3 Ways to Live on a Budget While You Study in Italy

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Seeing Rome by bike is one exciting way to save money abroad

Designer clothing and handbags, amazing food, fine wines—Italy is known for offering some of the most luxurious items and experiences the world has to offer. But believe it or not, it’s possible for anyone to enjoy Italy’s world-class landscape and culture on a budget. This is especially true for those planning to study at one of Rome’s central university campuses.

If you’re considering having your own study abroad adventure, you’ll want to make sure you have enough financial capital to make your way around Italy’s capital! Luckily for you, there are plenty of easy ways to live frugally while you study abroad in Rome. Here are our top 3 tips for avoiding overdrafts overseas.

1. Spend Smart with the Help of Rome’s Saldi and Friendly Shopkeepers

Rome has many affordable places to shop for food and necessities. John Cabot University (JCU) offers a great cafeteria with an international menu, but students also have access to kitchenettes in their residences. Instead of buying premade snacks, consider getting fresh produce at the local market and doing the prep work yourself! Try to find a vendor you like—by going back repeatedly you’ll build trust and they’re more likely to mark down their prices for you.

Study Abroad in Italy, biking around rome, saving money as a university student, students on a budget, study in rome, john cabot university, rome food markets

Study abroad students can get to know their local vendors and strike up mutually beneficial friendships

And when it comes to purchases like clothes and shoes, shop how the Romans shop—at the saldi (sales)! Unlike American stores that hold small sales year-round, Italian retailers have big, city-wide sales twice a year. These saldi happen just after the holidays in December and in July, so many study abroad students are lucky to catch one or both.

This twice-annual tradition lasts about six weeks each time, with discounts on great Italian retail items like shoes, bags, and fashion getting better and better as the weeks go on. Busy crowds thin after the first week or so of saldi, so if you’d rather not squeeze through tightly-packed stores or stand in long changing room lines, wait until mid-saldi for your best buying options. Hold out until the crowds die down and see what kind of deals you can find.

2. Take Advantage of Free & Discounted Resources While at University in Italy

A vibrant cultural mecca, Rome is abundant with festivals and free events that won’t cost you a penny! And being a student in this city can bring even the most elite cultural experiences within your reach.

While you attend university in Italy, your student card can act as an access pass to great deals at several museums, cultural institutions, and restaurants. Discount sites like Groupon.it and Due Spaghi can also save you money and introduce you to foods and events you might not otherwise discover.

Be sure to use your campus and surrounding libraries and outdoor venues to their full study-spot potential.

Money-minded students who do need a caffeine fix are better off not setting up shop next to the espresso machine in one of Rome’s pricier cafes—you can always avoid temptation (and take in the beautiful cityscape) by getting your coffee to go and studying outdoors.

Study Abroad in Italy, biking around rome, saving money as a university student, students on a budget, study in rome, john cabot university, rome food markets, lemon tree courtyard jcu

JCU students hit the books outside in the university’s beautiful Lemon Tree Courtyard

3. Choose to Travel by Transit, Bike, & More While You Study in Italy

Getting around Rome can be expensive if you’re used to driving or taking taxis. But Rome’s municipal infrastructure includes a truly affordable public transit system every student should explore. It also offers pay-per-use bikes which you can rent, borrow, or buy to see a side of Rome you couldn’t from a car window.

Rome is also generally more pedestrian-friendly than cities study abroad students are used to. For example, if you study classical studies in Rome at JCU, you’ll be walking distance from everything you need, including museums, galleries, and famous Italian landmarks. That’s why much of our programming includes trips to world-class historical sites where students can witness fine art and architecture firsthand.

Would you like to study in Italy without breaking the bank?

Visit John Cabot University to learn more about our programs.

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