Studying in Italy: Everything you need to know (2023-2024)

Federica Montella

Updated on Apr 19 • 5 minute read

If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to say that you’re thinking of making the leap to study abroad in Italy. Beyond the world-class universities, you’re going to find of the best places to live on the planet and friendly people ready to treat you just like “famiglia”.

In this article, you'll learn

  • What you should budget for your studies
  • How the Italian higher education system works
  • All about student associations in Italy
  • How to find accommodation for your Italian studies

How much does it cost to study in Italy?

One of the very first things you’ll need to do is make sure that Italy fits into your moving abroad budget. Of course, a lot will depend on where you stay in Italy, and then you can break it down even further by neighbourhood.

Tuition fees in Italy

Italy’s tuition is considered to be relatively cheap when compared to fees in other countries. Tuition fees will vary depending on your institution. Thankfully, there are several scholarships available to international students. Italian scholarships are offered as an academic reward as well as a financial aid.

To give an idea of what you can expect to pay at an Italian university:

  • Public universities in Italy cost between €900 and €4,000 annually.
  • Private universities in Italy cost between €6,000 and €20,000 annually.

The average tuition fees an international student pays is €1,500 for the academic year.

Cost of living for students in Italy

There are a lot of things to consider when you think about your total living expenses on your moving checklist for Italy.

One of the first things to consider is that your living expenses will depend on the location. However, you’ll need to take a good look at your budget and decide if living close to your university is a priority, or if you don’t mind an easy commute.

Most international students will spend around €1,000 to €1,200 monthly. This budget covers housing expenses, monthly essentials like groceries and transport, as well as a little extra "fun money" to enjoy your time in Italy.

Let's take a closer look at your main expenses so you can get an idea of what you'll be spending on.

1. Student housing in Italy

Renting a room in Italy can cost between €300 to €750 per month, depending on the location. Renting in cities like Rome and Milan will cost a lot more than renting in the likes of Turin or Bologna.

But to get a nice idea of housing costs, let’s use give you the average rental prices across Italy as a guide:

  • Rent for a private room - €500-700 per month
  • Rent for a studio - €900-1,200 per month
  • Rent for an apartment - €1,200-1,550 per month

It's important to check if utilities will be included in your rent, or if those will come at an additional cost.

Sharing a flat is a great way to save money as you'll be splitting all of the expenses.

You'll share the rental price, as well as utilities, including things such as Wi-Fi, and maybe even food costs. Plus, it’s nice to also share cleaning responsibilities, and you can take turns cooking at home. Sharing is also a great way to get to know new people!

2. Food prices in Italy

Italy is perhaps best known for its delicious food and wine— but how much of your student budget will it eat up?

Hopefully not much! Many restaurants in the areas closest to the universities will offer student discounts on meals, and the on-campus cafeterias typically offer inexpensive, healthy meals. So make sure you bring your student id wherever you go.

You can also try your hand at cooking at home, especially if you have roommates to share the cooking duties with.

When shopping for groceries or even other regular household items, visit the local markets in your area. These products tend to be local, fresh and more affordable than what you'll find in the supermarket. Most cities will also have discount grocery stores like Aldi or Lidl if you're looking to save money on groceries.

3. Transportation Costs

In most cities in Italy, you’ll be able to pick between buses, trams and metro travel. There is also an extremely convenient rail system called Trenitalia that runs through most of Italy, offering multiple routes and travel options.

For your convenience, you can purchase single tickets, weekly and monthly passes and more. You may also get a student discount on your travel expenses, depending on the region. The average cost of a monthly travel pass in Italy is around €35.

Cycling is another popular travel option in Italy. You can purchase a bike at a secondhand store. You can also temporarily rent scooters with companies like Lime.

Understanding the Italian higher education

Italy is a popular destination for international students looking to study abroad. Italy has many well known universities with rich histories. Plenty of these universities have courses taught in English in a wide range of subjects. So international students will still have plenty of choice, even if they don't speak Italian.

The Italian higher education system is binary and divided by the university sector and institutions of higher education for music, dance and art. However, the teaching style in the Italian higher education system is quite similar to other European cities.

Forms of teaching in Italy

Higher education in Italy uses many traditional forms of teaching, often blending the roles of teacher and student.

  • Lectures - The professor provides a presentation.
  • Seminars - The students are actively involved in the sessions.
  • Project-based learning - Projects are given to help introduce real-world experiences.
  • Exams - Frequent exams (written and sometimes oral) help the professor evaluate whether their teachings have been successful.

The grading system in Italy

Italy uses a 1-30 grading system, with 18 being the passing grade. Depending on your course, your grade could be a combination of exams, essay or seminar grades. Each course is likely to have a different approach to the final grade so be sure to read your course manual before the semester kicks off.

Course accreditation in Italy

The Italian higher education system is comprised of three cycles:

  • 1st Cycle, which is the Bachelor’s degree (Laurea Triennale)
  • 2nd Cycle, which is the Master’s degree (Laurea Magistrale)
  • 3rd Cycle, which is the Ph.D. degree (Dottorato di Ricerca)

Can I study in English in Italy?

The good news is that you probably won't experience a huge culture shock in Italy. With so many internationals living in popular Italian cities, there’s a significant international student population. Such an increase of internationals has lead to more courses taught in English at Italian universities each year.

Additionally, about 30% of the population speaks English. This this percentage is significantly higher in bigger Italian cities like Milan and Rome. However, learning some Italian is still a good decision. Some situations will require you to have a basic grasp of Italian.

Student Associations in Italy

Student associations are an excellent way to make the most of your studies in Italy. Joining a student association is a great way to meet fellow students, join fantastic events and discover opportunities.

Most Italian universities will have their own student association. Be sure to check out the available student associations at your university once you arrive in Italy.

There're also a few popular international associations, these are;

  • ISN - International Student Association
  • ESN - Erasmus Student Network
  • AEGEE - European Students Forum

Finding student accommodation in Italy

Finding student accommodation in Italy can seem daunting. It's crucial to give yourself time to arrange your accommodation in advance, particularly if you require an Italian student visa. Most international students in Italy will choose to live in student dorms, shared housing or studios.

It's important to know that a lot of rented accommodation in Italy may come unfurnished. To find something furnished, you can sign up to HousingAnywhere for free. Most of our student rentals come fully furnished and ready to move-in right away.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect when studying in Italy as an international, the Italian higher education system will have no secrets for you!

Want to know more about Studying in Italy? Download the free e-book by filling out the form below.

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