by Mario Villani
Have you ever thought about studying in a country where you can have almost everything just around the corner such as skiing, beaches, and maybe the most amazing historical sites and art creations in Europe?
Did you often think youd like to go further with your language skills and not just talk in English with everyone? Just going in a place where you would have to learn to speak the local language? Well then, you should look for a study option in Italy!
Italy has a welcoming environment, fantastic attractions and draws a large number of exchange students annually.
Here is what you should know about the amazing student life in Italy.
Italy counts several top universities with a large international environment
Italy is a popular international study location not just due to its high multicultural ambiance, but the country also has several top universities. Check the Times Higher Education ranking of the best Italian universities in 2017.
Italy is home to Bologna University, the prestigious institution that marked the current higher education system in Europe and is also the oldest university of the modern world. In addition, Bologna is on the list of top European cities that welcome the largest number of Erasmus students. Of course, its long tradition and prestige plays an important role, but also the student-friendly ambiance and the nice location of the city are important factors.
There are many other superior universities available in Italy. A few other examples include Italian higher education institutions such as:
- Politecnico Di Milano
- University of Milan
- Sapienza University of Rome
- University of Macerata
- Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Italy is an affordable destination for international students
Italy is one of the most affordable countries in Europe where you can study abroad and that goes for tuition fees and living costs as well. Either for a Bachelor, Master or doctoral degree, the average tuition charged by Italian universities range between 850 and 1,000 EUR/year.
As far as the living expenses, you would have to spend somewhere between 750 and 1,250 EUR/month for housing, food, local transportation and social activities. Rome, Milan and Bologna are some of the most expensive cities, while life is cheaper in cities like Pisa, Padua, or Turin.
Find out more details about living costs in Italy.
Easily travel within Italy and see iconic attractions
1. Get around Italy using the public transportation
Italy allows you to jump into a bus or train for just a few Euros to escape from the cold and foggy Milano, or from the chaotic Bologna, for example, straight to some of the most beautiful beaches of the world.
Almost every big city is also perfectly connected to European and non-European countries with 87 airports. You can easily travel by train, all the bigger Italian cities are interconnected with 77 (main-) railway stations. That makes life easier for many students that do not like travelling by car or by plane.
2. Dont miss out any of Italys wonders
While youre enjoying the international student status in Italy, it would really be a shame not to take advantage of the privilege of living close to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Yes, Italy beats any country at this chapter, successfully counting 51 heritage sites that speak about the cultural and historical past of Italy.
Imagine first-hand how the gladiators fought in the Colosseum, take a picture holding the Leaning Tower of Pisa, get lost on the streets and canals of Venice, and explore the centre of Catholic faith in Vatican City. Learn a little Italian history and geography and visit Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, or walk along the lovely beaches of the Amalfi Coast.
You may not be a fan of cathedrals, but the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and Vatican City truly impress anyone.
Check testimonials of these students:
- Purna studied in Bolzano
- Veronika studied in Bologna
- Sebastian studied in Rome
- Ida studied in Milan
- Esteban studied in Naples
Embrace the Italian lifestyle
When it comes to traditions and culture, Italy is a place that cant be described in just a few words or a guide only.
1. Dont expect pineapple slices on your pizza!
Italians are famous for their pizza; sure, you can eat pizza anywhere in this world but the real pizza is in Italy. Im not sure anyone discovered the secret ingredient but the truth is youll have to taste it to convince yourself that it is unique. Pizza in Italy is also more refined so dont expect to see tons of toppings over it and never ask waiters to add pineapple over it either! Youll just insult them.
As for pasta, you can enjoy them in all sizes and forms, cavatelli, ravioli, orecchiette, tagliatelle and most restaurants will serve homemade pasta.
Leave the beers to the truck drivers, and start enjoying good Italian wines instead. A good bottle can start for as little as three Euros!
2. Italians like to socialise until late at night
Compared to other countries in the southern part of Europe, life in Italy starts and ends late in the evening. At 20:00 the streets are full of life, and sometimes this is the time when life just begins. In many other European cities, at 18 p.m., the city looks like it switched off all of a sudden. There are no people around anymore and the ambient was really driving us to depression. This is definitely not going to happen in Italy!
3. Make sure you do your shopping in time
In an Italian university city, going for a walk at 21:00 or 22:00, especially in spring-summer-fall, makes you feel in good company, always surrounded by people. In the southern part, most shops have the closing time at 20:30 and that makes life easier for students who always forget to get some food before closing time.
Impress Italian professors with your presentation skills
In Italy, you can find a suitable study programme in any field you can imagine, from arts to computer science. You can choose either Italian or English as medium of instruction, as long as you provide a language proficiency test.
You would have to pass around 20 exams to successfully complete a degree (around eight exams in each academic year) and most of them are oral, and not written exams. In some specialised fields, such as medicine or engineering, you will be required to pass 40 or 50 exams. Some exams are common for all study degrees and if you fail any of them, you can retake it several times.
Oral examinations make life easier for a lot of students, but if youre a bit shy or your Italian is not that perfect yet, you might feel a bit uncomfortable with this kind of examination. Getting already some Italian skills at home can be very helpful for that matter!
Dont worry! Youll soon adjust to this type of exams and consider them a good exercise for developing your communication abilities. After all, communication abilities are some of the most valued skills by employers worldwide.
Have you ever heard about the ridiculous graduation ritual in Italy?
In Italy, graduate students have to go through a ridiculously funny ritual; after the official ceremony, students dress up in goofy costumes (usually a giant diaper, a hula skirt, or a funny hat), sit on a bench and wait for their peers and family to clutter them with either ketchup, eggs or other food substances. Students also hang around posters representing caricatures with an embarrassing anecdote of their colleagues.
Famous and common archetypes you will encounter in Italy
- From small restaurants and cafeterias in Italy, you can take drinks and food as take-away, so you wont pay double the price listed on the menu, which is a common practice in Italy. Additionally, many shops and even restaurants are closed during lunch break, usually between 13.00 and 15.00.
- Italians take great pride in their coffee and consider the American-French filtered coffee dirty water.
- Most Italian people just cant digest English, but nevertheless, they try their very best to understand it and to communicate with foreigners using English.
- Guys chase after girls easier than in other countries, using their charms to complement them. The specialists can be found in the biggest cities frequented by tourists.
- Italians are elegant and sharp dressers; after all, they have many famous fashion brands and Rome and Milan annually organise fashion weeks.