Italy 1Italy, a European Country with a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western Culture and Cuisine. Its Capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins.About 1.77 lakh Indians live in Italy and the grown rate with respect to 2010 is 14.3%.

Italy is a highly developed country with the 7th highest GDP and the 17th highest Human development Index rating in the world. It is a member of G8 and a founding member of what is now called the European Union.

Italy is also home to some well know Global Companies like Argo Group, Benetton Group, Caproni, Ferrero, Fiat, Leonardo, Piaggo Group ,Hitachi Group,Iveco, Perfetti Van Melle to name a few.

Italy is a popular destination for international students, offering quality higher education, highly-ranked universities and more affordable tuition fees than many other Western European countries. For these reasons, many internationals choose to study abroad in Italy.

There are around 32,000 international students in Italy, including independent students and those on exchange programmes. Italy was one of the 4 countries to first implement the Bologna Process, a higher education reform that’s now being implemented throughout Europe. The country has a rich history and tradition of higher education and great intellectuals, which makes Italy a very attractive option for international students.

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Some of the first universities in Europe were founded in Italy during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. For example, the University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is recognised as the oldest university in continuous operation. Today, Italy is the home of many prestigious universities and other institutions of higher education. Many of Italy’s universities perform well in the QS World University Rankings, such as the Università di Bologna (194), The Sapienza University of Rome (216), Politecnico di Milano (244), Università di Roma in Rome, UniversitàdegliStudi di Milano, UniversitàdegliStudi di Padova in Padua, UniversitàdegliStudi di Firenze in Florence, and the Università di Pisa in Pisa.

Italy has played an important role in recent reform of higher education known as “Bologna Process”, as one of the four countries that created the European Area of Higher Education, formed by signing the Sorbonne Declaration in 1998, which was to be the first step in the higher education reform. Today the Bologna Process is now being implemented throughout Europe.

Italy has 89 universities, which are divided into several categories:

  • State universities: These are state funded public universities which comprises of most of the universities in Italy, particularly the larger universities.
  • Other publicly funded universities: Funded by Province rather than state.
  • Private universities: Non state funded.
  • Superior Graduate Schools (ScuolaSuperioreUniversitaria): These are independent institutions that offer advanced training and research courses specialising in postgraduate studies.

There are also certain non-university institutions of higher education, such as higher schools of design, There are also certain non-university institutions of higher education, such as higher schools of design, schools of higher education in language meditation and schools of higher integrated education.

Italy has several levels of higher education. Completing undergraduate studies (bachelor’s degree – ‘laurea’) can lead to master’s studies and earning a master’s degree (‘laureamagistrale’). Undergraduate studies typically take 3 years to complete and master’s studies take 1 year. Following the completion of your masters studies you can continue with a PhD which usually lasts 3 academic years.

Most of the courses and programmes offered are taught in the Italian language but the number of English language programmes available is growing. This is particularly true for graduate level courses. Therefore, it may be possible to find courses and programmes taught in English if you wish to study in Italy but your Italian language skills are not good enough.

Basic Italian educational principles are constitutionally founded and ensure free, compulsory educational opportunity for all children. The Italian educational system’s philosophy of education varies from teacher centered to student centeric. The highly standardized curriculum was designed to facilitate school transfer in both public and private schools. There has been a gradual shift from rote memory assignments and assessments to less formal methods, which stress creativity and the application of critical inquiry and higher order thinking skills. In 1989 all issues related to higher education were transferred to the Ministry for Universities and Scientific Research.

The Italian educational system provides nursery school for 3- to 5-year-olds; elementary school for 6- to 11-year-olds; lower secondary or middle school for 11- to 14-year-olds; upper secondary school or vocational training for 15- to 18- or 19-year-olds; and university, university institutes, or Fine Arts academies for those 19 and older. Upper secondary schools include classic or scientific high schools (five years) leading to higher education/university studies; artistic (four years); technical school (five years); vocational school (five years or more); nursery school and primary teacher training (three years); and higher/university education (three to five years).

The overall responsibility for education in Italy rests with two bodies: the Ministry of Public Instruction for preschool, primary, and secondary education and the Ministry for Universities and Scientific Research. There are close links between these two ministries and the Finance Ministry regarding budget matters and the Labor and Social Security Ministry for connecting schooling with the world of work. Educational reform continues in Italy with its main focus on the role of the ministries regarding policy, budget, curriculum, pedagogy, and administration or distribution of responsibilities.
Since the late 1950s, educational responsibilities and services have become gradually decentralized, and in 1972 many of the Ministry of Public Instruction’s administrative powers were transferred to regional and local authorities. Since 1975 regions have had the primary responsibility for vocational education and training; they have consulted with the Ministry of Labor to ensure the appropriate programs and training are being provided. In 1985 pedagogical and programs guidelines were established for elementary and lower elementary school. Since 1999, all citizens aged 6 to 16 years must attend a compulsory education program. Parents have the option of sending their children to school or providing compulsory education themselves or employing a tutor. Those parents who assume direct responsibility for their children’s education must file yearly reports with the Provincial Director of Education documenting their compliance with the established curriculum, and the children must pass state exams. A very small percentage of parents select for this type of education.

Student attendance is the responsibility of head teachers (direttoredidattico) who are the equivalent of school principals in the United States. The mayor of each comune or township provides head teachers with lists of all children who, according to the General Registry Office, should be enrolled in school. When children complete their elementary education, head teachers are responsible for transferring students to lower secondary or middle schools. Head teachers contact parents of children not attending schools; non-compliance with attendance policies can result in punishment for parents or guardians.

Major reforms have taken place within the Italian school system to meet the needs of global education in the European Community and find educational compatibility within member nations. A Ministry of Public Instruction decree states that the study of other languages is essential for educational and professional development. Elementary schools were reorganized to include the study of modern languages, which are essential for effective communication and educational mobility within the European community. Middle and upper secondary school curricula include the study of foreign languages. Italians also realize that the study of languages and cultures are essential to meet the needs of immigrant populations as well as to encourage active, participatory citizenship in a global democracy.

This European dimension of education can be traced to Comenius (1592-1670), the Czech philosopher of education, who was concerned with schools as democratic arenas of intellectual discourse. His philosophy emphasized political unity, religious reconciliation, and educational cooperation. Initiatives of the European dimension on education include promoting equivalence of academic diplomas and mobility; fostering cooperation in education and research among universities; re-examining school curriculum, organization, exit exams, guidance and counseling, and extra-curricular activities.

A resolution from the European Community outlined objectives for strengthening the European dimension in education: to give young people a sense of European identity in the context of history and culture, and especially in safeguarding universal values of democracy, social justice, and human rights; to encourage youth to become full participants and contributing members in the European Community; and to point out the advantages and the challenges of European citizenship and cooperation in intercultural understanding The European dimension in education includes awareness of European citizenship in an interdependent world; the importance of building relationships; the involvement of extracurricular activities.

Educational legislative provisions are made within member countries of the European Community. EURYDICE, the Italian agency at the Library of Pedagogical Documentation, has strengthened its commitment for an integrative effort to publish and disseminate international information and documentation to benefit members of the European community. Italy cooperates with member countries on exchanges of classes, students, and teachers, as well as other educational initiatives and cultural agreements. Students who are citizens of the European community may attend school in Italy for professional education and training. The Office of Cultural Exchange at the Ministry of Public Instruction had directed its efforts to activities toward wide-ranging cooperative projects. A pilot project connected 300 territorial schools to the Internet so students would have international access to information and educational opportunities.
Educational cooperative efforts include implementing instructional reform, establishing school age levels of entry and exit, providing professional training courses for secondary students, reinforcing language acquisition, reducing the number of dropouts, providing student guidance and orientation, and organizing programs of equivalency, mobility, and exchange. Programs like SOCRATES, ERASMUS, and LEONARDO are essential to the development of quality education across members of the European Community. The ministries ofeducation have increased a financial commitment to participate in the European education dimension.

An efficient service of pedagogical documentation, information, and research is needed to promote and develop autonomous projects within existing cooperative networks. Important aspects of the European dimension of education are to facilitate and integrate the process of communication, to provide for the service of information, and to ensure the dissemination of research results throughout regions, provinces, and countries in the European Community.

Intercultural education has become an essential component of the Italian educational system at all levels of schooling to create a new awareness of the European dimension in citizenship. These school programs define the dimensions of socialization by providing opportunities for students to come into contact with cultures and languages different from Italian society and to learn to become world citizens. The Italian educational system promotes cultural pluralism in the curriculum by encouraging students to develop a healthy sense of respect for cultural differences and to approach the study of issues from a multiple perspective, while maintaining universal values of social justice and equity.

Since 1985 primary schools have stressed instructional objectives that deal with the importance of inter-cultural education emphasizing the need for understanding and cooperating with culturally different persons to prevent the danger of stereotyping and prejudice. In 1991 these objectives became part of nursery school education where the term multicultural education was introduced and stressed the importance of identifying, recognizing, and valuing cultural diversity in school and global, democratic societies.
Secondary schools have had less direction from the state in incorporating multicultural awareness in the curriculum; however, there are initiatives included in educational objectives and curriculum to integrate intercultural communication and understanding, as well as develop multiples ways of thinking critically. A 1994 ministry educational decree emphasizes the need for providing multicultural awareness and activities as a global response to a society that is becoming increasingly multicultural. This decree also reinforces the rights of immigrant and migrant children to equal opportunity and equity of access to education and training.
Italy participates in European network projects created for intercultural and multicultural education. Many of these programs, coordinated by the Office of Cultural Exchange, are specifically designed for teacher training in intercultural and teaching and learning for a multicultural society, including bilingual education and teaching of Italian to immigrant students. The Office of Cultural Exchange published a report, “Intercultural Education: Experiences and Prospects,” which gives an overall picture of the theoretical and practical aspects of intercultural and multicultural education and highlighting the importance of cross-cultural communication for global democracies.

In 1996 the central role of the European dimension in education was reaffirmed; schools will continue stressing intercultural awareness and understanding for a global society. Information and experiential opportunities for intercultural education issues and opportunity for international educational exchanges and multilateral school partnerships within the European Community are exemplified in programs like SOCRATES, LEONARDO, and ERASMUS. An increasing number of students participate in these programs throughout Europe. For example, Italian students enrolled in an agricultural course may be permitted to study in France or Portugal for one year and receive equivalency in mobility, credits, and grades.

A 1998 educational decree ensures that immigrant children in Italy must receive compulsory education, have access to information, and have all the rights to education services in the school and community. The school community respects the cultural and linguistic diversity of its members, encourages the sharing of cultural differences, and promotes mutual respect and tolerance. The school community promotes and encourages initiatives to respect and protect the culture and language diversity and provides opportunities for intercultural experiences and activities.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees at Italian universities are very affordable, especially in the case of public universities. Although the tuition fees are different according to the level of degree, the university and the study programme, the average ones range between 850 and 1,000 EUR per year in public universities and you should expect larger sums in private universities. However, some of the prestigious public universities in Italy can have tuition fees that exceed 1,000 EUR/ year.

In most institutions, EU students also benefit from lower tuition fees compared to non-EU students and some of the state universities in Italy set the tuition based on the student’s parental income.

Living costs

The overall living costs for students in Italy range between 1,000 and 1,500 EUR/month, this including: accommodation, food costs, public transportation, local travel and/or entertainment.

Rome is just a little more expensive, compared to the rest of the Italian cities. Excluding the accommodation, students in Rome usually spend between 700 and 800 EUR/month, while in Salerno, you should prepare a budget of at least 650 EUR/month. In other student cities from Italy like Pisa, Padua, Turin or Bologna, an average student spends 550 EUR/month the least and a maximum of 750 EUR/month.


Out of the total monthly expenses of EU students, they usually pay around 35 % on accommodation, 9% on transportation and around 12% on tuition fees. Rates for accommodation in Italy are in the international range of 200 – 300 EUR/month.

On average, students that live alone pay about 266 EUR/month, students living in student accommodation pay around 257 EUR/month, while those who live with partner/child(ren) spend less, around 133 EUR/month.

A small percent of 2% of the international students live in student halls of residence, the rest choose other housing options. Regardless of where they choose to live, 75 % of students are very satisfied with their accommodation, which is above the average of 60 %.

Most common accommodation and prices for each of the options in Italy are:

  • Student residence halls – between 200 and 300 EUR/month.
  • Rent/share a flat – average rates range between 250 and 600 EUR/month.
  • Host family – the average price is 450 EUR/month and often includes meals.
  • Youth hostels – mostly a choice only for a temporary stay; rates are between 20 and 30 EUR/night.

If you rented an apartment, apart from the rent, you would have to pay an additional sum of around 30 EUR per month on utility bills.

Food costs
Italian food is one of the most delicious in the world and the good part is that it is not expensive. Enjoying a traditional meal in an Italian restaurant is one of the greatest pleasures while living in Italy. You should try FegatoallaVeneziana, gnocchi (dumpling dish made with wheat flour, potatoes, butter, and egg or the famous risotto (made with Arborio rice and usually cooked in a broth and served with cheese).

In Italy, lunch or dinner start with antipasto, (a sort of appetizers or hors d’oeuvres) a course consisting of various types of cold meat, seafood and vegetable dishes, with prices between 5 and 12 EUR. For the next course, called primo, you can choose from soup, risotto or pasta, and for the secondo, you can opt for meat or fish, usually served alone. Of course, you can choose one or two of the courses.

You will find there are different types of restaurants in Italy, so you should pay attention to a few details. Trattorias are cheaper and usually serve more of the home-style cooking and osterias are old-fashioned restaurants or pub-like places, also specialized in home cooking. Best pizzerias are those with a forno a legna (wood-burning oven) rather than an electric one. In mid-range restaurants, pasta dishes are between 6 and 12 EUR, while the main fish or meat courses will normally cost between 8 and 16 EUR.

One particular detail that you may find confusing when you check a restaurant receipt is the coperto. Any Italian restaurant will charge you for the bread and cover that is present on every table; this usually costs around 1–2.50 EUR per person.

Buying food from the supermarkets is not expensive, as you could spend on average 150 EUR/month.


The public transportation would be the easiest and most convenient method to travel in Italy. Public transportation in Italy is affordable and if you hold a student card, you would pay even smaller rates. A monthly bus/tram/metro ticket for students is somewhere between 25 and 35 EUR/month, depending on the city. The metro is really efficient and the metro maps are easy to navigate; you just have to be careful during rush hours, as metros can get crowded.

Taxis are a little expensive and also not recommended in large cities due to frequent traffic jams.

The train network in Italy is fast and well maintained, so visiting other cities in Italy is definitely an option. If you book earlier tickets, you could save money and benefit from discounts that can get to 70% less than regular tickets.

Although not necessarily bike friendly, you can always travel with a bicycle, even for simply admiring the city. In Milan, for example, you will find the BikeMi! – a bike-sharing initiative, where you can rent a bike for a daily 2.50 EUR or weekly 6 EUR.

Extra costs

The weekly costs for phone bills and other miscellaneous expenses can run to 30-40 EUR.

Entertainment and social activities can add another 30-40 EUR a week.

Books and other learning supplies and materials should cost you around 40 – 50 EUR/month.


In Italy, scholarships are offered by the Italian government at the national and regional level. In addition, some Italian Universities offer Italian scholarship programmes for international students; these are usually between 5,000 and 12,000 EUR/year.

Other scholarship and student grant opportunities that international students can apply to are through the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of these opportunities is the “Invest your Talent in Italy” programme, mainly dedicated to students from Azerbaijan, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam.

Tips for saving money

  • Use the student card in every place they accept it, to get discounts in museums, stores and even restaurants.
  • When you choose to buy from the supermarket, better go to Lidl, Penny Market or Esselunga, known in Italy to have the lowest prices.
  • Have an inexpensive meal at the university cafeteria or “mensa”, or check the crowded places that serve street food and you can get a sandwich or a slice of pizza for 2 – 3 EUR.
  • In most pubs, small restaurants and cafeterias in Italy, if you choose to eat or drink at a table, you will pay double the price that is listed on the menu! So, when you can simply take away, you should just do it!
  • Some restaurants in Italy have the Apertivo (similar to the American Happy Hour), where they offer a free buffet if you buy a drink, for around 6 EUR; this is usually between 6 and 9 pm.

List of Universities

  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Bologna
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Roma La Sapienza
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Padova
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Milano
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Pisa
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Torino
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Firenze
  • Politecnico di Torino
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Napoli Federico II
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Trento
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Genova
  • Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Catania
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Roma Tor Vergata
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Milano-Bicocca
  • UniversitàdegliStudi Roma Tre
  • UniversitàCattolica del SacroCuore
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Siena
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Parma
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Bari
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Perugia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Verona
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Trieste
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Palermo
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Salerno
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Ferrara
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Cagliari
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
  • Universitàdella Calabria
  • UniversitàCommerciale Luigi Bocconi
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Udine
  • ScuolaInternazionaleSuperiore di StudiAvanzati
  • Università del Salento
  • ScuolaNormaleSuperiore di Pisa
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Bergamo
  • UniversitàPolitecnicadelle Marche
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Brescia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Messina
  • LiberaUniversitàInternazionaledegliStudiSociali Guido Carli
  • UniversitàdegliStudidell’Aquila
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Urbino
  • ScuolaSuperioreSant’Anna di StudiUniversitari e di Perfezionamento
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Sassari
  • LiberaUniversità di Bolzano
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Camerino
  • UniversitàdegliStudi G. d’Annunzio Chieti e Pescara
  • SecondaUniversitàdegliStudi di Napoli
  • UniversitàIuav di Venezia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Macerata
  • UniversitàdegliStudidell’Insubria
  • Politecnico di Bari
  • UniversitàdegliStudidella Basilicata
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale
  • LiberaUniversità di Lingue e Comunicazione IULM
  • UniversitàdegliStudidellaTuscia
  • UniversitàMediterranea di Reggio Calabria
  • Università Carlo Cattaneo
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Napoli “L’Orientale”
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Pavia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Foggia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi del Piemonte Orientale Amedeo Avogadro
  • Università per Stranieri di Siena
  • UniversitàdegliStudi del Molise
  • LiberaUniversità Maria SS. Assunta
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Teramo
  • UniversitàdegliStudi del Sannio
  • Università per Stranieri di Perugia
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di ScienzeGastronomiche
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Napoli Parthenope
  • Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma
  • UniversitàdegliStudi Magna Graecia di Catanzaro
  • UniversitàPontificiaSalesiana
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Enna Kore
  • Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
  • Universitàdella Valle d’Aosta
  • UniversitàdegliStudiInternazionali di Roma
  • UniversitàdegliStudi di Roma ForoItalico
  • UniversitàdegliStudiSuorOrsolaBenincasa
  • UniversitàEuropea di Roma
  • Università LUM Jean Monnet
  • PontificioIstituto di Archeologia Cristiana

Information Regarding a Student VISA in Italy

Parola Italian language school provides information and assistance with VISA requirements in Italy for the purpose of studying Italian. Our language institute provides the certification that is necessary to request a student VISA at the embassy in the student’s home country. The Student Visa can be issued for a period of time from 90 – 360 days for the purpose of studying Italian in Italy.

Non-European Union students who would like to remain in Italy longer than 3 months to learn Italian must inquire with the embassy or Italian consulate in their home countries for clarification.

What to Know Before Requesting a Student VISA

Each nation has its own rules concerning the Study VISA issuance process; therefore, it is essential that the student obtain information directly from the embassy of their own country before requesting the certification from Parolaschool.

For students attending Italian language courses at Parola language school, our institute can help lessen the bureaucratic process to get the study VISA needed for an extended stay in Italy.

Study Requirements for the Student VISA

For purpose of the STUDY VISA, students at Parolaschool MUST:

  • Follow an obligatory attendance policy for the Italian lessons at the school
  • Enroll in at least 20 hours of language instruction per week
  • Provide payment for the language course to be completed in the same year

Please Note: Parolaschool DOES NOT guarantee the VISA will be granted!

All of the information regarding acquisition of a Study VISA has been thoroughly investigated by Parola Italian language school; however, the rules to obtain the Permit of Stay in Italy are subject to frequent changes.

We strive to keep the information current and up to date, but Parolacan not be responsible if the information regarding the VISA acquisition process changes.

Students Who do NOT Require a VISA to Study in Italy

The citizens of the following countries do not need a passport or “permit to stay” to remain in Italy longer than 3 months for study. For further information about VISA, see the VISA rules for some major countries in the world.

These students must simply present an alternative document of identification:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • San Marin
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Czech Republic
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Documents and Requirements for the Student VISA application

The following are the standard documents needed to request a student VISA in Italy:

  • Completed VISA application form
  • 1 Passport-size photograph
  • At least 1 entirely-blank page available in the student’s valid passport
  • Declaration of sufficient funds to cover the entire stay in Italy

Additional Documents Required for the student VISA:

  • Proof of medical insurance covering the entire length of stay in Italy
  • Letter from an Italian educational institution addressed to the Italian Consulate General of the student’s home country confirming enrollment in the language program
  • Letter of certification from the educational institution confirming the school’s credentials and outlining the details of the language course including the basic grammar programs
  • Certification of payment in full for the language program to the educational institution
  • Proof of accommodation of the student’s lodging including local address in Italy

Note: Presentation of the requested documents does not ensure the student VISA for Italy will be granted. The final decision is made solely by the consulate of the student’s home country and depends upon many other factors such as frequency of visits in the country, type of educational program, as well as form of payment and so on.

Time to Issue the Student VISA for Italy

The time required to issue a VISA to study in Italy varies from a few days to several weeks depending on the country of origin. Please inquire directly to the Consulate in your home country.

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