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Erasmus Experience in Bologna, Italy by Belén

Why did you choses to go to Bologna, Italy?

I had heard that Bologna is the Erasmus Capital of excellence and before I chose I wanted a little information. After a couple of days, it was already clear, I would go to Bologna! Furthermore, I loved the language and this way I would be able to learn it first hand.

How long was your scholarship? How much money did you receive to help you?

My scholarship was for 9 months, that's to say, it was a complete scholarship course. The amount of grant depends on the Autonomous Community and on your university. In my case it was more or less 1700€ in total.


How was the student life in Bologna?

85% of the city is students, from Bologna, from the cities around and, of course, Erasmus students from all over the world. At any time you can find people on the street with files in hand.

Would you recommend the city and the University of Bologna to other students?

Yes, of course. The experience has been good and I always recommend an Erasmus and if it's in Bologna, all the better.

How is the food of the country?

It depends on what county you come from (haha), I say that because coming from Spain, here the food is better than there. Now, if you like pasta and cheese, you will be happy there. The good thing they have are the 'Aperitivi', a buffet that they prepare at around 6 in the evening, in which you pay for a drink and you have a counter full of food. It costs between 6 and 9 euros, depending on where you go.


Was it difficult to find accommodation in Bologna?

In truth, no. I looked from Spain because I didn't want to arrive there without a house and spend days wandering around looking for something. Therefore I went from here with a house. Anyway, half of the houses in the city are rented there (to say the least), because one of the things that produces money for the city are the student houses. I recommend looking for a house before you arrive, but you can also find one by looking directly when you are there.

How much does it cost to live in Bologna?

It is a bit more expensive than the cities in Spain, but it is important to know how to manage money.

The rent of a house ranges from 230€ a month at the cheapest until... whatever you want to spend, 300, 350 even 500. It is cheaper to live in a house than a residence.

After rent add the price of parties (which aren't expensive because if you are Erasmus and you go to the locals, everything is discounted); the travelling that you do in Italy (or outside Italy); and the pizzas that you buy after one month there, because you won't notice this, but if you add it up at the end, you spend the same on pizzas as rent (this last bit is a joke, but almost true! ).

How was the language? Did you go to a course at the university?

I knew a little Italian before I arrived. Still, I signed up for an italian course that UNIBO (University of Bologna) offered. It was called CILTA and if you look it up on the Internet you will find more information. This course helped me to develop a little at the start, afterwards the best way to perfect it is to speak it with the people on the street or in the house.

What is the most economic way to arrive in Bologna from your home town?

I am from Cartagena (Murcia) and when I was in Bologna there was a direct Ryanair flight from Alicante to Bologna (which has its own airport with quite a few links). Now, I don't know if they still have this flight, but there are also direct flights to Milan, for example. Then you only have to catch a train to Bologna which takes about 3 hours (depending on the ticket that you buy).

Where do you recommend going out to party in Bologna?

In Bologna there is a different place each night and after a few weeks you learn which one is open each day.

  • Corto Maltese, the pub which is excellent for Spanish Erasmus.
  • Soda Pops, a disco-pub with modern music from all over the world.
  • Millenium, Thursday rock.
  • Café Paris, 1€ shots of all colours and flavours.
  • Cassero, a disco-pub environment, although it is fun, whoever goes.
  • Kinki, a club where there are discounts both for the entrance and for drinks.
  • There is a faculty or library (I don't remember exactly) where the inner courtyard has a "club" fitted with a bar with drinks and everything and the atmosphere is very good. If you ask on the street, for sure, they'll tell you the exact place.
  • Villa Serena.
  • Giardini Margherita, a club that's open all year except winter, situated in the centre of the lake of Giardini Margherita.

And to eat in Bologna? Can you tell us your favourite places?

You can eat cheaply in Bologna if you play your cards right. The best place in the way of food (homemade) and price is: "Osteria dell'Orsa", they have a menu that changes every day and you leave the restaurant about to explode for less than 10 euros.


The cheapest pizzas you can find are in Pizza Casa, you buy it to take away because there are no seats inside, they only have a small bar. And the best (and biggest) in Spacca Napoli, pizza restaurant where I recommend you call first and reserve a table.

To take "the parents" when they come to visit, I recommend La Scalinatella. A very central restaurant (behind the Apple store) which is located at the foot of the tower, actually, the wall on one side of the restaurant is the rock of the tower. The food is very good and it isn't very expensive.

La Mensa, is the student canteen. There is quite good variety and it's cheap.

What are the cultural must-sees?

It is a city full of culture, in every street you will find something different. "The 7 Secrets" are not to be missed, and... if they are secret how do I find out about them? Only once you are there will you find out about each of them. I recommend that you ask the people of Bologna, and they will tell you as time goes on.

And then there are also endless museums and exhibitions, and the most important: get lost in its streets, under the porticoes.


Do you have any advice you want to give to future students in Bologna?

Seize your days there like there's no tomorrow. And I'm not just saying go to all of the parties (you can do that in any city, although more there), but travel where you can and as much as you can, meet people from different cities and different countries, take part in all the activities that the organisations offer (ESEG and ESN) and above all: Keep Calm and Enjoy Erasmus.

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