Erasmus experience in Rome, Italy
My name is Caridad, I am 25 years old, I am from Seville (Southern Spain) and I was doing my Erasmus in Rome during the schoolyear 2009-2010. I really enjoy to share my Erasmus experience with you and give you information and recommendations in order to make easier your probable stay over there, just enjoy and get the most out of my experience!
First at all, I chose Rome because I love the Italian culture, the language, the gastronomy, the cities and especially… the art! Rome is a town that does not disappoint you, but once on site you realize that the so-called “dolce vita” could bring some inconvenient that you need to bear in mind. In Rome, most of the people are living in a flat and not in houses, anyway you need to know although this is not an expensive city, the rents are pretty expensive. In general, an individual room situated in a centric neighborhood costs around 400-500 euros. Nevertheless, this is possible to find a cheaper place as spared rooms or further from the center. I recommend you not to trust discounts or reductions. They don’t exist.
Looking for a flat in Rome is not an easy task, but it becomes easier if you already prepare it before by looking on the internet… Nonetheless, do not be too confident. I could tell you load of stories related to deceptions in the search of a flat: flat that does not exist, deposit that you should pay in advance and you never get back, flats that look brand new on photo and that actually fall to pieces… Therefore you must take good care with it and do not sign anything before having seen the place your are going to live few months. Most of the time it is worth it spending a bit more time as you also can find very nice places to live; this is only a matter of being patient.
Rome is a huge city and although there are a lot of combination of transports (metro, buses, trams,…), they do not work effectively and do not follow their schedule, this is a chaos. I advise you to search a flat which is close from a metro station and or bus stop in order to avoid that kind of problem. You can check the public transport schedule out on http://www.atac.roma.it/. This page is very useful as it shows the connections between your starting point and where you want to go and generates the itinerary you must follow and how long it takes to make it. You must bear in mind that from midnight, the buses are changing and you must check out the night buses ones, it is good to know if any night bus stops near your flat as you will probably spend a lot of time in the night buses and coming back home during the night could become an adventure!
If you are going to the undertake your Erasmus at the “LUMSA” university, people usually look for a flat nearby its university, I advise you to search in the neighborhood close from the Vatican and connected to the A line. If your Erasmus programme is taking place at the Sapienza university, “San Lorenzo” is your area! This area is very lively during the night and the place to be to go out in Roma! For those who are going to study at “Roma Tre” you can start to search a flat in the area of Garbatella, Marconi, etc… But always make sure that you are close from an underground on the B line.
After talking about the accommodation, I propose you to get familiar with the places to be! A bit different than what the tourist guides might propose you, the best of Rome from my own point of view is the neighborhood of “Trasterevere” to go out for lunch or a drink or go for a walk. You absolutely need to try the “aperitivo” at “Freni e Frizioni”, the pizza at “Mele e Gorgonzola” of Ivo, the “amatriciana sauce” at “Trattoria degli Amici” which is amazing and beside hire people with disabilities which is a great example of personal overcoming.
From the mount “Aventino” and the mount “Gianicolo” you can see one of the best view of Rome. If you find yourself in one of the streets behind the “Piazza Novona”, you must pay a visit to the “cementerio Verano”, taste the icecreams of “Giolitti o Fassi” (once a week you get a 50% discount), drink a capuccino at the “Taza de Oro” in “Sant’Eustachio (the best one in Rome!) and take a walk in the area of “Via Cavour”, the streets behind are the bests and the most moderns of the city, full of vintage small stores.
If you want to go out and get to know people in Rome very fast, the best is to register at the association called ESN (at “Roma Tre”) which always throws the best parties in town! If you want to take a break from the Erasmus environment, you can go to “San Lorenzo”, which as I said before is full of pubs and pizzerias.
Also I recommend you to go every Mondays to a place called “Locanda” which has a very nice atmosphere and alternative music. Also, if you go to the area of “Travstevere” you will always find load of people to make friends in Rome and nice places to go out in Rome. Finally, and for those who like arts, I recommend you to go to the arts gallery called “Berghese” where you will find famous sculptures from “Bernini”.
Rome is an incredible town which deserves to be fully known although one could never really achieve to fully know Rome and each of its streets may surprise you!
As would say the people from Rome: “living in Rome is similar than to live in a giant museum”. Beside, from the Erasmus point of view, the experience is incredible as the city offers you so many cultural and gastronomical opportunities but also crazy nights out in Rome as only few others would. I leave you a small memory that I would like to share with you that I will never forget: the night we took a shower in the “Bernini” fountain to celebrate the fact that Spain won the world cup!
Kisses to everyone and good luck in Rome!