walking around Rome you are highly unlikely to experience danger, but you should be just as attentive to your surroundings as you would while walking around New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

John Cabot University’s campus is located in downtown Rome in the heart of Trastevere, one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods. In addition to Trastevere’s Michelin-starred restaurants, fantastic shopping, and breathtaking piazzas, the neighborhood and the nearby Campo de’ Fiori are popular nightlife destinations for Italian and international students alike.

Partying is an inevitable part of study abroad, but there are major differences between partying abroad and partying at an American college campus: in Rome, you are in the middle of a major European capital city, where you are unfamiliar with the laws, language, and customs, and alcohol simply adds to the equation. The relationship between Italians and alcohol is quite different from that in the United States; In Italy, wine is a beverage to be consumed in moderation alongside a meal, and liquors are to be sipped following a heavy meal to aid digestion.

For day to day safety, students are advised to take the same precautions they would take at any U.S. university, including:

  • Avoid walking alone after dark;
  • Avoid alcohol or other substances that diminish one’s ability to remain in control;
  • Always carry the JCU emergency card;
  • Save phone numbers of close friends, roommates, and family members in one’s cell phone and carry a paper copy at all times;
  • Keep apartment doors locked, and never prop open doors to any room, stairwell, entrance, etc.
  • Make a list of all of personal property, including serial numbers and the name of the manufacturer;
  • Keep paper records of all credit card and bank account information in a safe place. Know the phone numbers of credit card providers and banks in order to report lost or stolen cards;
  • Keep valuables in a secure place;
  • Do not carry excess amounts of cash.

Studying abroad comes with risks, regardless of whether you study in a rural town in France, a big city in Latin America, or a suburban college campus in Australia. Do as you would in any city back home: stay in groups, take care of one another, and stay in control. And if you ever feel unsafe or need help, call JCU’s 24/7 emergency hotline: (+39) 335 775 5474.

For any other questions about safety in Rome, please contact us at [email protected]

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