While the struggles of university life have been the source of inspiration for everything from historical thrillers to relatable memes, it’s often heralded as being some of the most impactful years of a student’s life. The life of a student is filled with countless milestones geared at oncoming adulthood, there is one in particular, however, that often defines a student’s future: studying abroad.
Many students choose to take up language learning as either a part of their curriculum or as a side passion – for those looking to take the extra step, it can also mean making a trip to that language’s country of origin.
If you’d like to speak Italian like a local, there are few ways better than to start by learning the language in Italy. Erasmus is a program which involves the partnership of 33 countries in a mutual aim to develop principles like international cooperation and understanding. If you find yourself staring at your Italian phrasebook or coursework and having the desire to replace classroom learning with interactive, conversation based study, a study exchange with Erasmus might be right for you!
Find out where you can take Italian language courses online.
Study Italian Through Erasmus: Signing up for a Program
While this may seem like an obvious step, in order to get the most out of your soon to be new language, it’s necessary to start by investigating whether your university already participates with the Erasmus organization. Whether your program has a relationship with the Erasmus program already, or you’re looking into how to incorporate it into your existing program structure, the basic application process is simple.
Before you can get started on practicing Italian language, you will need to apply for an Erasmus program. In order to apply for the Erasmus program for Italian universities, it will take around 9 months before the start date of the spring semester, normally around January, to apply. During this application process, it will be necessary for you to gather the appropriate documents, establishing a file that you will, upon its completion, send to each university to which you are applying.
This file will be composed of diverse pieces of information, a list that varies by the establishments that are requesting it. In general, however, in order to be able to apply to the program and for the subsequent visa, if one a visa is necessary, there are some necessary documents you will need to obtain:
- A copy of your diploma, along with relevant justification
- Copies of any undergraduate diplomas
- Photocopy of your id card
- One or more letters of motivation showing you are serious, either from your past professors or employers
Of course, depending on the university, other justification documents might be required. Examples of this, if you were born in a country that speaks a foreign language other than English, is to have an English proficiency test. Some other examples include a European ID card, if you are part of the EU, or completed forms like financial aid.
After gathering all these documents, however, you still won’t be ready to start using all those phrases you’ve learned yet. While you might think the bulk of the work you’ll have to do to prepare will be spent on searching and applying to the right Erasmus program, there is still the question of your daily life once you arrive to Italy.
While it may be tempting to hold-off on looking for roommates until the moment you arrive, finding appropriate accommodation before you leave can save you a lot of time and money. There are many resources online dedicated to expats looking for lodging. On top of that, the university should normally be able to help you get settled in.
Once you gather all the required forms, your or your university will be in charge of sending this file to the Italian programs you wish to apply to. These universities will normally give you a response, either an acceptance or rejection, pretty quickly. If you start your application process in January, you should know if you were accepted. After being accepted, make sure to speak to your program director for your program to see what types of spoken or written Italian proficiency exams are available for you to take
Completing this language exam will be the last step of your candidature. Once completed, the definitive response will be given to you around May or June, and will leave you with plenty of time to prepare for your new Italian life. Between Rome, Venice, or Milan – the dolce vita is waiting for you!
Learning Italian in the Italian School System
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or native Italian speaker, you should decide whether or not speaking Italian and learning the language more in depth is one of your passions. While the idea of visiting the Vatican, Bologna and Siena might be one of your dreams – understand that this program is an immersion study and that you will have to study the language and culture above all else.
Boasting universities like the University of Bologna, the University La Sapiezna in Rome or the Polytechnic University in Milan, Italy is more than just an active partner within the Erasmus framework. Italy is, in fact, a nation that places importance on education and research and houses many of the world’s top programs and facilities.
The system of higher education diplomas in Italy has three levels, similar to many structures around the world. These levels are called the:
- Le laurea – Bachelor’s degree
- La laurea magistrale – Master’s degree
- Le dottorato di recerca – Doctorate
Whether you’re just starting to learn to speak the language or are already a veteran in juggling through Italian grammar and vocabulary, you shouldn’t be intimidated by Italy’s reputable school system. Italy has a wide variety of universities that caters to every need. In fact, the country is home to around 60 public universities, they themselves being divided and distributed throughout Italy’s territories. Among these establishments, note that two universities are geared towards foreigners.
Beginners who wish to take Italian lessons should be encouraged to participate in programs like Erasmus. This system, open to the world, is one of the best ways in which you benefit form linguistic programs, taking an Italian course, and being a learner of many subjects – all the while discovering a new city or country.
There are certain details, however, that some students might not think of while they’re still students at their current universities. You will have to budget, plan, and be prepared for a daily life were you will get to interact with native Italian speakers.
Become Fluent in Italian by Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
You’ve dreamed about learning how to speak a language that’s different from your mother tongue, you’ve always been fascinated by Italian culture and you love watching movies in Italian online – but you’ve never lived in a foreign country. Going to Italy on a program like Erasmus can help define your goals and set you on the path to speaking Italian. Regardless, you may be feeling some very valid fears on what your life will be like abroad. Here are some tips that will help you break out of your comfort zone.
One of the major stress factors for students living abroad is having to learn to find accommodation in a foreign city. If you’re panicked about the possibility that what you’ve learned in your Italian courses won’t get you through finding an apartment or flatmate, there’s no need to stress.
Luckily, moving to Italy through programs like Erasmus come with immediate benefits: namely, your student status. Universities often have student residences or resources that help students find accommodation – just make sure to do so a couple of months in advance as they do have a limited amount of spaces.
Facing a growing number of Erasmus students, Italy has seen the creation of many associations that were born out of a need to amass good advice on what to do in a new city. Not speaking Italian fluently shouldn’t get in the way of meeting new people, especially with other foreign students.
f you’re worried that your conversational Italian skills are weak, and that what you will learn in your language course before arriving will not prepare you for making new Italian friends, don’t worry. The ESN is an association that proposes newcomers with some local activities and gives general advice for living in Italy..
Going on the ESN site is a great opportunity to feel like you’re not alone, but also to have practice in learning Italian and applying it to real life. This will be a great way to discover Italian culture, gastronomy, meet or even a new language school – all of which will help you work towards your skills, so don’t hesitate and sign up!
What a Trip to Italy Will Cost You
Whether you’re still trying to wrap your head around Italian phrases or are already confident in your basic Italian skills, Italy remains a country that is completely accessible to everyone. It is important, however, to gauge just how much you can or are willing to splurge during your study abroad.
The first step is to check out some online resources. While learning some Italian vocabulary will be helpful in everyday life, it can also help you when trying to figure out your expenses. You should be able to understand the basic words for everything involving your money, from purchasing food to utilities. Try some free lessons online to help you learn financial Italian.
How much does living in Italy cost? Depending on where you come from, which city you will be living, and your lifestyle, your monthly expenses might be cheaper or more expensive. This table, however, shows a sample, average cost of living in Italy for six months:
|Tuition fees||1000 £|
|Food||50 £ per week|
|Leisure||40 £ per week|
|Total||1000 £ per month|