By Laura Bonjean
This is the third of three pieces which provides information over the Euroculture city Udine. This first section is all about food. The second section is all about how to spend your time in Udine, in the moments you are not filling your stomach, and this third, and last, piece shares practical information on Udine. So we conclude this short series on Udine with maybe some dry, but important facts about practical matters!
How to get around
- To get around the city you can download an app with which you will be able to buy every ticket for the buses in Udine and Trieste. The name of the app is TPL FVG.
- As said above, one of the highlights about living in Udine is how many cities you can travel to in only a couple of hours. Flixbus were the most used by the Euroculture students of the 2022 cohort to travel, as buses were really reliable and affordable. One of the most used lines was probably the one going to Napoli as it stopped Venice, Bologna and Firenze.
- Otherwise, for a day trip, you can take the trains. Tickets can be bought directly at the train station or online for a very affordable price . However, trains can sometimes have some delays, so I would advise making sure, in the case of a transfer, to have enough time to change between the trains. Additionally, If you are going to Verona, my advice would be to take the three-day pass. It will allow you to take different times, and it was cheaper for Euroculture students than paying two different tickets back and forth.
- f you want to know more about international student events, follow the Erasmus in Udine Instagram Page (or ESN). They are the ones organising most events around Udine from game nights, parties to hikes or weekend trips. You can easily contact them, and they can add you to their huge WhatsApp group. You can also get a membership card that will grant access to some of their events along with some discounts, but do not be too impatient to get it as it can take a bit of time for them to give it to you.
- Another nice organisation creating events is AEGEE-Udine (you can also find them on Instagram). They are an international organisation gathering people who are staying in the city for a longer time than an Erasmus exchange. This association is very welcoming and mixes Italian and international locals in events such as karaoke nights for a very affordable price.
One of the highlights of this city is its prices: it is very affordable compared to other Euroculture cities, like for instance Strasbourg, which makes it quite easy to gather with your friends to make plans for the weekend and to discuss the importance of Trieste during the Cold War…
- Housing? Although the University of Udine will provide you with a guide of places to look for accommodation for the semester in Udine, it is not that easy to find one. Lot of places are only for students spending at least a year in the city, or the communication might be difficult with non-English speakers. Prices can go from 360 to 460 for a single room, and it will get more expensive the closer you are to the city centre. However, you will always be able to find a single room as they have a lot of dormitories. Additionally, living outside the city centre in Udine is not that big of a deal as you will be at maximum 30 minutes walking away from everything.
- Do you need to speak/understand Italian? Although you can manage without having knowledge in Italian, it does make your life easier if you do so. Most administration issues are dealt with by people not speaking English, and sometimes it can be hard to make yourself understood. For instance, in some dormitories, all information was given in Italian and people are more likely to reply to you if you write your emails in Italian. However, with Google translation and patience, it is still largely doable!
- Life costs? Udine is a pretty budget-friendly city:
- Coffees are usually around 2.50 euros and regarding drinks, it depends on what you take, but you can have a nice night out while staying within your budget. For instance, wine is usually around 1 to 3 euros and 5 euros is the most you can pay for a Spritz.
- Restaurants are also affordable, as dishes are usually around 9–12 euros. However, be aware that you have to pay for the water and also for the “seat” when you are eating at a restaurant (usually 2 euros). So adding little spendings on little spendings can easily bring your final bill to 16 euros.
- Paying for groceries is not that expensive, but it also depends on your accommodations. For instance, some students staying in dormitories did not have any kitchen to cook and therefore had to spend more on groceries as they had to buy food and snacks more often. In the centre there is Conad, however if you want a cheaper option with more products, then it is better to go outside the city centre. Eurospar or Aldi are hypermarkets with lots of discounts.
- When it comes to travelling, prices will depend on your destination. It is definitely more expensive to travel in Italy than in the Czech Republic, for example, but it is possible to make it budget friendly if you plan your weekend trips in advance. Most trips will be at least 25 euros back and forth.
- Academic culture? The academic culture of Udine is not extremely intensive, it is even pretty chill until the end of the semester. You will have a lot of mandatory classes: usually classes take place from Tuesday to Friday and each is three hours long, punctuated by coffee breaks. Most of the assignments are presentations and exams, taking place during an exam session at the end of the semester in January. Teachers are mostly really enthusiastic about teaching Euroculture and about discovering student’s projects. The presentations, some events organised by teachers (like a trip or a roundtable) and the coffee break culture created a pretty positive environment for the Euroculture students of the 2022 cohort. However, the flip side of the coin is that if you need real structure and methodology, Udine University might not be the best fit for your academic path. Additionally, the university is not the most helpful to students and the language barrier is a reality. Euroculture students had to figure a lot of things by themselves when it came to administration.
All in all, Udine was a good choice for beginning the Euroculture Master. The slow lifestyles, its size and the academic culture along (even with its struggles) contributed in bringing together the Euroculture students of the 2022 cohort, especially as they had to face the rainy weather of northern Italy together. So if you are looking for a place to progressively start the MA programme while taking the time to truly get to know your classmates, Udine is the perfect option. Indeed, although the academic culture can be a bit chaotic, what makes the Euroculture Master wonderful is its people. And Udine is a great opportunity to understand the importance of people and relationships, while discovering a country and new pasta recipes!