Maryland-in-Florence Housing OverviewISI provides housing in furnished apartments within walking distance from Institute facilities. Students may request one roommate (the request must be reciprocal) as apartments typically have double rooms. Students will live with a mix of study abroad students from other US institutions. There is generally only one student apartment per building and neighboring residents are typically Italian families who own their apartments. All student units are well-equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, and living areas.
Apartments are in a few different neighborhoods in Florence, all chosen based on distance to ISI facilities, safety, and distance to areas of interest to students. These apartments will be in central Florence, which extends both north and south of the Arno River. There is no “right” or “wrong” side of the river to live on.
ISI is highly selective when securing student housing in Florence. All students are placed in shared apartments along with other international program participants. Occupancy ranges from 4-8 students per apartment with 2-3 students per bedroom and up to 4 students per bathroom. To ensure the apartments are kept in working order, the Student Services staff is available throughout the term to provide assistance with any housing needs, maintenance and utilities. Student services staff is not responsible for general upkeep and cleanliness of the apartment through the duration of the semester.
The following are usually provided in the apartment, to be shared by all occupants:
- Washing machine (no dryers) - Students are provided with shared drying racks, irons, and ironing boards.
- Bedding/linens - sheets, blankets, and pillows
- Landline phone (all students are required to have an Italian cell phone)
Italian vs US Housing Culture
It is important that students on this program go into their experience with an open mind and a willingness to live like local Italians live for the semester. These are some of the differences students may find in their housing:
- WiFi speed/strength: Wireless internet service in Italian homes is not as strong as Americans are often used to.
- Lack of dryers: While apartments will not have dryers, students are highly advised to line dry their clothing rather than take laundry to laundromats. This is also more environmentally friendly.
- Size and age of apartments and rooms: Individual rooms in apartments are often smaller than students are accustomed to in the US, and the apartments may be older than the United States is as a country. All ISI apartments are well maintained.
- Stairs: Many apartment buildings do not have elevators and students will have to ascend many floors of stairs to enter their apartments.
- Heating and air conditioning: Italian law dictates when apartments can and cannot run heating or air conditioning based on the date. It’s important to be prepared to wear layers indoors during the colder months. Apartments may not be equipped with air conditioning.
Engaging with Italian Culture while Living in ISI-Arranged Apartments
Living with other students on the same program means you will have to take the initiative to seek out Italian friends and experiences. However, living in an apartment can provide an opportunity for daily interaction with Italian neighbors. You can develop rapport with your neighbors, whom you may see frequently. You will likely visit the same local markets and stores in your neighborhood, allowing you the opportunity to develop relationships with those in your community. UMD regards this cultural integration as an essential part of studying abroad, as students should endeavor to meet locals and understand Italian culture in a Florentine context.
It will take effort on your part to make friends in your building, or other Italian college students in Florence, but it can be done! You will, of course, need to respect the fact that you will be in a communal living arrangement. You’ll have to be aware of your noise level as to not disturb your neighbors and possibly jeopardize future students from living in the building. As a guest in Italy, you are expected to abide by “quiet hours” and other local regulations. In Italian culture, socialization is typically conducted outside of the house and students are encouraged to keep this custom in mind when socializing with friends.
Housing costs are included in the Maryland-in-Florence program fee.