This article is part of series about Travelove in the media. Here you can read what trip designers, testers, staff, and community members have said in the newspapers, both the physical and online versions. As many of the articles are in Czech, we’ve decided to bring an overview to you in English as well. In this post, Aneta explains to us what it’s like to study in Rome.
“I found myself at the main train station in Rome, Termini, with a huge suitcase and with no roof over my head. The plan was clear – to spend one night at a hostel and find a good apartment for six months,” Aneta describes of her beginnings in Rome. Read her story below.
It was surprisingly easy to find a flat in Rome. I lived in a student quarter called San Lorenzo, which is very popular among young people. Here they have the best beer on tap in all of Rome and there’s the biggest University La Sapienza, where I study.
So, the first advantage is obvious. I don’t have to squeeze on a bus, I’m not afraid I’d be pick pocketed in the metro, and I don’t spend hours trying to get from one end of totally traffic-jammed Rome to another. On the other hand, it might get a bit dangerous at night here for a blonde student.
Each night on a nearby square, drug dealers, armed men and the poor gather and drink. San Lorenzo is just a Roman wilderness close to the city center. It’s only 20 minutes by foot to the Colosseum, and another 20 minutes to the main train station Termini.
I share the apartment with 26 year old Alfredo and his girlfriend. I was wondering how it’s possible that such a young man could afford to own an apartment in the center of Rome. Then I found out that it’s his dad who bought it for him two years ago. I don’t know the exact price, but typically 2+1 apartments in this location can be bought for around € 250,000.
Atypical kitchen, plate rack and a bidet for € 450
The flat is in the fourth floor in a building with an elevator. We have a kitchen connected to the living room, which is not very typical in Rome. Most apartments that I’ve been to had a little kitchen without a window. The living room is the center of all the action. We share meals by the table there, we watch football on TV, every single night, and we can unfold the couch in case any of our friends needs to spend a night here.
In the kitchen, I like the plate strainer the most. It’s built inside one of the cupboards. You don’t have to wipe the dishes – plates and all other pieces are just put directly into the wiry rack and the water just drops into an expandable board. I noticed that almost every household had this kind of rack.
Some Italians go even one step further. They hate washing the dishes, so many of them use plastic cutlery and plates that they just throw away after a meal. They find it perfectly normal.
What I also admire about this apartment is the relatively big reconstructed bathroom. Apart from a shower, bath, a sink, and a toilet, there’s also a bidet. I haven’t been to an apartment in Rome where they wouldn’t have a bidet. It’s a necessity for Italians.
There are two rooms in the apartment. Alfredo and his girlfriend occupy the big one, while the little one is my kingdom. It is around 2 x 6 meters, but I don’t need more. I have a big closet, a desk with a chair and a comfy bed. I pay € 450 per month, all fees included.
Each bedroom has its own enclosed balcony, mine is occupied by a washing machine. I didn’t find it strange to have a washing machine outside until my mom came to visit. She was so shocked! But in Rome, to have a washing machine on the balcony is as common as to have a flowerpot with fresh basil in it, with a little table and chairs.
I already feel at home here. I’ve got my own room and we are three people for one bathroom, which is actually quite a luxury. Most of my foreign classmates are envious about my accommodation. I know many people who share a place with another 6 flat mates, don’t have a room on their own and have to commute to school. In this case, their monthly rent is usually around € 300. I’d rather pay a bit more for the comfort and don’t regret it at all.
To the other students that plan on going to Rome, I’d recommend arriving here as early as possible before the school term starts and to immediately start looking for lodging. I think that’s what I did right. I came a month before the term started and was therefore in the first wave of incoming students. Thanks to that, I was able to choose the best in terms of value for money.
I earn rent money from planning trips for travelers
I had to earn some money so that I could afford my stay in Rome. I was lucky in that too. I came across people, who were starting a new travel website mytravelove.com. Thanks to that, I’m now planning authentic Roman activities with locals for tourists, which no conventional travel agencies would provide. For example picnics that Italians love. They buy snacks, unfold a blanket in a park and spend half a day happily chatting and snacking. The best spot for lazy afternoons like that is the Borghese Park.
This article first appeared on idnes.cz. You can find the full version of it in Czech on the link below.