Study abroad in Italy: how to get the best of it

By Go! Go! Italia staff
04 Dec 2023
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Photo for how to make the most of study abroad in Italy

So you’ve signed up for an Italian language school —nice choice! Now, as you get ready for your study abroad in Italy, you really want to make the most of the experience. Studying in Italy isn’t just about hitting the books; it’s a game-changer for your daily life.

Here are some helpful tips for a fulfilling study abroad experience.

Picture for groceries tips for study abroad in Italy experience

1. Grocery shopping and purchasing essentials

Grocery shopping

Explore local markets and regular street markets in each city for fresh groceries. Before heading to the market, check approximate prices to avoid overpaying. Alternatively, experience economical shopping at discount stores like LIDL, Eurospin or Aldi. Keep an eye on sale information at nearby supermarkets for cost-effective shopping. Try visiting local fruttivendolo, where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables and usually they are cheaper. 

Essentials purchase

If you’re looking for cheap stores, visit EuroMart or small accessory shops in each city. You can find necessary items at affordable prices.

Tabaccheria

Traditionally establishments that sell tobacco, today they function as points of sale for public transportation tickets, including bus and metro passes. Additionally, they serve as outlets for prepaid mobile phone credit, bill payment services, making it convenient for locals and visitors to perform various transactions in one stop.


2. Eating out without breaking the bank

Aperitivo

Eating out in Italy might get quite expensive, however there are a few tricks that can help you budget. Cooking at home is definitely one of the cheapest options, but if you are looking for cheap options to eat out, going for an aperitivo is definitely a good option. Aperitivo is a popular Italian tradition where people gather for pre-dinner drinks and light snacks. It typically takes place in the early evening and serves as a social occasion. What makes aperitivo convenient price-wise is that when you order a drink, it often comes with complimentary access to a buffet of appetizers and you can eat to the point that you don’t need dinner. Often all this for 10 euro. Very convenient.

Photo of pizza for study abroad in Italy article

Pizza a taglio

Is the Italian term for “pizza by the slice.” In this style of pizza, a large rectangular or square pizza is baked, and customers can purchase individual slices according to their preference. The pizza is often displayed behind a counter, and customers can choose the type of slice they want. It’s a convenient and popular option, allowing people to enjoy a quick and customizable serving of pizza without having to order a whole pizza, usually for a very convenient price.

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3. Making friends 

Language skills  

Some of the younger people may speak English in major cities in Italy, however having basic Italian language skills significantly enhances your study abroad experience. Starting in small towns when you begin your study abroad journey can be beneficial because it will force you to speak Italian. Immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, interact with locals, and gradually improve your language skills.

Social activities

Attend school events, join activities like cooking, photography, art, history or music, and participate in local happenings such as sagre (food festivals) to connect with peers and locals during your study abroad experience in Italy. Don’t hesitate to initiate conversations. Immerse yourself in an international environment, where you will meet people from all over the world. With your peers coming from diverse linguistic backgrounds, you will be able to practice your Italian without fear of being judged. If you’re unsure where to start, consider joining after-school programs offered by your school.

4. Understanding Italian culture

Cultural sensibility

Embrace the Italian way of life with an open mind. The experience will be different from your time in your home country, offering a broadening perspective. Familiarize yourself with Italian customs and social norms. Understand concepts like the importance of family and time. Italians take things slowly. Shops are not open 24h/day, but they tend to have a lunch break from 14:00 to 16:00. Keep that in mind when planning your next run to the local tabaccheria to pay your bills.

Time off

Taking long vacations is not just a leisure activity is an integral part of the Italian lifestyle. The Italian holiday season typically kicks off in August, when many businesses and shops close as locals embark on their annual vacations that can last up to 1 month. If you find yourself in Italy during the summer, don’t be surprised if the streets are a bit quieter (except for more touristic places) and bureaucracy slows down as offices are closed.

5. Navigating administrative processes

Visas and resident permits 

To study abroad in Italy, check your visa requirement according to your nationality. Once you obtain a visa and arrive in Italy, you have to get your legal residence permit in Italy. The permesso di soggiorno (residence permit) is not issued immediately, which means making a trip outside of Italy might get a bit complicated. Start the application process promptly and regularly check for approval status.

Waiting time

Be prepared to wait. In Italy things slow down a little. Bureaucracy tends to be slower compared to other parts in the world, the bus does not always arrive at the designated time.

6. Maximize school’s support  

Support services

Try using the support services offered by language schools. They can assist not only with academic matters but also with everyday issues. The staff at our partnered schools is friendly and ready to help students with any problem they face during their studies in Italy. They are a dedicated team of professionals to help students and enrich their study abroad experience. This way, students can enjoy their time in Italy and make the most out of it. Additionally, if you have specific needs, request counseling from Go! Go! Italia, we are here to help.

Photo of student studying for study abroad in Italy

7. Building basic language skills for study abroad in Italy

Language preparation

Before arriving in Italy, consider learning basic Italian sentences or taking a beginner’s language course.

Learning some basics will help you go around the first days and not feel too overwhelmed. Moving to a new country might be difficult at the beginning, especially with zero Italian knowledge. Classes are conducted entirely in Italian, even for beginners which might be a bit intimidating. Teachers are great at assisting those new to Italian, employing tricks and tools. Complete immersion in the language is the fastest way to grasp it, so no need to worry, you will pick it up quickly this way. We do recommend however, to arrive in Italy with some basic knowledge to ensure the first days you don’t feel too lost. If you don’t know where to start from, contact us, most of our school partners have online options to help you kickstart your Italian learning journey.

In conclusion, embarking on a study abroad journey in Italy is an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, enhance your language skills, and create lasting memories. From savvy grocery shopping and budget-friendly dining options to making friends and understanding the Italian way of life, these tips can contribute to a fulfilling experience.

Want to learn more useful information about living and studying abroad in Italy? Read more about Italian culture and society on our blog and follow us on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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