9 Reasons to Study Abroad in Italy

If you're considering a few months of study abroad in Italy, you're not alone. Read on to discover nine reasons why Italy is a popular choice for students.

portrait of Sharon Wilfong
by Sharon Wilfong

Updated May 6, 2022

Edited by Will Baker
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9 Reasons to Study Abroad in Italy


Imagine learning about art or architecture in a study abroad Italy program. Maybe you want to experience life in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. A Florence study abroad program is ideal for exploring art history, building a portfolio, or studying high-end fashion.

Or maybe you want to study abroad in historical Rome, romantic Venice, or business-centric Milan.

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Students may enroll for a semester or a year, and some earn their entire degree in Italy. After all, a study abroad program is about immersing yourself in the culture.

Here are nine reasons to study abroad in Italy.

1. You Get to Experience Italian Culture

Italy has influenced global culture with some of the richest collections of art, architecture, cuisine, and music in the world. An immersive study abroad experience in Italy helps you develop an expanded world perspective and cultural appreciation.

Whether it's a study abroad Rome program or another location, you get a chance to experience Italian culture. For example, Italians take an afternoon break, or riposo, during the hottest part of the day. After lunch, it's time for a quick nap.

2. There Are Plenty of Programs to Choose From

Study abroad programs in Italy are some of the most popular because of the country's food, scenery, historical sites, and museums. There are plenty of programs to choose from, including fashion, creative writing, and visual art. The best study abroad programs focus on specific majors, such as communications, design, language, medicine, or architecture.

A Florence study abroad program might offer humanities and social sciences courses. On the other hand, a Rome study abroad program could expand a student's film and media studies experience.

3. You'll Receive a High-Quality Education

Students worldwide come to Italy to study and gain insight into their field through a different cultural lens. Italy boasts a high-quality education system and is home to the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world. The country has been a hub for art, science, and higher education for hundreds of years.

One of the most well-known universities in Italy for science and engineering is the University of Padova.

4. You Can Learn Italian in an Immersive Environment

Even if you're not a language major, learning another language can help you communicate when you travel abroad. It can also make you a more competitive job applicant and expand career opportunities in fields like foreign relations, tourism, and marketing.

Furthermore, learning another language is good for your brain. Still, becoming fluent takes time and commitment.

Living with a host family instead of living in a dorm or in student housing forces you to communicate in Italian. You'll also get to experience authentic Italian life.

5. You Can Eat Authentic Italian Cuisine

One of the exciting things about studying abroad is the opportunity to discover new foods. In Italy, you can broaden your palate and experience authentic Italian cuisine.

Shop at the local markets, research local delicacies in your area, and treat yourself to a gelato once in a while. You'll also experience food customs and etiquette. For example, Italians tend to eat dinner late, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. In the summer, they might eat even later.

6. It's an Inexpensive Country to Travel In

Eurail Italy covers 10,000 miles, including 600 miles of high-speed rails, making it the most convenient way to travel. For instance, it's easy to take the train from Florence to explore smaller cities like Pisa or Siena.

Housing may be included in your study abroad program. If it's not, it could significantly increase how much college costs. Living in a homestay outside a big city and taking the train to school can reduce your living costs.

7. You Can Explore a Variety of Beautiful Landscapes

By studying abroad in Italy, you can deepen your learning experience and get to know the locals by exploring the country's scenic countryside. Italy's diverse landscapes range from sunny beaches to snow-capped mountains.

Hike the high alpine meadows above Cortina to see a spectacular display of wildflowers in bloom from June to September. You can also cycle the Italian Riviera between San Lorenzo al Mare and Ospedelettti along the coast. Or take a leisurely trip through the Italian countryside on a regional train.

8. You Can Experience Beautiful Cities

Italy's history comes alive within its cities' plazas, cathedrals, museums, parks, and historical gardens. Ancient, Renaissance, and modern styles of architecture from Florence to Venice make Italian cities a one-of-a-kind experience.

The Colosseum, which was designed to seat 5,000 people, is probably the most famous structure in Italy. The country is also home to awe-inspiring cathedrals and basilicas that house world-renowned sculptures, frescoes, and paintings. You can explore some of the world's most famous museums as well.

9. You Can Immerse Yourself in History

The center of Florence was among the first Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today, Italy is the global leader in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with 58 landmarks and 40 more locations under consideration.

While studying abroad, you'll get to immerse yourself in Italian history, from the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City to the Pantheon and the Colosseum in Rome.

You may also get the chance to visit Verona to explore Roman remains in the Porta Borsari, the Arco dei Gavi, and the Verona Arena.

Frequently Asked Questions About Studying Abroad in Italy

How much does it cost to study abroad in Italy?

A semester of study abroad in Florence can vary greatly between direct enrollment and using a third party. For example, in 2021-22, direct enrollment at Syracuse University Florence Center cost $5,900, including housing in a student apartment. The same year, going through a third party like ISA Study Abroad in Florence started at $14,250, including housing.

Tuition and housing are the most significant expenses for you as an international student. A third-party provider may set up everything from classes to housing, but the cost of an all-inclusive program can get expensive. If you're willing to do the planning, direct enrollment can save money.

Where should I study abroad in Italy?

Florence, Rome, Milan, Venice, Siena, Taormina, and Bologna are seven of the best cities for students. A study abroad Rome program offers an opportunity to study in Italy's historic and modern capital. Rome is an ideal destination for students interested in studying Italian history and modern business and culture.

On the other hand, a Florence study abroad program is an excellent choice for anyone interested in art and art history. Walking through the city is an education in architecture and sculpture, and there are dozens of world-class museums and galleries. Plus, there are many Florence study abroad programs to tailor your experience.

What are the requirements to study abroad in Italy?

University application deadlines in Italy generally run from mid-April to mid-May, but they vary according to the institution. Applications typically include identifying documents, including your birth certificate, Social Security number, and passport. Like colleges in the United States, you'll need to submit your academic transcripts, a CV, and letters of recommendation.

Official SAT or ACT scores and a personal essay may also be required. Once your application is approved, you'll need to apply for a student visa and a residence permit. You'll also need a travel health insurance plan, updated vaccinations, and a clean bill of health.

Feature Image: David Soanes Photography / Moment / Getty Images

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