Student Life in Perugia
At first, Perugia looks like the many hilltop towns of central Italy. It sits high atop a hill flecked with charming pink and yellow roofs, encircled by ancient and medieval walls. But this is a place where magic meets modernity. And though the city has preserved its Etruscan walls, centuries-old churches, winding cobblestone streets, and an impressive smattering of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, it is also a vibrant modern city. Corso Vannucci, the main thoroughfare, hums with energy from restaurants, jazz cafes, piano bars, theatres, pubs, museums, and art exhibits. Today’s Perugia offers an enchanting blend of ancient allure and modern vigor, breathtaking vistas paired with the pleasant bustle of a university town.
Nicknamed the “University City,” Perugia boasts a thriving international student scene. Each year, thousands of Italian and international students flock to the city to attend the Universitá degli Studi di Perugia, the Universitá per Stranieri di Perugia, and the many studio and performing arts schools in the area. Unlike the more popular tourist destinations, Italian is heard on every street corner and in every shop, making the city a gem for language students seeking a truly immersive experience. Every night, students gather on the steps of the duomo to eat, drink, and make merry. Part of living in Perugia is about being swept up in the city’s boisterous energy every time you step outside.
In other Italian cities, you’re a tourist. A visitor. An outsider. In Perugia, you became one of the locals. You speak the language and eat the food. The city is both your classroom and your playground, offering a one-of-a-kind study abroad experience.
This isn’t just a “study” abroad experience. It’s a “life” abroad experience.
To help facilitate a smooth transition into life in Perugia, the Umbra Institute provides housing in apartments situated throughout the city center. Apartments are shared, and most house between two and six Umbra students. Students may also request to be housed with either Italian students, international students, or—for the truly ambitious—a host family. All student housing is within walking distance of the historic center and the Umbra Institute’s two main buildings. Within a few weeks, you’ll get to know your neighbors; the city is small enough you’re sure to bump into friends while out and about.
As there is no meal plan for the Umbra Institute program, you are encouraged to cook for yourself. All apartments are stocked with basic kitchen utensils, and many students delight in using them—they host dinners for one another, theme nights, wine-and-cheese tastings, etc. If cooking is not your forte, the Università per Stranieri offers low-price cafeteria meals, and the Umbra student ID card is valid for discounts at many trattorias, pizzerias, and pubs around the city. After all, it is Italy: delicious food is never far away.
Beyond the Classroom
The Umbra Institute hosts many events, giving students the chance to participate in wine tastings, weekend trips, walking tours, tandem language exchange with Italians, pizza nights, art shows, sporting events, and so much more.
In addition to Umbra-sponsored activities, students can take advantage of the many shows, exhibitions, and events offered by the city of Perugia, most of which offer student discounts. The Fondazione Perugia Musica Classica puts on concerts almost every week for those interested in classical music, and students can choose from a wide selection of productions at Teatro Morlacchi (and also from the decadent hot chocolate selection in the adjacent café).
Perugia hosts two annual festivals that attract worldwide attention. Eurochocolate, a celebration held each October, is an eight-day paradise for any chocolate lover, a time when the streets of Perugia overflow with scrumptious treats. The city is also the hub of Umbria Jazz, the renowned summer jazz festival that has flourished since 1973. Other events include Arte in Piazza, Perugia International Film Festival, Renaissance Festival, and more. The Comune di Perugia website highlights weekly activities and events.
For students who are seeking even more adventure, the Social Center at the Università per Stranieri organizes a number of sporting events, concerts, and films in Italian, all of which are free to students. Umbra students can take part in the Università’s “Coro da Camera,” a student choir performing regularly at both the university and outside venues. Perugia also has a number of sports facilities including gyms, swimming pools, tracks, and tennis courts that are available to students at reduced prices.
Sing, groove, sweat, move—at the Umbra Institute, we offer it all.
There is no shortage of website and apps about Perugia. Check out the sites below to learn more about life in Perugia- Italy’s UniverCity.