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Study In Italy: A Guide For International Students

Europe’s favorite boot-shaped nation, Italy is a country of diverse beauty, culture, and history. From the Alps in the North to coastal beaches in the South and everything in between, choosing to study abroad in Italy will give you access to an incredible array of cultural, historic and touristic heritage.

Education in Italy is highly esteemed with a wide range of excellent academic institutions spread across the country where international students are warmly welcomed. Italy has played an important role in academia, fostering the reform of European higher education through the Bologna Process. Students pursuing an education in Italy will gain valuable knowledge in the classroom, and important cultural competency in one of Europe’s youngest republics.

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Regions play a major role in Italy’s dynamism. The North, Center and Southern parts of the country are further divided into 20 smaller regions. Italian history significantly inspires contemporary Italian culture, as before Italy became a nation state in 1861 the peninsula was grouped into diverse kingdoms including the Papal States (later to become modern day Vatican City). Given the complexity of its regional history, Italian culture is highly diversified, and the different regions all have distinct academic and popular traditions, linguistic dialects and world-famous delectable cuisines.

All this regional diversity combines to make studying abroad in Italy an experience of a lifetime. No matter the city or town you choose to study in, in one fell swoop you’ll experience incredible food, vibrant culture, countless opportunities to immerse yourself in Italian arts, and the famous Mediterranean lifestyle. Italy, as a study abroad destination, has consistently ranked high when it comes to experiencing a new culture or lifestyle.

From the ancient history of Rome to the winding waterways of Venice, the idyllic beaches of Bari and the iconic fashions coming out of Milan and Florence, there is no shortage of Italian destinations that will give you the real Italian study abroad experience. There are innumerable benefits to studying abroad, and by participating in Italy’s 932 year old academic tradition as an international student, you’ll be taking advantage of them all!

Use this guide to find out everything you need to know about Italy as a study abroad destination. From the specifics of the education system, the type of student visa you’ll need to acquire, the Italian language and more, read on and get ready to start living in il bel paese!  

Italy - Quick facts & figures






60.6 million

Area Size

301,338 km²


1,800,000 (30,000 international)

Academic Year

October - July


Euro (€)

Calling Code


Time Zone


woman taking picture italy

More about Italy

Italy’s universities are some of the oldest in Europe and in the world. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088, the University of Padua in 1222, and the University of Naples in 1224.

The education system in Italy has followed the Bologna system since 1999. The 3+2, 3-cycle system means you can get graduate from an Italian university with bachelor’s and master’s qualifications after 5 years of study.

With such longstanding higher education institutions, Italian student traditions are equally as historic!

Depending on the region and institution you’re studying in, students at your university may partake in any number of student life traditions specific to Italy. Upon graduating from an Italian university, students across Italy have a green laurea wreath (symbolizing knowledge) placed upon their heads by someone already holding a degree. Some higher education institutions have goliardia (like fraternities or sororities in the United States), and you may end up defending your thesis in front of a panel of professors and an audience of friends and family members in order to graduate.

But, choosing to study abroad in Italy will mean experiencing more than just academic life. Italians are known for being social, and by making even a small effort in to learn Italian you’ll find yourself making friends with locals in no time. From breathtaking nature to countless museums and theatres, and exciting nightlife in even the smallest of Italian towns, Italy will feel like home in the blink of an eye.

Getting into an international university takes time and careful research, and we’ve compiled everything you need to know to make the experience as smooth as possible. Read this guide to prepare for an Italian experience of a lifetime and you'll be packing your bags soon enough!

Education System

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in Italy? Italy is a popular destination for a variety of international students, given its diverse programs, high quality education, and its culture and history. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in Italy!

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Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter Italy to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on if you're an EU national or not. Discover what you need to stay in Italy to study abroad!

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Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as an international student in Italy.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in Italy may vary. Both international and domestic students are expected to pay tuition fees in Italy. To cover the rest of the costs, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities available.

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Language & Culture

Italy is a country rich in history and culture. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more!

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Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to gain acceptance into a university. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in Italy, and what you need to apply, depending on your citizenship.

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Ready to look at education in Italy? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Italy today!

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Last update: 29 Jun 2021

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