The First Semester in Florence program provides staff to support students while they are abroad. In addition to U.S.-based Global Education staff, Wells College employs two full-time resident directors in Florence. Resident directors greet students at the airport, introduce them to the ways of life in their host country, help students to register at the host university, and support them throughout their stay. They also provide practical information, language tutoring and insight into the host culture. Wells also partners with CEA to provide academic programming and support for first-year students. Both the Wells College resident directors and CEA academic staff are available in case of any personal emergency and are ready to implement emergency response plans if needed.
The Wells College residence directors and CEA on-site staff are fully trained and prepared to handle any emergency. Our partner institutions have set up relationships with local hospitals nearby, and staff are aware of all safety protocols. There is an on-call phone number that students can call 24/7 to reach a staff member should an emergency present itself. In addition, the New York-based staff have an emergency phone and are kept aware of any situations abroad. Parents are typically notified of emergencies either by their students or staff. All students are covered by comprehensive health insurance provided by Gallagher and AXA travel—leaders in international insurance industry (see health insurance section).
Yes. First Semester in Florence students attend a pre-departure orientation in late summer prior to their U.S. departure for their semester abroad, and an in-country orientation once they arrive in Florence. Students who choose to return to Aurora, N.Y. will also receive transfer orientation session along with personalized attention from staff.
Students create their own academic paths at Wells College, with most graduating in four years. Credits from the First Semester in Florence program count toward academic credit, degree completion, and GPA requirements. The Wells in Florence program functions in many ways just like an on-campus semester: grades and credits for the courses students take will appear on their Wells College transcripts and grades will factor into their GPA. Students may receive credit toward their major, minor, or other graduation requirements as determined in consultation with their academic advisor and appropriate department chairs. All First Semester in Florence students will be assigned an academic advisor at Wells College to provide guidance on major/minor requirements at the College.
Courses may also be transferred to other universities through institution-specific transfer processes. First Semester in Florence courses are designed with broad appeal in mind and will work to complete most general education requirements at a wide variety of degree-granting institutions in the United States. Students intending to transfer to another institution after the first semester or year at Wells College should be familiar with the courses (both general education and major/minor requirements) that apply at the institution they intend to transfer to.
All First Semester in Florence students are guaranteed on-campus housing in the spring. During the fall semester, while they are abroad, students will be prompted to fill out a Wells College housing survey. Once submitted, our Office of Residential Life does their best to place students in housing according to their preferences. Students are placed in residence halls or apartment-style accommodations depending upon availability.
In addition, the Wells College Global Education staff will serve as the group’s on-campus liaison, assisting students with the selection of their housing and helping them register early for spring classes while abroad.
The Wells College campus is transitional in nature, meaning students are constantly coming and going, either for domestic or global study-abroad or other experiential learning opportunities. The First Semester in Florence Program fits well with this culture, and students are not at a disadvantage by entering in January.
Students participate in a return orientation in the spring that connects First Semester in Florence students with other incoming transfer students and new international exchange students. Spring orientation also includes small group sessions with academic counselors, Student Affairs staff, and deans' offices.
Check-in dinners will be arranged with the group during the spring semester. Global Education staff will use these opportunities to informally discuss topics relating to campus adjustment, reverse culture shock, and overall student well-being. As the program develops history and alumni, veteran students will also join these dinners to share additional resources and invite new students to join clubs/intramurals/etc. that they are a part of.
Parents are always welcome to visit! We recommend waiting until students arrive and receive their course schedules for the semester, so that both parties can consider the best time to visit based on coursework and break dates.
You can contact Amy Torea, Wells in Florence Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 315.364.3291 for more information.