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study abroad in romeRome study abroad programs give students the great fortune of studying in a fascinating and beautiful location, and the Italian city is replete with everything one needs for an invigorating study abroad experience: quality higher education institutions, an amiable populace, thriving and lively communities, and neighborhoods rich with culture and history. Students of many disciplines—political science, religious studies, sociology, history, anthropology, and many others—can all find in Rome a stimulating and telling muse as they explore and uncover Rome’s many sights and secrets. This ancient city awaits willing explorers with open arms.

People who study in Rome visit some of the world’s most beloved and iconic landmarks, monuments, and museums, all while living and studying in a culturally and politically dynamic environment. This allows for an adventurous, pleasant, and intellectually stimulating experience, one that ends with a collection of awesome memories and academic credit.

Geography of Rome

Rome is located half-way up Italy’s “boot” in the Lazio region on the southwest coast of the country. The heart of Rome sits inland along the Tiber and Aniene Rivers, and its outskirts tickle the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Rome is a hilly city with low altitudes and one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe.

Rome is the capital city of Italy, the Province of Rome, and the region of Lazio. Within Rome exists the Vatican City, a country independent of but surrounded by Rome. This in and of itself makes Rome a rarity in the world as the only city surrounding an independent country.

While Rome was once contained by various walls (the Servian Wall and Aurelian Walls, for example) it is currently encircled by the Grande Raccordo Anulare, a ring-road that contains much of the city. Since the road’s construction in the early 1960s, however, the city of Rome has grown and expanded beyond the road’s limits.

The climate in Rome is Mediterranean with cool and humid winters and hot and dry summers. 

Language in Rome

Italian is the official language of Italy and the majority of people in Rome speak Italian. However, because of Rome’s large expat and tourist population, many Italians also speak English or French. In addition, many Italians living in Rome speak dialects of Italian that might be mistaken for another language.

Most colleges and universities in Rome are Italian-language schools. This means that Rome offers great study abroad options for learning Italian and applying the language directly to one’s studies. However, many study abroad programs in Rome also offer options for students more comfortable learning in English and practicing Italian while exploring the city.   

Cost of Living in Rome

Because Italy is part of the European Union, Rome uses the Euro as its official currency. In early 2014, one euro was the equivalent of approximately $1.40.

The cost of living in Rome depends on where you want to live, what you need to get by, and how you choose to spend your money. According to Numbeo, people spend an average of just over $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in Rome’s city center. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs approximately $2,300. People who live outside of the city spend an average of $700 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and approximately $1,300 for a three-bedroom apartment.  

Again according to Numbeo, basic utilities, such as electricity, heat, water, and garbage, generally cost approximately $140 per month, and in-house internet costs approximately $30 per month. The cost of basic groceries (milk, bread, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and chicken, for example) is similar to the cost of moderately priced groceries in medium to large cities in the U.S., but the actual cost of groceries of course depends on your needs and preferences. Eating out is relatively expensive in Rome, perhaps because of the city’s large tourist population.

Rome’s public transportation system consists of one well-constructed railway and multiple other modes of transportation that are perhaps not as popular. However, many people still partake in the public transportation system. According to Numbeo, a monthly pass costs approximately $30. Many people also choose to take taxis, though the number of taxis available is not as high as in many other similarly sized cities. Taxis typically charge a starting fee, kilometer fee, and waiting fee. Gasoline in Rome costs approximately $1.80 per liter. The costs of entertainment, clothing, and other non-essentials vary depending on your needs and preferences.  

Culture in Rome

The culture of Rome is rich and vibrant allowing for great adventures and explorations. When you study in Rome, there are numerous things you can do and see to taste the city’s culture:

  • Explore the city with the intention of identifying Rome’s numerous eras of architecture and design. Many are familiar with the remnants of ancient Rome: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Arch of Constantine, the Domus Aurea, and others; but they often forget about the beautiful sights that followed. See if you can find evidence of the medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, and Fascist eras and styles of architecture.
  • Enjoy the spirit and art of Rome’s villas, squares, bridges, and gardens that lovingly interlace with Rome’s more commonly visited hotspots. Rome was built with love and intention, and the places designed for visiting, commuting, and simply sitting and enjoying are infused with beauty and passion. Take time to enjoy Rome’s everyday treasures.
  • Visit the Vatican City and enjoy and explore Rome’s religious roots. No need to forsake your own religion or adopt a new one: simply visiting the country within the city of Rome will help you understand and appreciate one of Rome’s greatest cultural influences. While you’re there, be sure to visit St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Museo Pio-Clementino to enjoy the art and passion of Catholicism
  • Put a little meat on your bones and eat, eat, eat. One of Rome’s most popular food districts is Il Pigneto which boasts an eclectic and bohemian mix of bars, restaurants, and atmosphere. Make an effort to enjoy several evenings in the area and taste the magic of various eateries. Also take the time to enjoy Roman pizza. Not all pizza is created equal and there is know-how and passion baked right into Roman’s thin crusts. Enjoy your pizzas with more traditional toppings or find one of Rome’s newer pizza joints to try experimental toppings and flavors.
  • Eat chocolate and drink coffee. Need I say more? In case I do, just know that Rome is lustfully devoted to crafting delicious chocolates and coffee. Sit down and savor both as you people watch, enjoy the scenery, or engage in conversation with friends.
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