As the former capital of three kingdoms, Turin (or “Torino”) is a world-famous city filled with a history in Italian politics, beautiful artwork, and incredibly diverse architecture. However, Torino is far more than just a pretty neo-classical façade. The city is home to a large portion of the Italian automotive industry and other multi-million Euro companies, making it the third-strongest economical city in Italy. Torino also played host to the 2006 Winter Olympics. University culture has created a large underground arts and music scene, making studying abroad in Torino an incredibly exciting Italian experience.
Subjects & Courses
With Torino being home to the Fiat automobile industry, the world-famous Lavazza coffee company, and national television networks such as Rai, international business is a very popular subject to study in Torino. The city can also claim the origins of Italian cinema, as well as ownership of The Egyptian Museum of Turin, with the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt. As such, film, archeology, and history are all very important disciplines of study in Torino’s universities.
There are a number of study abroad programs in Torino, most of which are partnered with the Università of Torino: founded in 1404, it is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the top five universities in Italy. Some study abroad programs in Torino take place during the summer, while others offer the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or an entire academic year. The Polytechnic University of Turin is also in Torino, so the city is also well known for programs in engineering, architecture, and industrial design.
Depending on your study abroad program in Torino, your courses may be structured similar to American university courses, with a combination of lectures, discussion, class readings, and essays. Courses structured similar to Italian universities, or taken directly at an Italian university, such as the Università of Torino, will typically be lecture-style with an oral or written exam at the end of the semester. These courses require a great deal of independent reading and discipline, as Italian university systems tend to follow a self-regulated learning structure, so keep this in mind when selecting where to study abroad in Torino.
Life in Torino
Most of Italy is steeped in history and breathtaking art, and Torino is no different. Its baroque and neo-classical architecture is impressive, but so too is Torino’s jazz scene, its reputation for innovative cinema, and the modern art in both its galleries and in the street graffiti. Torino has strong ties to the Catholic Church, as it is home to the Shroud of Turin—a linen cloth believed to bear the image of Jesus Christ. It is also home to a different type of religion: “futbol”; soccer in Italy is an important national pastime and Torino can claim the origins of the world-famous Juventus F.C. team. Going to Juventus soccer games is an essential part of the Torino university experience and a must during your time studying in Torino.
Italian culture is very social; one custom that is popular in the northern regions of Italy is going out for aperitivi. Italians of all ages—especially university students—fill the streets in the early evenings for a pre-dinner cocktail hour at local bars and cafés. The area known as the murazzi along the Po River is a famous and popular destination for these excursions, which are filled with light drinks, appetizers, and good conversation. It is an excellent way to meet other Italian and international students in the city while studying in Torino.
Torino has many grand piazzas, where students meet to socialize, shop, and eat. On specific nights in the city, students and citizens alike join in watching and learning traditional dancing of the Piemonte region in the piazzas. In the winter, you’ll find large ice-skating rinks throughout the city, which are a very popular place for students to meet too.
Torino is in the center of the Piemonte region, in the northwest corner of Italy. Surrounded by the Alps and bordering France, Switzerland, and three other Italian regions, Torino has its own metro system, an international airport, and railway stations that connect with Italy and the rest of Europe, making travel effortless and very fast.
Torino is also world-famous for its fine wines and exquisite chocolate—what more could you ask for?
Accommodation & Visas
Housing in Torino is dependent upon your study abroad program, but usually includes the options of dormitories or apartments. These housing options may be with your fellow English-speaking international students who are also studying abroad in Torino or with local Italian students. These accommodations typically have cooking facilities included. Living independently within Torino is an excellent way to learn to live as the Italians do.
Another housing option available for students studying in Torino is a homestay, in which you are placed with an Italian family. When living in a homestay, you have the chance to truly become a part of Italian culture through home-cooking and day-to-day living.
If you are studying abroad in Italy for a full year or a semester longer than 90 days, then you must obtain a student visa. The closest Italian Consulate office to where you live is a crucial resource that you will use throughout the application process. Begin applying for your visa as early as possible, as it can sometimes be months before you are approved for entry to study abroad in Italy; be sure to prepare all the required documents listed on the Italian Consulate’s website.
Benefits & Challenges
Studying abroad in Torino is a chance to explore an exquisite Italian city famous for the arts, business, and history of Italian politics. It is a large metropolitan city with a small, cohesive historic center. Since Torino is in Northern Italy, expect colder weather.
With the exchange rate, the cost of living in Italy – and especially in a popular city such as Torino – is somewhat expensive, but there are a lot of student deals; keep an eye out for the word Erasmus for international student discounts.
Italian universities are different from American universities, as campuses are spread out in buildings throughout the city. Torino itself becomes your campus. Making friends quickly is more challenging with this structure, but the rewards of becoming a part of your chosen Italian city during study abroad are endless.
Studying abroad in Torino is both an academic and personal experience that allows you to become a part of a much larger community of travelers and global citizens. Benvenuto a Torino!