Italy is a country known for its deep-seated history and intricate architecture. Once the center of the Holy Roman Empire, Italy prides itself on the rich culture it inherits from its centuries-old ancestors and takes great care in promoting as well as protecting these national identities. In fact, Italy is home to the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world with a whopping 58 sites under its belt with stringent laws in place to ensure their maintenance.
Italy has also well-established itself for being the very place where many modern western inventions, artistic revolutions, and discoveries were made. So much so, it has made its way into contemporary school-age textbooks around the world. Italian history is a popular subject of interest for history buffs, archaeologists, and historians alike.
Italy continues to stand today as a leader in the cultural and business sectors. This is evident in the immensely successful Italian wine industry, with Italy making its way up to being the largest producer of wine in the world. Italy also attracts millions of tourists every year. With its middle age relics and scenic landscape, Italy reportedly garnered at least 62 million international visitors in 2018—which is no small number for this middle-sized country.
All these qualities make Italy a famous choice for prospective foreign students to pursue their studies in. Aside from its antique and scenic allure, Italy boasts itself in possessing many of the best universities in the world. For this reason, we will be recommending some of the best scholarships in Italy that international students can avail of to help with their studies.
Living Costs in Italy for International students
In general, it’s more expensive to live in Northern Italy than in the south; more so in cities such as Florence or Rome. For international students, a rough estimate for overall living costs (accommodation, food, transport, and entertainment) could range between €700 to €1,000 and a few hundred euros more for those planning to live in major cities.
For reference, a meal can cost €15 while €1.35 for coffee, and €5 for beer. Rent can range between €300 and €600 depending on where you live, and transport passes around Milan usually cost around €50 monthly.
Can international students work in Italy?
Study visas for Italy are initially only valid for a maximum of a year and need to be renewed, which requires students to pass all their yearly exams at their respective universities for approval. According to Italian law, international students are allowed to work in Italy during their stay for up to 1,040 hours per year or 20 hours per week under an Italy-based employer. Self-employment is not allowed. Non-EU national students also need to secure a work permit before working.
Top Universities in Italy:
Possessing a whooping 36 universities under its belt included in the 2024 QS World University Rankings, with 10 making it to the top 500, Italy’s educational standards are by no means a force to be reckoned with. This comes as no surprise, considering the role the Italian government played in fostering the Bologna Process to strengthen and standardize education throughout the entire European region.
With numerous esteemed universities well-spread across its regions, it’s hard to pinpoint a single one (or even) as “the best” for the country. Among these major contenders are the Polytechnic University of Milan, the University of Bologna, the Sapienza University of Rome, the University of Padua, and the Pisa University System.
Best Scholarships in Italy
The Erasmus+ is a program by the European Union, created to help build a united “European Education Area” by supporting academic mobility programs, traineeships, and sports opportunities. It is a popular scholarship choice for international students who wish to study in Italy; as it covers most, if not all, expected fees to be incurred in the institutions that will receive them.
This Italy scholarship lasts around 3 to 12 months (or even 24 months under special considerations) and may include a monthly stipend to help eligible students offset travel or daily costs depending on living costs and availability. These grants usually go up to around €300 per month.
2. Italian Government Scholarship for International Students
Every year, the Italian government sponsors foreign and Italian students living abroad by offering scholarship grants to encourage studying in Italy. This scholarship in Italy was created to further globalize the country and help strengthen its economic system and is only effective in public or legally recognized Italian educational institutions.
Students who are awarded this Italy scholarship are exempted from tuition fees and have their health/medical insurance covered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) throughout their scholarships. Scholars will also receive a monthly allowance of €900 dispensed quarterly, with the final installment given once satisfactory academic progress has been verified.
3. Invest Your Talent in Italy (IYT)
Invest Your Talent in Italy is another scholarship program sponsored by the Italian government in partnership with select universities to promote academic mobility and encourage diversified ideas through the multicultural linkages these opportunities create. IYT scholarships range from partial to total tuition exemptions.
If given this scholarship in Italy, scholars are also given monthly allowances adding up to roughly €8,100 per year, which are deposited into their Italian bank accounts quarterly. This scholarship generally lasts for up to 9 months but may be renewed by students enrolled in two-year courses depending on their academic performance in the previous year.
4. Diritto Allo Studio Universitario Scholarship (DSU)
The DSU is a mixed merit & income-based financial aid/scholarship program by the Italian government in tandem with various universities around Italy. This initiative was set to improve educational access and help encourage bright yet economically challenged students to achieve their maximum potential. This scholarship in Italy is enacted by region and often includes free accommodation, free meals, a small allowance, and tuition fee exemptions.
5. EDISU Piemonte Scholarship
The EDISU Piemonte Scholarship is a program established by the Piedmont Regional Agency to enable the admission of stellar and deserving students to any Piedmont university of their choice. The individual benefits of this Italy scholarship are determined through a series of competitions but all accepted scholars are entitled to a variety of services such as restaurant service, study and computer hall passes, and book loans.
Upon meeting certain merit and economic background conditions, scholars may be awarded tuition fee waivers, accommodation in one of EDISU halls of residences, and/or an international exchange program grant. This scholarship is paid out in two installments and awarded upon enrollment in any university in Piedmont.
6. Politecnico de Milano Merit-Based Scholarships for International Students
The oldest and largest technical university in Italy, it is no surprise that the Polytechnic University of Milan has some of the biggest names in its alumni. Likewise, this brings the university many sponsors and partnerships and offers one of the best merit scholarship in Italy for international students.
For international grad students, the Polytechnic University of Milan offers merit-based scholarships in three tiers: platinum, gold, and silver; all of which cover the total amount of fees incurred for the entire academic year. Students eligible for the platinum and gold scholarships will receive €10,000 and €5,000 per year, respectively.
7. Bocconi Graduate Merit Awards
Bocconi University believes that academic integrity and values are what make a person exemptional. True to its maxims, the university offers multiple merit scholarships and grants for its different programs and research undertakings each year. Among these stands out is the Boconni Graduate Merit Award. Awarded students of this Italy scholarship are given full tuition waivers worth around €14,000 per year, with the chance of availing the additional benefit of free accommodation in Bocconi residence halls.