VOSS Faq

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Who can apply?

The summer school is open to undergraduate and graduate students. We prefer students who at the time of the school will be in their last year of undergraduate studies or in their first year of graduate studies.

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Can people from countries other than Italy or Vatican City apply?

YES!  Students of the Vatican Observatory Summer School come from all over the world.  For the 2014 VOSS, our 25 students represented 22 different countries.

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Do I have to be Catholic to apply?

No. VOSS is open to aspiring astronomers of every faith, including nonbelievers.

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Once I apply, am I automatically selected?

Unfortunately, no. The school is limited to 25 students, and we receive many more applications than that.  After the application deadline has passed, we will review the completed applications and choose students.

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When will I know if I am selected?

We will notify students in mid-December, 2015.

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What language is the summer school?

Everything will be taught in English, the international scientific language.  This is an excellent opportunity for students from non-English-speaking countries to practice working in English.

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Where will the summer school be held?

We hold the summer school at the headquarters of the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Our headquarters is located in the beautiful pontifical villas.

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Do I need to know Italian?

No. Very few of our students know more than one or two words of Italian.  We are near Rome, where they are accustomed to tourists from many countries

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Where will I stay?

We arrange for students to stay together at a nearby hotel, Villa Altieri, in Albano Laziale.  It is less than a 5-minute walk from the door of the Vatican Observatory.

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How much will it cost?

There is no tuition. Students will be expected to pay for airfare, hotel and meal expenses.  The hotel (including breakfast) for 30 days will cost about €1000.

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Is financial support available?

For students with difficulty paying, we can provide scholarship support of 50-75% of expenses, at the discretion of the director.  Please include a request for support in your application for the school.  We will not make any decisions about financial aid until after the students have been selected. Financial need will not affect our decision of who is admitted to the summer school.

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Do I need an Italian visa?

This depends on your country of origin.  If you need visa assistance, we can try to help you after students are selected.

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