Top 50 tips for navigating bologna
Top 50 Tips for Navigating Bologna:
Travel, travel, travel.
Travel as much as possible. You will ALWAYS feel too
busy and too stressed to leave town. but if you don't do it, you'll look back on
the year and realize that your grades would not have slipped even if you'd gone
.more specifically, travel within Italy.
There are a lot of really great small
towns just a train ride away! Try to engage with Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, and
Italy. If you have a weekend off, instead of jetting off to Paris or London,
consider going to Modena, Parma, Mantova, Verona, Ferrara, Ravenna, Padua,
Rimini, and more. Get to know your region of Italy; it is gorgeous, and has a
unique culture, culinary tradition, and history.
The first weeks of the semester are the calmest. You will have
plenty of time to explore Bologna and its restaurant scene throughout the year
during study breaks. Weekend trips become less feasible as the semester
Italian cities and towns can be seen on day trips.
Even Rome, Milan,
Florence, Venice and Naples are doable in a day. If you plan your time well,
you should be able to see all of the main sites.
Go to Cinque Terre during pre-term!
There will be beautiful weather, the
water will be warm enough to swim, and there won't be a better time to do it
Take a weekend hiking trip in the Dolomites before the rifugios close in
That short getaway was one of the most memorable of the year.
Rent a car and drive around Tuscany.
It’s a lot of fun and very easy. Siena is
a really interesting city to visit and you can stop at vineyards in the Chianti
region along the way.
Book early to take advantage of discounts
! You can get excellent prices on
train tickets when you plan ahead. Trenitalia sometimes has 2x1 deals on
weekends as well, so check their website for details.
It’s all about balance.
If you're keen to explore Italy/Europe, try to do as much
as you can during the first semester; the second one flies by and you'll be busy
figuring out your plans for the summer, the second year in DC, etc.
10. Really get to know your classmates.
Enjoy their company, you will be
amazed at how interesting everyone is- they are great people!
11. Enjoy the company of fellow students and professors at Friday happy
Guilio’s bar is a popular place for members of the SAIS community to
gather on Friday nights after classes have ended.
12. Caffeine is your friend.
Your espresso consumption will increase dramatically
13. Choose classes wisely.
Don't take classes just because you feel like you
have to get requirements out of the way. If there classes are offered that are more interesting to you, take those!
14. Be adventurous and study at the beautiful Italian libraries.
If you get tired
of studying at home or at SAIS, the local libraries are a great option. Ask Raffaela or at the SAIS BC library desk for more information.
15. Work hard, play hard.
Bologna has many treasures and often students forget
to enjoy them because they get too caught up with school.
16. Don’t buy textbooks!
Check Salvatore apartments for books that other
classes have left behind, or take them out of the library when you need them. This will save you a lot of money.
17. Take walks or go running
in Giardini Margherita to de-stress.and to work off
all of that gelato and tortelloni! Another option is to go running in the hills behind Bologna. For example, take Castiglione past the circolare and run up Scalini for a beautiful view over the old city.
18. Ask about “The Carrot”
. Ask Margel about her Halloween costume from
when she attended the Bologna Center. Margel will make your year in Bologna much easier, so you’ll want to get to know her anyway!
19. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your program in DC
. The faculty and
administration are extremely helpful in Bologna, but remember that you have additional resources in Washington at your disposal as well.
20. Treasure nice weather in Bologna
because the winter gets a little dreary!
21. Bring clothing that can be layered.
The Bologna Center can be hot in the
winter and cold in the summer - especially the auditorium and library. Weather in Bologna is also somewhat unpredictable.
22. Learn about Bologna.
Ask Professor Row about the history of Bologna, and
attempt to learn the history of Emilia and Romagna (they're technically one region, but really they're fairly different from each other).
23. Notice the beauty of Bologna.
Make an effort to look up when you walk
through the porticoes. The ceilings are all designed differently and are exquisite.
24. The Bologna History Museum is worth a visit.
It is important to learn about
the city in which you will be living for nine months, and the museum is an impressive and fun way to do so.
25. Integrate as much as possible.
Do everything you can early on to integrate
26. Learn Italian.
Get as much Italian in your system before arriving in Italy - it will
come in handy! Taking Italian classes while at SAIS helps when traveling around the country and makes it easier to meet Bolognesi during the year.
27. Engage with Italians
. Italians are warm and welcoming about everything -
food, politics, religion, homes, cultures, etc. Just walk into a random store and start talking. You'll learn just as much as in SAIS classes.
28. How do you meet Italians?
One way to meet Italians and to work on your
foreign language skills is through the Tandem language meet-up. The group meets every Tuesday night- search for the Facebook page. You will see a new side to Bologna when you engage with locals.
29. You can also choose to live with Italians.
Finding an apartment with Italian
students is easier than you think, particularly if you speak Italian, and will be significantly cheaper than apartments offered through SAIS.
30. Watch out when you are walking!
The porticos are great in the rain, but you
may have an unexpected encounter with oncoming scooters, cars, and bicycles. And they are very slippery.
31. Never get in a rut.
Bologna is a small town but there is so much to see and
do, so get out there and try new things as often as you can! Don't be afraid to explore Bologna outside of the city walls either.
32. Laugh at the frustrations.
Living in a new country requires adjustment, and
let’s face it, Italy is not the most efficient place in the world. Try to find the humor in frustrating situations rather than getting upset- you will have a more pleasant overall experience!
33. Buy local.
Go to the Mercato della Terra farmer's market to pick up fresh
ingredients, and try the tigalle con porchetta sandwich while you’re there! Another market to visit is Mercato delle Erbe (entrance on Ugo Bassi). For produce purchases close to school, visit Castrio, the local fruit and vegetable vendor.
34. Don’t go hungry on Sundays
- PAM (on Via Marconi) is the biggest
supermarket and open all day Sunday, when everything else is closed.
35. If you cook, bring good knives and measuring cups.
You can also request
select kitchen items from Salvatore if you choose to live in a SAIS apartment.
36. Try as many of the amazing Italian restaurants Bologna has to offer as
And if you can get your hands on a car, look up good Agriturismo
restaurants in the countryside using the Michelin or a Slow Food Movement
37. Don’t eat the Bolognese bread.
No really, don’t. Or the Tuscan kind.you’ll
38. There is hope for vegetarians!
Lots. Don't despair, Bologna has a lot to offer,
despite the initial impression that prosciutto and ragu is all there is to life.
39. Get WIND prepaid
(not TIM)- unlimited internet and enough minutes & texts for
under 10 EUR, depending on the offer going at the moment. You can recharge your phone at most Tabacchis - NEVER stand in line at WIND or TIM stores!
40. Don’t cancel TIM internet more than 10 days before you want the
cancellation to go into effect.
Although you can specify a cancellation date
on the form, don’t count on this- you don’t want your internet to be canceled
41. The buses are quite good and reliable in Bologna:
Use the TripPlanner
website to map out trips: http://www.tper.it/percorsi-orari/il-tuo-percorso-da.
42. Trenitalia is great and easy!
If you want to buy a Trenitalia ticket for a
particular day/train/time and the cheapest fare is no longer available, go to the train station and find the same train fare for a different day. Buy it, print it and just use it the day you actually need it. Remember to validate all train tickets! Trenitalia tickets can be purchased at a cheaper rate online if they are booked in advance. Printing tickets from online purchases is much easier than dealing with the lines and kiosks at the train stations. It’s also easy to write papers on trains.
43. Watch your utilities so you don’t end up paying at the end of the year!
Turn the heating off when you are not at home, to save on gas bills. Else you will pay dearly. Electricity is cheaper at night.
44. Visit the most amazing Spa in Montecatini (Tuscany)
- plenty of hotels and
45. Take advantage of student discounts at Udospa
- They have a 10% discount
for JHU students if you call ahead of time. Udospa is good for massages and waxing, but manicures and pedicures are not great.
46. Always carry cash in addition to credit and debit cards
- in many small
places they don't have point of service terminals.
47. For the women.birth control is inexpensive in Italy.
Just meet with the
SAIS Doctor and he will write you a prescription that most closely matches the medication you are currently using.
48. Bring extra suitcases to lighten the load on your way back
, otherwise you
will be up to your head in overweight bag fees.
49. Don't leave everything until the end
, because you WILL run out of time!
50. Enjoy every minute
- it goes quickly!
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