Italy is a beautiful country located in Southwestern Europe, on the Apennine peninsula. The country comprises of the mainland Italy and the surrounding islands. The country stretches southwards almost to the coasts of North Africa.
Italy is a country full of contrasts: stunning old cities, the Mediterranean and breathtaking natural views, passionate people and simple but delightful food. At the same time, it is among the 8 most industrialised countries in the world, hosting many of the world’s biggest companies and research facilities. Italy has a rich cultural tradition and history as well as many World Heritage Sites that you might wish to visit during your stay, but it is the prestigious universities that make Italy an attractive destination for all international students.
The top tourist attractions in Italy include:
Italy is a popular destination for international students, offering quality higher education, highly-ranked universities and more affordable tuition fees than many other Western European countries. For these reasons, many internationals choose to study abroad in Italy.
There are around 32,000 international students in Italy, including independent students and those on exchange programmes. Italy was one of the 4 countries to first implement the Bologna Process, a higher education reform that’s now being implemented throughout Europe. The country has a rich history and tradition of higher education and great intellectuals, which makes Italy a very attractive option for international students.
In order to fully appreciate life and study in Italy, you should be able to speak the Italian language. This will help you to get by in day to day situations and may also be important for your studies. Many programmes at Italian universities are taught in English, particularly business related courses, but most of the available courses are taught in Italian.
You may need to pass a proof of language proficiency test before you can start your studies or are able to enrol. If you’re Italian is not great, there are many language courses offered to international students so you can improve your language skills whilst you study, or before you arrive in Italy.
With its hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, Italy experiences a mediterranean climate. Sometimes cold air from northern Europe can spread south into Italy, bring snow to most mountains, while the coasts are kept warm by the high sea temperatures.
Italy has played an important role in recent reform of higher education known as “Bologna Process”, as one of the four countries that created the European Area of Higher Education, formed by signing the Sorbonne Declaration in 1998, which was to be the first step in the higher education reform. Today the Bologna Process is now being implemented throughout Europe.
Italy has 89 universities, which are divided into several categories:
There are also certain non-university institutions of higher education, such as higher schools of design, schools of higher education in language meditation and schools of higher integrated education.
Italy has several levels of higher education. Completing undergraduate studies (bachelor’s degree – ‘laurea’) can lead to master’s studies and earning a master’s degree (‘laureamagistrale’). Undergraduate studies typically take 3 years to complete and master’s studies take 1 year. Following the completion of your masters studies you can continue with a PhD which usually lasts 3 academic years.
Most of the courses and programmes offered are taught in the Italian language but the number of English language programmes available is growing. This is particularly true for graduate level courses. Therefore, it may be possible to find courses and programmes taught in English if you wish to study in Italy but your Italian language skills are not good enough.
Italy is now rapidly emerging from its recession. Since the number of fluent English speakers is low in Italy, your English language skills will be valued, especially in Tourism and Teaching sectors. Since, Italian is the mother tongue of this country it would be a cherry on the cake that you get a chance to learn a foreign language in the country of its origin.
Tuition fees at Italian universities vary, but they are generally much lower than in other parts of Western Europe or North America, making Italian universities an enticing proposition for foreign students. Those who wish to study in Italy have a chance to receive a quality higher education at an affordable cost.
The cost of tuition fees depend upon several factors. The most important is whether the university in question is a state or a private institution. State universities have much lower tuition fees. Tuition fees also depend on your country of origin; they are more affordable for EU students, but even non-EU students may find them more affordable than fees in other Western European or North American universities. Also, fees will depend on your chosen programme and level of study. For example, you can expect to pay around £680-£800 per year (€850 – €1,000) for undergraduate tuition fees.
The next thing you need to consider is accommodation. Most Italian universities don’t have halls of residence, however they often provide accommodation services to help students to find appropriate rental apartments or shared rooms in the private rental market. These options usually come at a lower cost if you use the university services to find your accommodation.
The entry and visa regulations you need to complete to study in Italy will depend on several factors; first of which is your nationality.
When it comes to your citizenship and visa requirements to study abroad in Italy:
Please note that visa requirements are not the only thing you need to think about. Anyone who wishes to study abroad in Italy, even if they are from the EU, need to have a residence permit. EU students have to apply for a residence permit within 3 months of arrival. For students outside EU, the conditions of your stay will be handled through your student visa.
Some other factors that may come into play are your level of study and the duration of your courses and programme.
All students will need to present details of accommodation, proof of financial stability and a comprehensive health insurance policy. For these reasons, it’s highly advisable to seek accommodation as soon as you’re accepted by an Italian university.
Another thing to keep in mind is your language proficiency. You need a high competency in Italian if your course and programmes are taught and delivered in Italian. You may need to complete a language test or show evidence of language proficiency.