Semester Abroad in Italy
Longing for Italy! Bella Italia is not only the country with the most influential and popular cuisine in the world, but also the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In fact, you don’t have to save on superlatives if you want to describe Italy adequately. After all, Italians themselves are not friends of understatement, their pronounced zest for life and their temperament make up their special mentality and culture.
According to agooddir, from the 18th century onwards, the educational trip to and through Italy was not only mandatory for nobles, writers, architects and painters from all over Europe, but was also a must for many wealthy families in France, England and Germany. The most famous German educational traveler was certainly Goethe, who immortalized his experiences in his “Italian Journey” and dedicated a number of poems to the country “where the lemons bloom”. The German longing for Italy has remained unbroken to this day. The country in the shape of a boot is not only one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, but is also extremely popular as a destination for studying abroad, especially in the form of a semester abroad.
Reasons for a semester abroad in Italy
There are many good arguments in favor of a semester abroad in Italy. Most international students are drawn there for the following reasons:
- Studying at universities steeped in history: The Italian university landscape is the oldest in the world and of course rich in traditions. Lessons often take place in impressive historical buildings.
- Get to know a different learning and teaching culture: different countries, different customs – this also applies to the transfer of knowledge at universities. Getting to know other teaching methods is always an enriching experience. In addition, it is worthwhile to attend courses related to the country during the semester abroad in Italy and thus gain a different professional perspective.
- Learning or perfecting Italian: Anyone who spends one or two semesters abroad in Italy and communicates in Italian every day learns the language best. No language course in Germany can offer that.
- Study where others go on vacation: cultural treasures, sun, beach – Italy has so much to offer and hardly any other country has so many impressive sights. Above all, a semester abroad also offers the opportunity to discover the country beyond the tourist strongholds.
- Relaxed lifestyle and Dolce Vita: If you want to enjoy life to the full, then Italy is the place for you. Good food, good wine and socializing are very important in this sun-drenched country. This way of life is contagious and will make your semester abroad an unforgettable experience.
- A semester abroad is straightforward and easy to implement: In contrast to a complete Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, a semester abroad in Italy is easy to organize and the application can often be made at short notice.
Special semester programs in Italy
Many universities in Italy offer international students the opportunity to study there for one or two semesters and take courses across disciplines and semesters. Since the ECT system also applies in the Italian study system, crediting the course work is possible without any problems. The students should, however, sign a so-called learning agreement with their home university beforehand. In principle, it is advisable to include a number of alternative courses.
Many universities, such as the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, even offer courses in English. This is particularly interesting for those who want to spend a semester abroad in Italy, but have not yet mastered the national language and want to attend language courses parallel to their studies. Accordingly, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore offers two different curricula – one in English and one in Italian. International students should of course take the unique opportunity during their semester in Italy to attend courses dealing with the culture and history of the country.
Semester students find it easy to settle in in the host country and to make friends quickly thanks to the extensive support provided by the Italian universities and special leisure programs, such as an orientation week and various excursions.
Application requirements for a semester abroad in Italy
The application for a semester abroad in Italy is straightforward conceivable and can basically also shortly be done. However, to make the preparation stress-free, we recommend a lead time of at least three months.
The specific admission requirements depend on the respective host university. As a rule, however, the (technical) Abitur and proof that you are enrolled at a German university are sufficient. If necessary, the Italian university may require proof of language proficiency at a certain level of Italian or English.
Costs and financing options
If you want to spend a semester abroad in Italy, you of course have to deal with the cost and financing issues. From tuition fees to accommodation and meals – studying abroad always costs money. But don’t worry – there are numerous financing options, especially for short-term studies in Italy !
Tuition fees in Italy
A semester abroad in Italy as a free mover is usually associated with tuition fees. The amount of the tuition fees depends primarily on the chosen host university. They can consist of a basic amount per course and additional fees, or the students pay a fixed fee that covers a certain number of ECTS. In general, private universities are more expensive than public institutions – in return, however, the students benefit from individual supervision and smaller course sizes.
Cost of living in Italy
The cost of living in Italy is broadly the same as in Germany. Of course, the specific place of study in Italy is also decisive in terms of expenses for accommodation and food. In the big metropolises like Milan or Rome you have to plan more than in smaller cities like Piacenza or Brescia. The north of Italy has a higher standard of living than the south – so you have to dig deeper into your pockets there.
Foreign BAföG, scholarships and other financing options
However, the above costs should not prevent you from realizing your dream of a semester abroad in Italy. After all, there are a number of financing options:
- Foreign BAföG: The number one contact point when it comes to financing a semester in Italy should be the responsible BAföG office (for Italy this is the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district office of Berlin). This also applies to those who are not entitled to BAföG in Germany, as the assessment limits are higher for studying abroad. Anyone who has individual entitlement to BAföG abroad receives, in addition to a subsidy for tuition fees of up to a maximum of EUR 4600, among other things, a monthly basic requirement and a flat-rate travel allowance.
- Scholarships: Scholarships are another funding option. There are some for short-term studies abroad, such as the DAAD. We also award five partial scholarships per semester to students in various fields.
- Student loans: Taking out a student loan can also be an option to finance the semester in Italy. It is important to find out about the interest rate and the repayment modalities beforehand inorder to avoid excessive debt.
- Part-time job: In order to supplement their pocket money, semester students are allowed to work in Italy. It’s also a great way to get to know the language and culture better.
Visa and entry
EU citizens do not need a residence permit for a semester abroad in Italy. However, if you stay in Italy for more than 90 days, which is usually the case with a semester abroad, you have to register with the local police authority. The (of course, valid) identity card or passport is sufficient for entry.
Health insurance for a semester abroad in Italy
Italy is an EU country and therefore health insurance for the time of the semester abroad is uncomplicated, as you are still insured as a person with statutory health insurance from Germany. You can find proof of EU-wide health insurance (European Health Insurance Card, EHIC) on the back of your insurance card.
Under certain circumstances it can make sense to take out additional private health insurance abroad. This would cover, for example, a patient repatriation, which the statutory health insurance in Germany does not cover.