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08 May 2019

Semester abroad in Rome: studying in eternal city

GSOM SPbU student Lubov Kunina spent fall semester 2018 in Luiss Business School in Rome. Here is her story and some advice about accommodation, staff which you will need, and communication with other students. 


What would be great to know before leaving   

Before going to Italy, I would recommend learning some basic phrases in Italian because a lot of locals don’t understand English. Also, it is good to know if your bank has any partners in Europe and where it is better to withdraw cash, otherwise you will have to pay large commissions. Moreover, to avoid problems with public transport — try to find the apartment close to the Business school.  



I didn’t have any troubles with documents. I got my invitation from the School on time and applied for a visa to the VMS. I got it in three or four days. To apply for visa, you will need to provide standard documents, and then it is better to take all documents to Italy as you will possibly need it to apply for residence permit.  


Welcome week 

Unfortunately, there was no Welcome week as well as no any joint activities for students. So, at the beginning exchange students had some troubles, because we needed to get to know everyone on our own. However, this situation helped us to get to know each other even better. GSOM SPbU students were the first ones to suggest weekend walks and this idea was approved and realized.  


Culture shock 

I can’t say that I had strong culture shock, however I was quite surprised by the amount of trash on the streets. I really didn’t imagine that Rome had such a great problem with it. Moreover, I realized that it is better to be more careful on the streets as Italians tend to cheat on tourists. However, despite all this Rome is an incredible city and Italians are really hospitable, bright and charismatic! 


Place to live 

It was one of the biggest problems, that my groupmate and I have encountered, because LUISS doesn’t provide students with a dormitory. The only way it can help you to find housing is by sending you a list of websites where you can look for it. But these sites didn’t help us a lot because most of them were in Italian and the other looked suspicious and we couldn’t be sure that these nice apartments that we found there really exist. So, we decided to look for apartments on Airbnb as there, at least, you can get some guarantee. We found the apartment not far away from our Uni. It took only 15 min by bus to get there. But as we couldn’t check the apartment before the arrival, we didn’t know that it was located in a poor area of the city, near the train station. It seemed quite dangerous in the beginning to live there, but we got accustomed. Also, at the end we have even started to like it there as there were a lot of cheap and shops.   



We got a list of available courses almost in September. It was stressful for us because we didn’t understand for a long time what we were going to study and how we could cover GSOM courses. As we received the courses list, we found out that the choice was minimal because most programs at LUISS start in fall, and therefore a significant part of the fall semester they give introductory courses like HRM, Statistics, Finance Management that we had during our first semester at GSOM SPbU. Most of the courses that we really needed started in the middle of December when we had to leave. So, to cover our credits we had to attend some courses again and also had to ask professors to let us pass exams before the required date. Most of the exams started in the end of January, and we had invitations till the December 30th.   

However, there was also a positive part. Most of the courses that we took were quite interesting and were taught by amazing professors. All professors had a great work experience. Some of them were top managers of big Italian companies like Poste Italiane. And they shared important and practical information followed by examples from their own experience. Moreover, we also had a lot of guest lectors from different companies like Warner Brothers, Microsoft, Barilla, who also left a very good impression. Comparing to GSOM SPbU, courses at LUISS are not so intensive. During almost every class we had some group projects or individual exercises, but they didn’t seem difficult to us. 



Transport — monthly pass costs around €30.  

Food — about €10-15 a day. Try to cook at home because prices at restaurants and cafes are high.    

Accommodation — we paid about €1100 for the apartment for two. 


What to bring with you? 

Warm clothes, medicine and cash. 


Best practices you would recommend to implement at GSOM 

More guest professors and more practice-oriented courses!