Hello MTV and welcome to my crib.
(Thank you for letting me live out a childhood dream with being able to use that introduction semi-seriously, although I probably should replace MTV with “potential Temple Study Abroad students”)
As you may be able to tell from my virtual apartment tour, my housing situation in Rome is different than many students’ in the program. While lots of students live in university secured housing (either in the Residence Candia, a residence hall, or a homestay), I chose to go through the independent housing process for financial and cultural reasons. Since Temple Rome is an American university, I wanted to try to live in an area that didn’t have a big American student population. It’s definitely been a bit of a journey in figuring everything out and living here, so I wanted to share a bit about the differences in housing options for those of you who may have to make a decision on housing in the future!
Right away one of the most difficult parts of living in independent housing was struggling to make friends with other students. Although one reason I chose independent housing was to be surrounded by more Italians as opposed to mostly American students, I didn’t fully think about how isolating it would be initially. Living down the hall from someone is one of the quickest way to make friends. In fact, I’m currently living with one of my best friends who I met on move-in day freshman year. However, even without this proximity, I have made plenty of new friends in the program. Plus, I’ve been able to interact with our neighbors and get to know a few of the families that live near us, which was something I specifically wanted from my housing.
A second difference, which was a big struggle, is that independent housing is not guaranteed through Temple. From the moment you check off the “independent housing” box on your application, you are independent in finding your own place. I know it sounds redundant, but even with the Study Abroad office providing information on options for independent housing, I definitely remember being incredibly stressed in the month between committing to the program and actually finding a spot to live. My friend Hannah and I spent hours scouring different websites looking for a place that did long-term rentals at an affordable price.
This brings me to another difference, costs. Within independent housing, there are huge price discrepancies, some apartments were way under $1,000 while others were way above $2,000 a month. So it’s really important to know that independent housing does not guarantee a cheaper option than the Residence or a homestay. Ultimately, the place I chose to rent for the semester was significantly cheaper than the Residence, which was a big part of my decision to live there. My apartment also has a bit more space than most rooms I’ve seen in the Residence. I’m very much a homebody, so having more room to spread out and turn the space into my own has been a big part of my ability to adjust to living here and feel at home in Rome. It’s also been really nice as my roommates and I have enough room to host our friends for dinners and movie nights!
Going the independent housing route was definitely more stressful, but it has been an extremely rewarding experience for me. If you’re studying abroad, I highly recommend researching your options to find what best fits your needs and what you want out of studying abroad. (I didn’t even have the time to get into a homestay, which is another exciting and highly immersive experience!) You can talk to friends, stop by the Study Abroad office, or even feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about housing abroad.