Pre-Departure Timeline



Color Key:
Purple = Financial Aid
Orange = Italian Student Visa
Blue = UNIMORE Registration
Yellow = Housing
Black = Other

Dream On by Aerosmith

Spring Semester 2018 @ University of Massachusetts – Lowell



  • Monday, January 22, 2018 – 1st Day of Spring Classes


  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018 – Logged in to the UMASS Study Abroad Network , Selected my desired program at UNIMORE and clicked “Apply Now“. Began working on submitting the documents necessary for the first portion of the application.
  • Friday, February 23, 2018 – My Exchange Nomination was sent to the Ufficio Relazioni Internazionali of UNIMORE by Emily Zeitsev from UMass Lowell’s Office of International Experiences & Study Abroad
    This contains some personal information including your Last name, First name, Sex, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Nationality, Field of Study, Semester of Study Abroad, and lastly your student E-mail. (It’s mostly just a notice of intent to study abroad.)


  • Thursday, March 15, 2018 – Sent and received e-mails (through Giulia Po DeLisle) from UNIMORE about information of courses I may potentially need to take and about some courses in Reggio Emilia, as opposed to in Modena.
  • Friday, March 30, 2018 Received notification that I needed to meet with the Study Abroad Financial Aid Assistant Director, Tonya Brito


  • Monday, April 2, 2018 – Fall UML Advising Begins ( Meet with Giulia Po DeLisle in this month to look over and get an idea of potential courses you can take abroad and to assess your individual academic needs.)
  • Monday, April 23, 2018 – Received information from the Italian Consulate in Boston saying that If I am applying for a FULL YEAR study visa, then I do not need proof of a return flight.
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 – Received UNIMORE Invitation Visa letter from Giulia Po DeLisle.
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – UMass Lowell Study Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 Sent Tonya Brito a copy of the UNIMORE Invitation Visa letter.



  • Tuesday, June 5, 2018 – Bought a one-way flight to Bologna, Italy
  • Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – Joined UNIMORE International Welcome Desk Facebook group (link provided to you in an e-mail around this date)
  • Friday, June 8, 2018 – Sent Emily Zeitsev a Preliminary list of courses I want to take for the Fall 2018 semester and the course descriptions so that they could get approval from the right departments.
  • Friday, June 15, 2018 – Deadline to register and complete the UNIMORE application and submit required documents to the ISU Services website. ( If you have difficulty uploading any documents, you can e-mail the document to ) 
    1. Unimore Application Instruction
    2. Short Registration Guide
    3. Full Registration Guide
  • Monday, June 25, 2018 – Received UML Visa Letter
  • Thursday, June 28, 2018 – Submitted UNIMORE Learning Agreement form


  • July 2 – July 26, 2018 – Sent copies of all my paperwork and documents for review by Emily Zeitsev, Fern MacKinnon, and Giulia Po DeLisle in preparation for my Visa Appointment.
  • Monday, July 2, 2018 – Began searching for a room in a shared apartment near the university campus that I will be frequenting [Off-Campus Housing]. Housing is NOT provided by UNIMORE for Erasmus or Overseas students. Housing must be financed by the student (Financial Aid may or may not help cover expenses as it depends on your financial aid eligibility).
    Some websites I used to search were:

    1. (Modena)
    2. (Modena)
    3. (Modena)
    4. IWD UNIMORE Private Accommodation Service (Begins Mid-July)
    5. Facebook Groups

NOTE: Please be cautious of SCAMMERS on all of these recommendations and any other locations that you may look for housing. If you are unsure about anything, reach out to Giulia or Emily for guidance.


  • Thursday, July 5, 2018 – Sent Tonya Brito an e-mail requesting the status of my Financial Aid Package due to the need of that information for my Study Abroad Visa appointment.
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 – Received Study Abroad Program Packet 

NOTE: For the UNIMORE Program you ONLY need to submit the POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR STUDENTS STUDYING ABROAD(Pg. 3) [notarized at any bank or AAA]. You can drop off the form in person at the Solution center to be delivered to Tonya Brito.
You should complete the cost sheet yourself just to get an idea of your overall budget. (Click Here for a short list of Living Expenses). All Tuition and Fees for this program are paid directly to UMASS LOWELL as any regular school year.

  • Thursday, July 19, 2018  Received Financial Aid Award on SIS   
  • Monday, July 23, 2018 – Received the contract for a room in a shared apartment.
  • Thursday July 26, 2018 – Requested an Enrollment Verification letter from the Solution Center.
  • Friday, July 27, 2018 – Study Abroad Visa appointment at the Italian Consulate in Boston
  • Tuesday, July 30, 2018 – Transferred 1st payment to reserve the room until my arrival.


  • Wednesday, August 1, 2018 – E-mailed Tonya Brito my flight itinerary.
  • Wednesday, August 8, 2018 – E-mailed Emily Zeitsev the address of the apartment I will be residing in during my time abroad.
  • Friday, August 10, 2018 – Picked up Passport from the Italian Consulate with Student Visa Inside!
  • Monday, August 13, 2018 – Joined the Erasmus Student Network (ESN Modena) on Facebook


  • Friday, September 7, 2018 – Met with Giulia to make arrival plans.
  • Saturday, September 8, 2018 – E-mailed Landlady about arrival plans
  • Monday, September 17, 2018 – Depart for Italy! Arrivederci!

Making the Decision

“It is said that the average person makes about 35,000 relatively conscious decisions in a single day.”

From hitting the snooze button to sleep in 10 more min before your 8am class to choosing what major you actually want to study, we all have to make both big and small decisions in our lives.
One of the biggest decisions I’ve made this year is to study abroad in Modena, Italy for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 [Academic Year]!


A little background music to go along with this post. Enjoy! 
[Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield]



First, let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Rosa and I am 24 (almost 25) years old. I am going to be (technically) a Senior this coming Fall 2018 semester. I think for most people, being a senior is generally nice because everyone knows that means that you are almost done. But in my case, being a “Senior” is so much more.

At this point, I am not what you may necessarily consider a traditional student. ” 

Between 2011 and 2017, for various reasons, I was in and out of quite a few universities and colleges (3 to be exact). I have lived on campus for 2 of them and I was a commuter from home for 1. By the time I got to the 3rd, I was able to complete my Associates degree in World Languages and move on to another university. In Fall 2017 I was accepted to transfer to UMass Lowell to work on completing my Bachelors degree and major in World Languages: Spanish & Italian, as well as a minor in Graphic Design. UMass Lowell is now the 4th university I have attended, and I am very happy to say I have been very successful as a commuter student in my time here.

“Needless to say, It has been a very long journey for me to get to where I am right now and to be able to make the amazing decision to study abroad.” 



In my Fall ’17 semester at UMass Lowell, I wasn’t sure if I would even do a study abroad at all. The problem with being a transfer student is that you have to complete a certain amount of credits at the educational institution you are attending in order to graduate from there. So as I’ve mentioned before, being a senior and graduating is really important to me. Especially with how long its taken me to get to this point, and so not being able to do that is a big deal and i didn’t want to risk that for a study abroad.

Nearing the end of Fall semester, I got in contact with my advisor to select the courses I wanted to take for the Spring semester. In meeting Professor Giulia Po’ DeLisle, we were able to talk about the direction of my course of study and what my short and long term goals were.

“She encouraged me to take a look at some of the study abroad opportunities in Italy that were being promoted by UMass Lowell.”

I told her about my concerns of not graduating in time and/or not being able to graduate due to credits not completed at my home educational institution. Giulia was super helpful and worked closely with me to to find out all the answers to many of my concerns and what my options were. Once I felt more comfortable about the idea of studying abroad, I began looking into the different options.

CLICK HERE for the full list of programs UMass Lowell students can apply to!

Like doe-eyed, innocent, incoming freshmen students checking out the study abroad table at the orientation fair, I started getting excited at the thought that maybe studying abroad was still a good idea. It would be a brand new experience, a new continent, and I’d go on this big crazy foreign adventure!



Then it hit me…….. I had no clue where I would even get the funds to support myself on a journey like this. Up until this point, I had been (and still am) working part time while being a full-time student. I’ve been paying my bills and a decent portion of my student loans, and meanwhile, I’m STILL living with my parents. (That last bit about still living with my parents is both a blessing and a curse.) I thought that by 22 I’d be graduated from college, independent, and out living my best life. Yet here I am, on the grind, and still trying to get one REALLY expensive piece of paper.

As I dove further into my research I began looking into the financial set up of each program I was interested in. Some of the programs had a lot of options and would package up the cost of Airfare, housing, meal stipend, and any extra trips that you opted for and the arrangements for all of it into one set price. Others did not have as many options but, that allows you freedom over what and how much you pay for things.

After comparing and contrasting the different price ranges and speaking with my parents to see what is realistic and doable for our family’s financial situation (and planning to work my butt of during the summer, which I have been), I decided to choose to apply to an exchange program. I felt that doing an exchange program, as opposed to a partner-led program, would be the right move for me because there would be a lot more control over how much and where my money would be spent.

SIDE NOTE: [ In part, that decision was also influenced by my sister’s own study abroad semester experience with a partner-led program (not in Italy). From her personal account of the experience, there were both positives and negatives with her program. In my own research, I felt that some of the negatives she mentioned were definite deal breakers for me and with an exchange program in a smaller city I would have a lot less of those issues.
For example, some partner-led programs are in really big cities. In many cases, big cities are very international and so the chances that some people would just speak english to you are much higher. For me this is a deal breaker because I don’t want to have the option to “cheat” my way out of having to speak Italian and end up preventing myself from truly learning the language. ]



After looking through each Italian Exchange Program that interested me:

I made the final decision to apply to study in Modena, Italy at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia!

Making the decision to study abroad and which exact program was not an easy one. There were a lot of factors to consider throughout the entire process. My professor and advisor Giulia Po’ DeLisle was very in favor of my decision! Shortly after applying to the program, Emily Zeitsev from the Office of International Experiences & Study Abroad contacted me to help and guide me through the pre-departure process.

At the end of the day though, I am really lucky to have the parents that I have. They have been very supportive of my decision and although they will always be worried for my safety, they also know this is a once in a lifetime experience that I have to take.

What a perfectly crazy way to end my college undergrad career! Abroad, and at yet another university! (If you’re still counting that makes 5!)


Follow this Fall 2018’s Office of Study Abroad & International Experiences Global Correspondent, Rosa Payes, on her studies in Modena, Italy!

Rosa is a UMass Lowell World Languages & Culture major with a Graphic Design minor studying this Fall on a UMass Lowell Exchange program with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE).

Rosa leaning on a rick. Follow this Fall 2018’s Office of Study Abroad & International Experiences Global Correspondent, Rosa Peyes, on her studies in Modena, Italy! Rosa is a UMass Lowell World Languages & Culture major with a Graphic Design minor studying this Fall on a UMass Lowell Exchange program with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE)

You can also read blogs from other trips to Italy and across the globe!