Italy is a nation with rich diversity, natural beauty, culture, and history. It is a powerful country with a prominent presence on the European continent. Everything from the Alpine mountains of the North to the seashores of the South, this boot-shaped country has an array of historic, cultural, and touristic heritage to offer to its students.
Several excellent academic institutions are spread across Italy, which has attracted many international students. Through the Bologna Process, Italy has played a key role in the restructuring of higher education in Europe. International students in Italy will not only gain
valuable knowledge about their subjects but will also learn important cultural competencies in one of the world’s youngest nation-states.
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Why study in Italy?
You should consider studying in Italy if you’re searching for affordable degrees in Europe. Italy harbors some of the oldest universities in the world, such as the University of Bologna (founded in 1088), and the University of Padua (founded in 1222), which offer high-quality education and low tuition fees. Italy’s rich culture and history will also interest you as you explore its cities.
Since 1999, Italy’s education follows the Bologna system which follows the 3+2, 3-cycle system.
This means you can graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree after five years of study from an Italian university. Because of such enduring higher education systems, Italy is a prominent study destination among students from all over the world with institutions offering higher education opportunities in every discipline.
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As a result, Italy is a host to more than 32,000 international students taking advantage of its high standard education system and enjoying its diverse culture and cuisines.
Study without a scholarship in Italy
Although the tuition fees can be quite affordable based on the university you choose there are other expenses as well which you need to keep in mind such as food, accommodation, books, transportation, and miscellaneous others.
Therefore, I will provide you with some tips to facilitate your education while living in Italy
even without a scholarship and hopefully, you’ll figure out the kind of budget you require to
pursue education in Italy.
1. Prepare and Apply Early
First and foremost apply early!
The application procedure starts from December for next year’s September batch and you
should complete the application process by January itself to have plenty of time to figure out other things like visas and accommodation.
You’ll need to determine whether or not your academic credentials qualify you to attend the
- Check the tuition fees of the program you are interested in and the living costs.
- You can ask for a pre-assessment at the university you’re interested in by contacting them.
- Once you receive feedback from the university about whether you’re eligible, you must submit a pre-application request to the Italian embassy or consulate in your area to ensure your admission.
- The embassy or consulate will then submit your application documents to the institution you chose.
- You can then check your name in the list of selected candidates which is published by the embassy at the August end.
Apply to Affordable Universities in Italy
On average Italian universities charge around 4,000 euros/year and you’ll realize that it a huge amount when you convert in your currency. So, it is better to apply to affordable universities in the first place according to your budget to lower down the total tuition fee.
The tuition fees at many public and some private universities are lower than the average at other private universities, providing great value for money. You can make a list of the affordable institutions that offer your field of study, and select the ones that offer both quality and affordable tuition.
Some of the most affordable universities in Italy are:
- University of Camerino
- Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria
- University of Pisa
- Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
2. Costs of living:
Generally, international students living in Italy have monthly living expenses ranging from 700 to 1,000 Euros, which includes accommodation, meals, public transportation, and/or entertainment.
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The city you choose to stay in also affects your budget. For instance, Rome and Milan are more expensive than other Italian cities.
The average monthly living expenses in different cities are:
- Bologna: around 750 – 1,100 EUR/month
- Florence: around 850 – 1,300 EUR/month
- Milan and Rome: between 850 and 1,450 EUR/month
Monthly charges for housing can range between 300 to 600 euros depending upon the city you live in and the type of accommodation you choose. To reduce your monthly accommodation expense you can share the apartment with other students, living alone will cost you a bit more.
Universities also provide homestay options where the student can stay with the locals during his/her time abroad. It is a good way to study abroad on a budget and it will also help you to learn their language better while getting to know their culture and lifestyle.
On average, the accommodation prices based on the type are:
- Living alone: 400 to 700 EUR/month
- Sharing an apartment: 250 to 300 EUR/month
- Homestay: 200 to 400 EUR/month
Don’t forget to account for utilities like electricity and water, which can add up to 90 – 260 EUR to your monthly accommodation budget.
4. Food Expenses
It can cost you around 50 to even 200 euros a month to buy groceries from a local supermarket. Supermarkets like Lidl and Penny Market have some of the cheapest prices.
The average meal price in Italy is around 35 euros a day. Lunch and dinner at Italian restaurants can range from 8 to 15 euros while breakfast prices are a little lower. On average, in midrange restaurants, dishes like pasta will cost between 6 to 12 euros while fresh meat and fish generally costs around 8 to 16 euros.
Note that the restaurant will charge you for the bread and cover which normally costs between 1 to 2.50 euros per person.
It is better to have inexpensive meals at the university’s cafeteria or you can also opt for some good street foods where you get a pizza and sandwich for about 2 to 3 euros. Some of the Italian restaurants also have Happy hour which they call “Apertivo” where you can get a free buffet if you buy a drink, for about 6 EUR. This is generally between 6 to 9 pm.
5. Transportation costs
Italy’s public transportation is very convenient and one of the easiest ways to travel. Depending on the city, a student bus, or tram ticket costs approximately 25 to 45 EUR a month. Traveling by train is also convenient because of Italy’s fast and well-maintained network, so visiting other cities is viable as well. The fare for a trip starts at about 20 EUR, but if you book it early, discounts of up to 70% are available.
6. Other miscellaneous costs:
Extra costs for calls, internet (if Wi-Fi is not included in your accommodation), books, and other social activities can add up to your monthly budget when studying in Italy.
- Phone bills and Wi-Fi: 30 to 50 EUR/month
- Books and other study materials: 40 to 50 EUR/month
- Entertainment and other social activities: 30 to 40 EUR/week
Tips for saving some extra money in Italy:
1. Cook Yourself
It’s good to dine outside with your friends occasionally but better to cook your own meal than to eat outside on a daily basis. This will save you a lot of money and you’ll be eating healthy as well. You can learn to make pasta and Tuscan-style veggie dishes from the fresh produce that you picked from the market. Italy is a culinary culture and cooking is a great way to be a part of it.
2. Wine Doesn’t Have to Always Be Ordered
Wine is sold in every corner of Italy. It is fun to have wine when you come abroad as we are of legal drinking age and it’s liberating at first until you see just how expensive wine can be.
Try sharing a bottle of wine with your friends instead of each getting a couple of glasses when going out. Also, Italy has some less expensive wine collections which are better than the expensive ones, so take advantage of that.
3. Travel within Italy mostly
Many European countries are near to Italy and trying to visit them every weekend can cost you a big time. It is not only heavy on your bank account but also on your body as you’ll eventually get tired of traveling and everything can become a blur quickly.
Remember that you are in Italy, a country renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Experience the best of Italy while you are there. As a country that was unified during the 1800s, every city or town is unique and has a story of its own. You’ll discover a different side to this amazing country in everything from the food to the landscape to the people.
Visit Naples, the city that invented pizza. For only a few euros you can take the bus from Verona up to Lake Garda and explore the beautiful city.
4. Keep a Log
You can pen down your purchases and monthly expenses to keep a track of all your spending.
You can categorize your expenses into food, travel, shopping, etc, and create a limit for each category. You can save a lot using this method and can invest that money in some other things.
Europe is home to some of the most beautiful countries and studying in one of them like Italy, is an excellent pick. Its low tuition fees will enable you to save cash as well as enjoy the great weather while visiting cities full of ancient monuments, mysteries, and some of the best cuisines
in the world.
No matter where you go, studying abroad can be financially challenging, but it shouldn’t prevent you from having one of the most memorable experiences of your life. In Italy, there are so many things to see, do, and eat it’s no surprise it is one of the most popular countries for studying abroad. But you cannot simply go on a 24-hour vacation when you are abroad, so budget as if you normally would in everyday life.
Make sure you are aware of which expenses are essential and which are not, and learn to enjoy yourself on a budget.
You can study abroad in Italy and have a fantastic experience without breaking the bank. By following these tips, you can make smart decisions about what costs are necessary, which costs can be reduced, and where you can splurge for an extraordinary study abroad experience.
Have a great study experience in Italy and make the most out of it!