The novelty of a new city, an unexplored culture, the thrill of independence - studying in a new country can often be one of the most exciting experiences of your life! Home to some of the finest universities in the world, Italy in particular, has much to offer in terms of quality education weaved in with a unique cultural experience of Europe.
However, preparing well for this new step is just as important as embracing it. Tick off these must-haves for a seamless student experience in Italia!
Federica Maria Giove
Know your course framework:
If you’ve already secured admission to an Italian University, congratulations! You’re already so much closer to an amazing academic experience. The next step is to familiarise yourself with the structure of your chosen course. Try and answer questions like – How long are your lectures? Do you have morning and evening classes? Are you required to obtain any additional materials for your course? Does the course framework include on-the-job training classes? Making a note of certain key points can help you plan a fruitful academic day, maintain an active social life plan, and enjoy Italy’s Bella vita.
Apply for a Codice Fiscale:
A Codice Fiscale (fiscal code) is an alphanumeric code used by public authorities to identify every person who lives in Italy. This fiscal code is required for many activities such as registering with the Italian National Health System (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, or SSN) and for social security benefits. Students can apply for the Codice Fiscale at the Embassy/Consulate of Italy in their home country or, once in Italy, at the local Agenzia Delle Entrate (revenue agency). In the majority of cases, the welcome office at the university of destination will guide the students in the process.
Apply for a residency permit:
The residency permit is an official card that allows non-EU nationals to live, work and study in Italy. To apply for a resident permit (Permesso di Soggiorno), non-EU students must have an Italian long-stay D visa. Students must apply for the permit at any Sportello Amico at the nearest post office, within eight days of arrival in Italy. The application documents are available, for free, at every post office.
Book sensible residential facilities:
Make sure you find accommodation that matches your university location. Try and understand which is the closest bus, metro, or tram station that can help you commute to your university. You can either opt for the university campus accommodation or refer to several sites such as Booking.com, AirBnB, and Housing Anywhere which offer housing facilities for students. Once in Italy, you can even share accommodation with other students- no better way to start building a social network!
If you do rent a house, flat, room, or single bed in a shared room (posto letto), in exchange for a monthly sum, you must sign a Contratto di Affitto (Contract of Lodgement) with the landlord, which must be registered at the inherent Ufficio Registro. Also make sure to meet the owner and check the property before signing, read all agreements carefully, or even request an English translation.
Make a list of local resources:
Keep a handy list of local resources that can be useful for your daily needs as well as emergencies. Locate the closest police station, hospital, post office, ward office, library, pharmacies, etc. Note the addresses and numbers of classmates and friends who stay in the vicinity. Several universities offer student support resources so make sure to check in with your university welcome offices to avail of those. Students seeking assistance can also reach out to the headquarters of Uni-Italia in Rome, located at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, by writing to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The easiest way to find yourself in a new city is to lose yourself in it for a little while! Walk around your university and area of residence. Get familiar with public transportation, particularly the route to your university. Drop by local shops, cafes, theatres, museums, and gardens. Soak in the rich culture and history of Italy!
And lastly, let yourself enjoy it! While you work hard as a new student, embrace the challenges, savour the special moments and immerse yourself in what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As the Italians say – ‘Lascia che la vita ti sorprenda’ (Let life surprise you), who knows where this beautiful path might lead?
The author is the Director, Uni-Italia India. Unitalia's mission is to promote the Italian Higher Education System in different parts of the world. For more details students can visit - https://www.uni-italia.net/mumbai-centre.
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