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44 Helpful Resources for International Students in Italy

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Giotto's Campanile in Florence
View of Giotto's Campanile from the top of the Duomo

We aren't surprised you want to live or study in Italy. With the pizza, art, fashion and so much more, it's no wonder that Italy is the second most popular study abroad location for American students after the UK. Italy is a country rich in history and legacy and has been influencing the world for hundreds of years. Even if you aren't an artist, you can discover a bit of your creative soul among the works of Michelangelo and while eating the food of master chefs.

Now if we could only debunk how to study abroad in Italy!

Even with the most supportive of study abroad programs, there's going to be a lot of "life in Italy" that you're going to need to navigate and solve independently. We've compiled this list of resources to help you make the most informed decisions possible and so you can get the most out of your experience from day 1. Check out these awesome resources for studying abroad in Italy and Buon Viaggio!

>> Which city in Italy best suits you for study abroad? Take this quiz and find out!

Educational Resources

Whether you're studying at an Italian university or an international school, having knowledge of the Italian educational system will help you relate to local students and meet your own education goals:

  • Higher Education Systems This site explains the higher education system in Italy, from the grading process to the different types of university systems. It also allows you to search by degree to find a program throughout the country.
  • Accademia Italiana Check out this list of scholarships specifically for students studying or living in Italy.
  • Library Search Find useful local libraries by city in Italy (in Italian).
  • Public Library Check out this online catalog of public libraries in Italy, including the national libraries in Rome and Florence (in Italian).
  • InfoPlease Everything you could ever want to know about everything to do with Italy - fantastic resource!

Language Learning

From beginners to advanced students of Italian language, everyone can benefit from further language learning tools. Find a refresher course, an academic/professional language course or learn the language of the streets! The more you know, the deeper you can delve into the culture around you:

Bridge Over the Tevere River in Rome
Rome's Tevere River at Sunset is Postcard-Worthy
  • Free Language Learning with lessons divided by skill level. Includes helpful (and funny) videos and dialogue to help you listen and read Italian.
  • Italian Slang Dictionary An alphabetical guide to Italian slang, expressions, and colloquialisms.
  • BBC Online Tools If all else fails, BBC has some comprehensive and extensive language learning tools to check out to perfect your Italiano.

Government Resources

The visa process and bureaucratic hullaballoo surrounding studying or living abroad can be discouraging if you don't know where to start. While the Italian system is different than what you may be used to in the US, understanding what is expected of you can help the process move much more smoothly. These resources are a great place to begin:

  • Student Visa Info Up to date information on the student visa process with what to expect both before and after arrival in Italy.
  • General Visa Info If you're not a student, this is a handy guide to types of visas you may be interested in and what the requirements are.
  • Consulate Locator Find the Italian consulate or honorary consulate for your area and link to their website to make your visa appointment.
  • US Embassy A quick link to the US Embassy in Italy. Lost your passport? This is where you need to go.

>> When in Rome: Tips and Tricks for living abroad in Italy.

Financial Resources

Managing your money abroad can be a scary idea, but rest assured that with some planning, you can make the right choices for your finances:

Cinque Terra, Italy
Cinque Terre: A Must-See When in Italy!
  • Currency Converting Up to date currency converter based on current exchange rate. Also has an ATM locator feature, which is useful for when you travel around Italy as well.
  • Cost of Living Check out and compare the cost of living between Italian cities and major cities around the world. Breaks down costs or rent, utilities, groceries and other expenses.
  • Trip Advisor Forums Browse this community-driven online resource for tips on how to handle your finances in Italy from past travelers to Italy.

Phone Resources

Experience Italy on your smart phone! This money and time saving apps are sure to come in handy during your travels and many of them work on wifi or don't require a connection at all (just download ahead of time). Most of these apps are geared towards larger cities and will ensure that you don't miss out on anything and might even keep you from getting lost:

  • Rome Apps As a student in Italy, chances are you'll find yourself in Rome at some point during your stay. With hundreds of attractions, these apps will help you navigate everything in the city from the metro system to Vatican City! There are even free audio tours for some of the city's historic sections.
  • Italy Apps Our favorite list of Italy travel apps. More than 30 resources from language learning, to restaurants, to hand gestures, you're sure to find something helpful or entertaining on this list.
  • Piccell Wireless Inexpensive cell phone service for students that includes a free phone and free calls to other Piccell customers. Stay in touch with the people you meet and only pay for the minutes you use!

Housing and Business

Finding local housing and services is essential to living in Italy. Find apartments with other international students or immerse yourself with some Italian students. Check out these resources for guides to settling in Italy:

Alley in Italy
Just think - you could live here!
  • Student Housing Find Housing with other students based on a city or university. This is a great way to meet Italians and start making local connections.
  • Hostel Bookers Find hostels throughout Italy for domestic travel and the whole of Europe.
  • Hostel World Another site to find hostels throughout Italy and Europe.
  • When In Florence Find apartments in Florence, English services, and luggage storage.
  • The English Yellow Pages A virtual phonebook of English speaking businesses across Italy.
  • Anglo Info Your go-to English guide for living in Italy. Find businesses, search classifieds, and keep up to date on issues that affect you. Regionally specific information provided as well.

Culture and Social Resources

Looking to fit in and understand the culture around you? Not feeling like an outsider in Italy will undoubtedly make for a more positive experience there. Familiarizing yourself with the local culture will help you avoid those foreigner follies. Check out these resources to help you blend in and make friends along the way:

  • Situational Culture All about Italian culture and customs from the basics to the classroom to the workplace. Learning some of these things will help you blend in and show respect for Italian customs
  • Expats Social forum and guide for expats living and adjusting to Italy.
  • Erasmus Student Network a site for international students studying abroad.
  • Life in Italy A handy English website with everything about life in Italy from food to politics to rental apartments.
  • Holidays and Traditions Explains some of the national holidays and traditions and lists individual holidays for selected cities.
  • A Girl's Guide to Italy From eating to men, this article will help every girl navigate the country and feel comfortable along the way.

>> Check out our list of 65 Grants and Scholarships for study abroad.

Discounts and Student Deals in Italy

What student doesn't love a great deal? We're not saying that you're "broke as a joke," but every little bit saved can go a long way - maybe you can even splurge for 2 Euro wine instead of 1! Get fancier meals, cheaper activities, and travel to more places with these money-saving websites:

The Coliseum in Rome
When in Rome...Be Sure to Check Out the Coliseum!
  • Groupon Italia Get Groupon deals for major cities in Italy. This is a great way to enjoy nice meals, outings, and events. (Emails and website in Italian).
  • Eurail Pass If you're just going to travel around Italy, check out the one country option! Italy is completely accessible by train. Make sure you order before you leave the US. Multiple country options available as well.
  • ISIC Decide if an International Student ID Card is for you by seeing the deals and discounts you can get throughout Italy based on city.

Travel Resources

Italy is a regional country, so you are not going to experience the whole of Italy if you stay in one place. Besides, with so much history and things to see, how could you not travel this exciting country? Whether you want a day trip to the vineyards or a weekend in the Amalfi coast, these resources will get you where you want to go or help you plan your own travel:

  • TravMonkey A compilation of the best travel blogs so you can read about and learn from other's experiences.
  • Student Universe Student travel guides for Rome and Milan.
  • STA Travel Travel guides for large cities in Italy designed for students (and a student's wallet).
  • FlorenceForFun Explore day and weekend trips originating from Florence with other students. Also find cooking classes and get nightlife hook ups if you're visiting or living in Florence. They can also help you find discounted train tickets and soccer tickets!
  • Bus2Alps Bus2alps is a leader in the student-travel industry with young, relatable guides and adventures in and around Europe. Students get home and say "that was the best trip of my life" - trips depart from both Rome and Florence.
  • TrenItalia in English. The rail system of Italy--buy tickets and find times/routes. Tickets can be purchased online or at kiosks in train stations. Look out for sales! Remember that tickets are good for three months, even if booked for a specific date or time (unless there is a seat assignment). Just don't validate it until right before you use it.

>> Is Florence or Rome a better city for studying Italian abroad? Find out.

Italian Food Culture

It's no secret that Italians love their food and cherish meal times as more than just a time to eat. Eating is about socializing with friends and family and since dinners alone can be upwards of two hours, understanding the customs can help you adjust, and even embrace, these experiences. You may find that these rules are more flexible in some places, but having an understanding of them is a good place to start:

Bowl of spaghetti
Now that's what we're talking about!
  • Coffee Culture All about coffee in Italy, but most importantly, how to order coffee in an Italian 'bar.' Read about customs and types of coffee so you never miss out on something delicious!
  • Food Rules While some rules were made to be broken, remember that Italian culture centers on food and dining so they have a few more opinions about how to eat than we do. Trust them, they know what they're doing and you're taste buds will thank you.
  • Aperitivo Better than happy hour, you'll want to experience this social eating and drinking tradition as often as you can!
  • Wine Guide A guide to wine labels and etiquette for the non-stuffy traveler.

Always keep in mind: you have choices and options at your fingertips for your study in Italy experience; by being proactive, you can discover all the possibilities before you even leave the States! Unfortunately, many students don't discover these realities until they are abroad and have already committed to something. Take charge of your experience and tailor it to your desires with a little planning; we guarantee, you'll have a better experience because of it. Besides, once you're in Italy, you'll want to spend all your time leisurely eating gelato and admiring the beautiful surroundings instead of planning.

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