Friday, September 16, 2011

How it all began...

Hi There!

For the next semester you can accompany me here and get to know some interesting facts about the USE selective minor exchange program and Italy. But before I start telling you some story’s about living and studying in Rome, you should first get to know me.

My name is Judith Arnold, I am 22 years old and I am a third year „Economics and Business Economics“ student at the USE. Originally, I am from a very small village close to the Lake of Constance in the very southern part of Germany.

Before I started studying in Utrecht, I have been to New Zealand for one year as a Gap-Student. During my time in New Zealand I decided to stay in an international environment for my future studies. That’s how I ended up in Utrecht. So far it has been great and I will never regret to have chosen to study here.

Last year, I was one of the lucky persons who got the chance to be part of the selective minor in “Strategic Management”. This is a special minor which is done at LUISS Guido Carli in Rome. LUISS Guido Carli or simply abbreviated “LUISS” is a private university with approximately 5000 students. The university consists of three different faculties: Economics, Law and Political Science and is ranked as one of the best universities in Italy.

Thinking of Italy, the first things which probably come into your mind are: pizza, pasta, gelato, amore, mafia, chaos and crazy car drivers. That is at least what came into my mind when I received the acceptance letter for LUISS. In February 2011 I and around 14 other USE students started their Italian adventure. Since then we are busy studying at LUISS and experiencing the Italian culture not as a tourist, but as a Roman.

Let’s go some month back in time

Given that I already studied in Rome last semester (February 2011-July 2011), I would first like to start in December 2010 when we were all still in Utrecht and had to find a place to live in Rome.

Usually, the university agency “Casa LUISS” organizes all houses for foreign students, but previous students told us that the agency is very expensive and that most houses are quite far away. That is why Adrian, Romy, Martine and I started looking for houses ourselves. We got in touch with students from the USE who studied at LUISS before us and after a few Emails we already found the perfect apartment to live in. That sounds very easy, but we were only very lucky! Normally, searching for an apartment in Rome is far more difficult and drives a lot of people mad.

In a country such as Germany or Holland, the normal procedure of renting an apartment is as follows:

  • The landlord gives the contract to the tenant and the tenant transfers the deposit after each party has signed the contract.

That is not the case in Italy, which gave us a big shock at first sight, but this is what we have learned about housing in Italy:

  • Most landlords do not even give you a housing contract. Do not worry, that is normal.
  • Very often, you have to transfer the deposit before you sign (if it exists) a contract and before you have even see the house. That was the case with us and it went all fine. But you should be cautious all times!
  • It is totally normal that your landlord comes every month to pick up your rent in cash.
  • Always be careful of scammers who pretend to offer rooms or apartments which do not exist and everything should go fine!


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