What is it like living as a university student in Bologna? It will probably be one of the best experiences you will have in your entire life.

Bologna is an artistic, young, lively city. It is a university city, perfect for all young people who are eager to lay the foundations of their best tomorrow. In Bologna you can follow many courses of study, you can live with young people from different parts of the world, you can grow, challenge yourself and evolve.

It is not only one of the most beautiful historical cities in northern Italy, but it is also home to the oldest university in the entire Occident. It seems that the University of Bologna was founded as far back as 1088. From the Middle Ages onwards, the University of Bologna has welcomed illustrious personalities and even today continues to distinguish itself for the quality of its teaching and the prestige it enjoys in the world.

But what is it like living in Bologna? What are the benefits and what is the cost of living? Why should a student choose to study at the University of Bologna? And again, what is it like to live in Bologna as an expat student? The best way to fully experience life as a student in Bologna is to rent a shared flat with other housemates . In this way, your university experience will not only be educational but also life-long.

Living as a student in Bologna

The University of Bologna presents itself and there is no need to praise the quality of education. We are rather interested in trying to understand the advantages of living in this city.

Why should a student decide to live in Bologna? He should do so because:

  • It is well connected: Bologna is well connected to other big cities in northern and central Italy, such as Milan and Florence, by motorway, train and other means of transport;
  • It is on a human scale: despite having a population of almost 400,000 people and being a large city, the perception is that of living in a cosy town in which you can go from one end of the historic centre to the other with a half-hour walk;
  • It exalts art: under its famous arcades and in the streets, when transport traffic is restricted, you can find dozens and dozens of street artists.

Bologna has everything a university student could desire, from bookshops to cinemas. It also offers plenty of entertainment for nightlife and social evenings.

Let's tackle the areas of a student's life in this city one by one.

The best Universities in Bologna

One of the reasons that should motivate a young person to live in Bologna is certainly the university pole.

At the University of Bologna, you can choose from 252 study courses with short and master's degrees. The courses are subdivided into the areas of economics and management, pharmacy and biotechnology, law, engineering and architecture, languages and literature, translation and interpretation, medicine and surgery, veterinary medicine, psychology, science, food, education and training science, motor sciences, political science, statistics, sociology, and humanities.

A head-turning choice!

At the university you can follow bachelor's, master’s, and PhD courses. There are specialisation schools, higher education courses, summer and winter schools, international projects to spend a school year abroad and many other opportunities for students and those who subsequently want to teach.

Furthermore, the University of Bologna is a Multicampus University to guarantee a complete educational offer. It is linked to the campuses of Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, Rimini, the Representación en la República Argentina, Brussels, New York, and Shanghai. It has teaching sites in Cesenatico, Faenza, Imola and Ozzano dell’Emilia. There are also several training and research departments, libraries, museums, archives, healthcare facilities and sports facilities.

Scholarships for students

Students who decide to undertake their studies in Bologna can enjoy financial support from the university throughout their education. There are scholarships and facilities for Italian students, for international mobility and also for international students.

Obviously, it is necessary to meet the requirements. International students have to take tests to assess their competences in agreed centres in many countries around the world.

In order to be able to take advantage of calls for applications and grants, it is essential to always check the appropriate section on the official UNIBO scholarship website. Here you can keep an eye on the published and active calls for applications, the deadline for submitting them and the month in which the results will be published.

There are also deadlines for applying for the renewal of scholarships by which candidates must meet the requirements and be well placed in the ranking list.

Erasmus programme in Bologna

Have you always dreamed of studying for a period abroad? Or of learning a foreign language fluently? Or again, of living in an international environment?

At the University of Bologna, the Erasmus+ programme allows students to spend part of their university course in another European country. This period abroad can vary from 3 to 12 months depending on the student's preferences.

The Erasmus+ programme allows students to move around the 26 countries of the European Union, the 3 countries of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein), the candidate countries (Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and other non-EU countries that have decided to join the programme.

And who can participate? Well, all students regularly enrolled at the University of Bologna who have not already benefited from Erasmus student status for 12 months and who do not benefit from other funds for studies abroad. To participate, language skills are of course tested. The most deserving students can even win a financial contribution to participate in the programme.

The cost of living for a student in Bologna

Italy seems to have a lower cost of living than other European countries, which is why many foreign students decide to come and study in Italy. However, Bologna is certainly not one of the cheapest Italian cities!

It is an elegant city, with elegant clubs and historical buildings in the centre.

But don't worry because, as always, the final answer depends on the lifestyle you intend to have while living in Bologna.

A university student has to find a flat, which is very often shared, has to pay for books and study materials, go shopping and indulge in some entertainment from time to time. Let's see what the cost of living in Bologna is:

  • Single room in shared flat: 400 euro monthly rent with utilities apart
  • City pass: 14 euro (10 runs lasting a maximum of 75 minutes each);
  • Weekly shopping: 70 euro;
  • Cinema: 9 euro.

Certain activities, such as cinema or exhibitions, may provide additional discounts for students who show their university ID. So, life is certainly not the cheapest, but you can live with roommates in Bologna and save some money.

Interesting activities to do in your free time

The life of a university student cannot be all study and no fun. The city of Bologna offers plenty of entertainment, both cultural and recreational.

You have a few options for your free time:

  • Places of cultural interest: Bologna is full of them, there are the two Towers, Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica of San Petronio, the Fountain of Neptune, the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca with its beautiful steps walk, the Municipal Library and much more;
  • Entertainment: if you want to see shows or films, you can catch the season at the Teatro Comunale, Cinema Chaplin, Multisala Odeon, Cinema Europa and many other theatres;
  • Shopping: Bologna is also perfect for shopping, you can do it at the open-air market, in the elegant shops in the centre or in the shopping parks such as Meraville or Navile;
  • Entertainment and night life: you will be spoilt for choice between bars and pubs, depending on the type of club you prefer, and then end the evening at some discotheque such as Qubò, Numa Club or Matis Club.  
    Bologna is really a city that offers everything. You could live here without ever moving and have everything you need for a great experience.

The best districts to live in Bologna

You can find flats for rent in different districts of the city, but in order to find the area that best suits your needs, you need to make some small assessments. You need to consider where the university you intend to attend is located, whether it is close to services such as supermarkets or shops, and how far it is from the area where your favourite entertainment is located.

Areas you can consider:

  • Old town centre: this is the most expensive, but all the main venues of the University of Bologna are located here;
  • Strada Maggiore: central area, a little further from the entertainment but well connected by public transport to the whole city;
  • Murri and Saragozza: two neighbourhoods outside the centre but not too much, they do not have many services around them even if they are very elegant areas;
  • Lame - Riva Reno area: a perfect neighbourhood if you attend faculties outside the city centre, you are still close to interesting points such as the MAMbo Museum, the Cineteca and the Parco del Cavaticcio.

It always depends on your budget, where the university you are planning to attend is located and that bit of luck you need to find the right flat. Getting help from experts in the field can make all the difference!

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