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Erasmus in Italy

Well, my Erasmus in Italy was definitely quite the experience. I studied at Perugia for the whole academic year 2019-2020 (the second semester o returned in March but continued with online classes). I’m from Portugal so I will compare the prices of Italy to my country.

First, the transportation, isn’t the most effective. When arriving to Rome (Ryanair only lands in a smaller airport, called Rome Ciampino, which closes at night) there’s a bus (6euros) to the center of the city and then an underground subway (2euros) to Tiburtina station. Here you can take another bus (5-15 euros) to Perugia (Flixbus). Sometimes it’s really hard to plan a trip because the hours don’t match or the travels are really early in the morning (5h, 6h) or late in the night (22h, 23h). You can also go by train but it’s more expensive and you keep in mind the hours that they’re available.

Arriving at Perugia, if late at night or early in the morning the mini-metro usually its closed (from 7h to 21h) and the bus as well. So, call a cab (expensive) or walk 30min to the center, which isn’t ideal if you arrive at 23h. Perugia is an old city with lots of stairs, it has some “secret” rolling stairs which make it easy to walk around but they also close during the night.

In terms of apartments, I rented through an agency (Quality Living Perugia) which I don’t recommend. Be careful making a contract because it’s very difficult to change it and, in my case, they said I had to pay more taxes (with money not card!) but after all I ended up not paying anything (complicated and confusing situations were common). The first apartment I had mostly roommate problems (they didn’t clean) and the second one was for only one person, but it was old, so it had many problems (heating system broke, no internet, no washing machine, plumbing problems, etc).

Also, you will need to have an identification number in order to rent a place, so you need to go to an office (go early in the morning) and sign some papers but it’s free.

It’s best to rent a place in the center, which has close minimarkets and is safer (even though is more expensive) since there are some robberies in the periphery. I walked to my university everyday (30 min walk) but there’s also a bus available (it isn’t very practical and takes more time). You can have lunch at the university, there are many places to eat and a cafeteria.

The Italian lesson they offer for free weren’t very useful for me so I gave up. They tell you to buy a book (30 euros I think) and you have to go to a certain number of classes to be able to do the exam and have a certificate. But since the university lessons and Italian lessons were at the same time it was impossible to go to both. And what you learn in Italian class doesn’t help you very much in the university’s classes (at least for me it didn’t).

Most teachers at the university were very kind and let me do the exams in English. It wasn't very easly but also not very hard, I had classes in Italy, I took notes in Portugues and then I translated the power points and notes to English. Some students where very helpful as well and gave me good advices.

The Erasmus activities were good, but I didn’t participate much, mostly because some were expensive (trip to Venice at Carnival for example was more than 100euros) and others were badly organized with a limited number of people. The nights at the disco weren’t that good as well, because you need to catch a bus at the center of the city to be able to get there (30 min or so I think) and they were expensive (the entrance, to save the coats and the drinks).

The Erasmus card was useful since it offers many discounts, in Flixbus, Ryanair (were very difficult to use) and in other events. The Chocolate festival and the Christmas market were the best events in the center, they attract many people and last a week. At the center, you can enjoy many cozy cafes, bars and restaurants, there are very good ice creams shops. There’s a nice museum which is free on Sundays for students. The shopping mall Collestrada has a big supermarket and affordable clothe stores since in the center to buy a pair of shoes is like 500euros (you can get there by bus).

The Erasmus office was a disaster. The staff don’t know how to speak English very well and can’t solve problems (or literally taking months to do it). Also, the schedule isn’t very good since its at the same time as classes and it took 20 min to get there from my home.

I’d say I enjoyed my Erasmus, I met great people and visited amazing places (Venice, Milan, Florence, Bologna, Siena, Gubbio, Spoleto, Spello, Assisi and Marmore Falls). However, I had to face many problems and difficulties which made me more independent and resourceful. Please keep in mind that some other people had a better experience than mine and no problems whatsoever so it really depends on each person.

Maria Helena Brum, 4thyear student of veterinary medicine

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