So, you’ve decided to learn Italian and spend a semester or year abroad?
Congratulations! Learning Italian through an international experience like studying in Italy will not only be full of new adventures, but also rich, intercultural experiences. Whether you’re striving to complete a linguistic apprenticeship, taking part in a work and travel program, have attained an internship, or simply want to study and live abroad – Italy is a perfect destination.
While there is much to be excited about, there is also a set amount of preparation that goes into moving abroad that you should be aware of. These tasks can include administrative formalities such as finding scholarships to fund your study, or set obligations like finding a place to live and learning the language.
While moving abroad temporarily, or permanently, is not easy, here are a few tips that can make the transition easier.
What Level of Italian Should an International Student or Professional Have?
Gauging the level of Italian you have is a vital first step. If you have decided to move to Italy, there is a large chance that you are already either passionate for the language or culture, which will only help you as you become fluent in Italian. It is necessary, however, to ask yourself what level of Italian you will need in an undergraduate course, for qualifying for a scholarship, to get into Italian universities, or simply to get around and work in Italy.
Before leaving to Italy, foreign students and professionals should understand their linguistic capacity in Italian. In order to do this, there is a large number of Italian universities and cultural institutions that organize language tests and advising, dedicated to foreigners.
While there is a wide diversity in range of aptitude tests you can take, there are two language tests that are recognized throughout Italy.
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The Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera is a state diploma that is recognized by the Italian ministry and it gives people the chance to pass the basic level of Italian. CILS is recognized throughout Italy and is considered to be the best way to access universities and jobs in the country.
Divided into four levels, it is open to people without experience and does not have an age minimum. You can pass the CILS in some Italian cultural institutes throughout Europe, and also in certain Italian universities like Sienna or Perugia. It is one of the best ways to attest to your mastery in the language!
Make sure to pay attention to the deadline of this and other exams. The CILS tests are given two times per year throughout the world, in June and December, and will set you back about 105 and 160 euros.
The Certificato dell’Italiano Commerciale is recognized throughout the professional world. Delivered by the University of Perugia, it will also be accepted in any of Italy’s universities, internships and professional positions.
The CIC is composed of two levels: the intermediary level, composed of level B1, and the advanced level, which is equivalent to level C1. The latter is the more strategic option as the intermediary level is known to cause operational troubles with enterprises, whereas the C1 level is accepted everywhere.
It is worth noting that the language test will cost you between 140 and 160 euros.
This diploma will be received after a series of five exams, where the student will have to demonstrate their skill through comprehension, oral expression, vocabulary, some technical terms in Italian, and be able to express themselves in a concise manner.
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Information on the Italian Academic Year
Being part of a study abroad program or professional work environment in Italy is not just about learning the language, but also learning about the Italian system itself. It is natural to have questions about professional opportunities, what it’s like to study there, student life and even daily expenses. Getting into contact with alumni or taking part in online forums is a great way to start amassing information.
If you’re in your first year or at the end of your work term, a linguistic stay in Italy can be a great experience, and a great way to master some essential points in Italian life. Generally, whether you’re a recent graduate or looking for opportunities abroad, there are three common possibilities for living in Italy:
- Artistic or musical endeavors
- Professional formations
Following the same system as many countries around the world, Italy has three levels of higher education. Whether your purpose is to get a degree, or aren’t sure what to write as your educational qualifications for your CV, understanding this system is simple. The three levels of higher education in Italy are:
- Laurea Magistrale
University semesters normally begin between the months of September and November, so if you need to either apply or prepare for your travels, keep these months in mind.
The breakdown of the Italian university system is divided between 60 public universities and 17 private ones. Out of all the public universities, two of them are more equipped for international studies: Siena and Perugia.
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For those looking for professional opportunities, every major Italian city offers artistic and musical formations, work in the public and private sector and more!
International Education: Italy’s Requirements for Foreigners
Whatever your reason to go abroad, be it an on an exchange program or to work in a private or public institution, there are a few formalities that you will have to consider before leaving your current country of residence.
Living in Italy
The first step is to decide on an apartment or other housing situation that suite your lifestyle in your weeks or years of living in Italy. Often, people think it’s easier to find lodging once you’ve arrived to Italy, however keep in mind that this process takes time and it might be a good idea to check out some resources before leaving:
- University residences: this is most often reserved to only students and has a limited amount of spots open. Talk to an advisor working in your study abroad office as to how your education abroad can qualify you for housing
- Public lodgings: this can be part of a work and study program, or simply as an exchange for work. For example, working in a hostel and receiving free accommodation
- Shared apartment: this is a great option if you’re looking to keep it affordable, living with either 1 or more people and sharing a room or a flat.
Medical help in Italy
While understanding the intricacies of a foreign health insurance system can be daunting, you don’t necessarily have to become an expert in order to benefit from the system. The first step towards understanding the medical help system in Italy is to research and sign up for the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, or SSN.
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Get familiar with your rights as a foreigner in Italy by looking up the Azienda Sanitaria Locale closest to where you will be staying, as well as the services you will qualify for.
If you visit a doctor or a dentist, know that their services are free for foreign students as well as for locals, with the simple condition that you consult a general practitioner of the Unita Sanitaria Locale (USL).
It is worth noting that in any emergency, hospital services are free in public establishments. For all other complementary information, consult the website for the Italian Ministry of Public Health or Ministero della Salute.
Working in Italy:
Whatever your reason for searching a job overseas, there are many professional opportunities in many Italian cities. Whether you’re going to be an intern abroad, are taking part in some of the exchange programs some international companies offer, or simply want to earn some extra cash outside the classroom – there are many different methods to find employment.
If you will be interning in Italy through some of the various abroad programs offered, be sure to check what kind of academic credit you can get from your work experience. If you are still looking for an internship abroad, check out the admission office of programs abroad. Remember that learning to speak this beautiful language can be possible simply by a professional opportunity abroad.
If you’re looking to gain some money on the side from things you might already own or have acquired during your stay, you can look at sites like Bakeca a Milano or Kijiji.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Italy also posts job offerings regularly, along with Informagiovani, which is a center of information concerning international mobility.
It is also a good idea to know the regional help concerning job searches. For example, in Rome, Portaportese is a local job journal that posts announcements regularly.
Your CV should be either in Italian or English, depending on the job you will be applying to