Finding housing for your entire stay is a crucial component of the Italian study visa. Between looking for an apartment, communicating with hosts, and getting the necessary documents for the study visa, it took me almost an entire month to get everything in order. In the next article (Step 4: Italian Study Visa Paperwork Guide), I will delve into these required documents needed for an Italian study visa. However, the first step is navigating through the housing websites, which are usually not in English.
Of course Airbnb is a popular website for finding accommodations all over the globe. However, this is certainly not the cheapest way to live abroad. Cleaning and service fees can add up quickly! While I stayed at an Airbnb during my first two weeks in Bologna, I recommend finding a long-term apartment on Italian housing websites.
The following is a list of housing websites given to me by Andrea Bernardoni, the founder of Academya Lingue (the language school I study at):
http://www.easystanza.it (the website I used to find my apartment)
These websites are all in Italian so you may need to use a translator in order to navigate through the pages. I personally found EasyStanza to be the most straightforward and user friendly. As a free user, you can put up an advertisement and people will contact you if they think you would be a good match for their place. If you don’t speak Italian, don’t worry. You can write your biography in English and many English speakers will reach out to you.
Lastly, living with a host family is an excellent option to consider when moving abroad. This is the best way to experience the culture and learn the language! I am currently living with a host family for three months and it has given me great insight into what living like an Italian is really about. While I was put in contact with my host family through my Italian language school, there are websites that provide this sort of accommodation.
Homestay is a popular website for finding host families abroad, however it isn’t always cheap. Some families include light meals or other perks with the price of rent so the higher price tag may be worth it.
Tip: if you are a native English speaker, offer to give private lessons to people in exchange for cheaper rent. I did this with my host family and it is a really great way to save money and share things about your culture with foreigners.