Since I have always been very curious, I knew from the beginning of my studies that I would want to do a semester abroad. After being in China during my bachelor’s, I wanted to experience the Erasmus programme during my Master in Management and decided to go to Italy for five months, which ended up being one of the best decisions and an unforgettable experience!
LUISS Business School is the School of Business and Management of the LUISS Guido Carli University. Currently, it is ranked second-best Italian Business School and is a known address for Management students. The courses are very interactive and often composed of a short exam, a group work and a participation grade like many courses I had at FS. The classes were all really small (we were 11 in total!) but this is great to find friends as in the end you get to know everyone from the English masters. Also, the professors usually have a lot of working experience in their field and talk about their experiences as managers, often bringing guest speakers to class, which was really interesting. The school has three campuses, one in Amsterdam, one in Milan and the stunning main campus in Rome. Even as an exchange student, you can choose the campus and the concentration you want to do once you get your spot. You can choose between Corporate Finance, Fashion and Luxury Management, Tourism Management, or the Business Transformation concentration. I chose Business Transformation and had courses like “How to establish a digital positioning”, “Mastering digital governance” and “Reengineering operational processes”, which all made me aware of challenges and opportunities around digitalisation and taught me tools and mechanisms to solve these in the business environment.
In terms of culture, there are just endless things to see in Rome, for example, the Vatican’s Museums, the breathtaking St. Peters Basilica, the Pantheon, the Piazza di Spagna with the Spanish Steps, and the Colosseum. The city is like an open museum – every building you visit is so ancient, special and full of history that you often feel like the city is frozen in time.
The timing was just perfect. I arrived in Rome on the second week of January and stayed until the end of May. In the beginning, the city was almost empty and not at all touristy, which was great to explore the normally overcrowded sites, and seeing the city bloom in spring was a dream! We had temperatures of around 20 degrees even in January and the sun shone a lot, so one could say I was even able to skip the German winter.
Life is definitely more slow-paced in Rome. The day begins with a perfect cappuccino and a cornetto on the side. I had to get used to some things, like the crazy driving or the public transport being so amazingly unreliable, but that is just how it goes. The people are so friendly and willing to listen to you stumble through basic Italian while ordering pizza or gelato for the third time that week.
The cost of living in Rome is similar to living in Frankfurt. The coffee is approximately ten times better and half the price, but everything else is pretty much comparable. The rent price is similar, and if you go out for food & drinks, you usually end up paying the same. A public transportation card from atac costs 30€ a month, which is a reasonable price and even takes you to the beach in around 40 minutes from the centre.
There is a lot you can do in Rome, and as there are 3 really big public universities and several private ones, there are many Erasmus students as well. The two main Erasmus networks, ESN and ERA, organise many parties, language and sports events, and day and weekend trips to other Italian cities. If you want, you can get to know so many people. I went on an Erasmus trip to Verona and Venice at the beginning and organised a trip to Tuscany and Puglia with friends I got to know during the semester abroad. From Rome, it is also very easy to get to Naples, see Pompeii and travel to the Amalfi Coast and Capri. It was amazing!
Overall I got to see a lot from my host country and found some really good friends that I will visit again around Europe. I would encourage everyone that has the opportunity to do a semester abroad to take the chance. Frankfurt School has a lot of partner universities to choose from, and I am sure that every experience abroad is so special and unique. Go and see the world!