When considering where to study abroad in Europe, I found that Italy's culture, food, and overall vibe aligned with my interests. The country's rich history, art, and architecture, combined with its renowned cuisine and laid-back lifestyle, made it an ideal destination. I was not disappointed by the incredible experiences and memories that followed.
Financial preparation is crucial before studying abroad. I made sure to research the estimated cost of living, including accommodation, food, transportation, and other daily expenses. Additionally, it's essential to factor in the cost of tuition, study materials, and travel expenses. Creating a budget, with the form provided by SFU, and finding ways to save money, such as applying for scholarships or grants, really helps alleviating this stress. It's also important to ensure that you've figured out how the banking system works, whether you want to use your Canadian bank account or open a new one there. Personally, I applied for a Canadian credit card that had no exchange rate fees, so this made it easy without the hassle of having to open a new bank account in Italy. Bringing Euro cash is also ideal because many places prefer payments in cash especially if it is below 5 euros.
Before leaving for Italy, I packed essentials such as comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, and a versatile jacket to ensure I was prepared for various weather conditions. Additionally, a portable charger for my electronic devices, and a few travel adapters for EU. I also packed any necessary study materials, including a laptop and a few notebooks, to stay on top of coursework while abroad. I made sure to bring any personal items that I used on a daily basis, as well as some comfort snacks.
Travel and Transportation
In Rome, and all throughout Europe, the public transport system is very easy to use. They have buses running all day, metro trains and trams. During nights out, you can also book with Uber or find a taxi very easily using the ItTaxi App. Going to other countries and cities is extremely easy, with cheap flights through SkyScanner or even just taking the train.
Preparation Tips for Future Students
Preparing for an exchange term can be an exciting but challenging experience. It is important to research the country you will be visiting, including its culture, language, and customs. You also want to look into necessary visas and travel documents, finding accommodation, and researching the cost of living.
When researching courses, it is important to carefully review the course descriptions, credit requirements, and prerequisites. You should also consider your academic goals and interests, as well as the availability of courses that align with these goals.
Additionally, it can be helpful to reach out to students who have previously participated in the exchange program to get their insights and recommendations. Finally, it is important to be open-minded and flexible, as your exchange experience may present unexpected challenges and opportunities.