Living in an apartment in Rome was a challenging and rewarding experience. If you’re like me, this might be your first time living in an apartment. It was overwhelming at first trying to decipher what I needed and how to balance the responsibilities of living with roommates, as well; but, over time I learned that living independently is a rewarding experience especially when you’re doing it in a foreign country. I was lucky to live with three other great roommates who were all very communicative and responsible. However, when we arrived in Rome there were lots of things we all wish we knew before we started to live in the city.
You’ll have to buy supplies for your apartment.
Every apartment comes with its own sets of dishware and cooking supplies, but for my apartment, many other necessary items like tupperware, cutting boards and knives were not included. Even small things I normally don’t think about like hand soap, napkins and paper towels had to be purchased upon arrival. Additionally, it’s helpful to make a plan with your roommates to determine what needs to be bought so that everyone can contribute to the apartment’s necessities.
The location of the apartment comes with its pros and cons.
All of the IES Abroad housing is located throughout the city, so distances to certain attractions and the IES Abroad center vary depending on which neighborhood you live in. I was really lucky to be placed in the San Pietro area (Aurelio neighborhood)—I was right across the street from the Vatican, about a 25-minute walk from the IES Abroad center and had access to many bus stops right outside my door. However, the nearest metro was around a 25-minute walk away and there weren’t many quality food options in the touristy area of Vatican City.
A cleaning service comes once a week.
I’m really grateful for IES Abroad's inclusion of a weekly cleaning service. Our cleaning lady Paola was really nice and always left our apartment spotless. Most times, my roommates and I made sure to tidy the apartment a little before she came so that we didn’t completely leave her with a huge mess. If you do benefit from a cleaning service, try your best to take out the trash and do the dishes before they arrive. Also, be sure to always treat them with respect and kindness!
Get to know the surrounding neighborhood.
Like I said before, each neighborhood is different. Use the first few weeks to explore the area around your neighborhood, noting the different stores, restaurants and services that are available to you. Also, take advantage of the IES Abroad neighborhood tour that is offered! The Italian Student Companions did a great job at showing us around and pointing out grocery stores.
Be prepared to make your own food!
This might be strange advice, but for me, transitioning from a college campus meal plan system to making my own meals almost every night was a humbling experience. The first few times I went to the grocery store I was completely lost and didn’t know what I was supposed to buy. It took me some time to get comfortable with what I could cook and what kind of food was available to me, but really all it takes is just that — time. I kept experimenting with different types of recipes I found online and eventually found pasta and soup recipes that I rotated throughout the week.
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Hi! My name is Mia and I'm a junior at Occidental College studying Sociology and Art History. I’m from Kailua, Hawaiʻi and love to surf, practice yoga, roller-skate and listen to music! I’m so excited to be studying abroad in Rome for the Fall 2022 semester and can’t wait to experience life in Italy. I’ve got a passion for writing about culture, art and style and can’t wait to explore these interests during my time abroad.