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Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

Why did you choose to go to Bari-Puglia, Italy?

I actually chose it because people who had been there the year before had told me some great things about Bari and that convinced me, I didn't actually know which city to choose.

Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

My grant lasted 9 months, which is the length of the entire academic year, the only thing they told me when I arrived was that I would have exams in July. I study at the University of Seville, and they gave me two grants:

  1. The European Union gave me €300 a month for 7 months (even if you stay for 9 or 10 months) and it totals €2, 100.
  2. The Andalusian council gave me €193 a month for 9 months, if I remember correctly it totalled €1737.

The two grants added up to €3, 837. It could've been better but whatever... I can't complain. On my Erasmus there are people that get more or less depending on which region they come from. I'm talking about my experience and the University of Sevilla gives you 80% of the grant and then the final 20% when you finish your mobility period, you have to wait quite a while according to my friends who have been on Erasmus in previous years.

Although I have to stay until July for my exams... my Erasmus grant says I'm here for 9 months, so the council gave me the grant for 9 months.

Apart from that, I know that you can get a grant from the Ministry if you have received the grant in previous years, but I only got the other two grants, I can't tell you anything about this grant. I also know that Andalusian council gives other special grants, but I don't know anything about them either. I can only tell you for sure about the grants that I've received.

Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

What is the student lifestyle like in Bari?

The student lifestyle is great, or bad depending on how you look at it... there's so much going on for students that it is difficult to concentrate and to study! There are a lot of Erasmus students and Italian people are really nice! There's a lot of partying and activities... There's always something to do.

Would you recommend the city and the university of Bari to other students?

I would definitely recommend the city. As for the university, personally, I study Pharmacy and I still haven't done any exams, so I can't really tell you much about it. Although, you should get used to the chaos of perhaps turning up to class and when you get there a teacher doesn't show up and you have to just go back home and things like that.. but I won't lie to you! You'll always be grateful not to have class and be able to go home, even if you've only gone into university to go to that class.

What is the food like there?

Well it's Italy, you already know they have good food: pizza, pasta, gelato, risotto and much more. You will gain weight, which is the only downside...

Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

Was it difficult to find accommodation in Bari?

No, I didn't find it too difficult. Here in Bari there are some organisations that help Erasmus student to find flats, you can get in touch with them and they'll help you out, since a lot of people arrive without knowing any Italian and not understanding anything people say to them... So they look on Facebook or on other websites and get in touch with people from there. I think that the best way to go about it is knowing someone who has been in the city the year before you, they can tell you about their flat or a flat of a friend of theirs from the city and at least that way you can get to hear what they went through before you, although it wasn't like that for me and we gambled and that's that... everything ended up being fine, if a bit less clear... the flats here are very old!

How much does it cost to live in Bari?

You have to bear in mind that it's Italy, it's going to be more expensive than Spain, but cities in the south are relatively less expensive. In Bari, things are usually between €200 or €300, for example, in Seville, I pay €250 for my student flat. Although there is no comparison between the flats! You pay that much in Bari and they are very, very, very old, but almost all of the Erasmus students here have that kind of flat...

Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the university?

Italian, in my opinion, although it's similar to Spanish, it's not as easy as it seems, but you'll learn as you go along! Personally, they didn't put me on any courses, so I looked for one myself and online and things like that and the best thing to do is to hang out with Italian people... that's the best way to learn!

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Bari from your home city?

Personally, I go from Badajoz by car or bus to Seville, from there I take a plane to Rome or Milan and from there you take another plane to Bari, which has an airport and Ryanair flies there. Also from Rome you can go to Bari by bus or train but it isn't worth it since you can get one hour flights for €15 from there, a 4 or 5 hour train isn't a great options and it can end up costing the same or even being more expensive. I actually always go by plane, it's the most comfortable way. I say this because I know that many students will fly because it's low cost so that's a good thing about Bari... because as well as being on Erasmus we want to travel and the airport has many direct flights to other countries, for example: Brussels, Dusseldorf, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt... and also within Italy to a lot of places like Venice, Turin, Genoa, Rome, Milan and many more.

Where would you recommend for a night out in Bari?

There are lots of places, you can go out in the Mercantile Square, there are also parties in flats, there are some smaller pubs and some big clubs! They normally offer tickets for parties in different clubs but we haven't gone to Tropicana, Fluxus, Reset, Demode. On Mercantile Square there are also what we would call pubs in Spain... At any rate, there are two organisations that help out Erasmus students (the ESN and White and Red) and they always organise things to do and parties and they'll sell you the tickets. Bari actually has everything! You can party from Wednesday to Sunday.

Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

And to eat in Bari? What are some of your favourite places to go?

You can get a slice of pizza and a drink on Mercantile Square for €2, there's also an Italian restaurant there (I don't remember its name), Pizzeria Napoli-Bari is the best Italian restaurant that I have ever been too, then you have the best cornettos in Bari (which is a croissant filled with Nutella and cream... it's amazing). There's also a place called Rustico, where for €10 you can get some typical Italian starters, a pizza for each person and unlimited drinks, it's a kind of buffet... I would really recommend the place, it's cheap and be careful, you might end up getting a bit rounder... Be careful with the food!

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

Bari doesn't have a lot of monuments and things like that, but it has its own kind of charm, walking around it, the sea, Bari Vecchia is a very pretty neighbourhood in the centre. The Saint Nicholas Basilica and you have some very beautiful towns very closeby, like Matera, Polignano, Alberobello...

Erasmus Experience in Bari-Puglia, Italy by Sara

Do you have any advice for students coming to Bari in the future?

You should come here! It's the best thing I've ever done! It's an incredible experience that you'll never forget!

In the end, this post is quite long, but I know that all information is good when you're looking for a place to go for your Erasmus.

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