Housing and Residential Life

What to Expect & Tips and Advice

What to expect from a Roman apartment

Living and studying abroad in Rome is a unique experience. Before arriving, it's important to know what to expect, and familiarizing yourself with Mediterranean culture and standards is key.

This is what you will find:

  • Furniture, an equipped kitchen, sheets and towels. All JCU housing is completely furnished.
  • Safety. JCU houses students in safe neighborhoods near the university.
  • A growth experience. Cooking, cleaning and living on your own will help you become more independent.
  • Roommates. Living with people from other countries—or other regions of your home country—can teach you a lot about the world and other cultures.
  • No super-sizing here! Everything is generally much smaller, including refrigerators, trash bins and other household items. Italians love fresh food and tend to shop and dispose of trash daily.
  • Limited storage and no elevator - pack lightly!
  • A washer, but no dryer. Laundromats are accessible if needed.
  • No air conditioning.
  • Short showers. Rome is an ancient city and the plumbing is not perfect.
  • A country that is resource conscientious. Heating is regulated by law, and some Roman neighborhoods must comply with city-mandated recycling efforts.
  • Fewer hassles. We've done all the searching for you.

For a more in-depth look into Roman-style living, please consult our Roman Housing booklet.

Tips and advice

Booking your flight: Choosing the best flight is not as simple as it may seem. Sometimes, the cheapest option will cost you in convenience! For years, we have helped facilitate hundreds of arrivals per semester, so please review some of our tips before booking your airline ticket.

Space tips: Avoid the temptation to bring everything you own. Less is not always more, but it's usually all that will fit comfortably into your Roman abode. Do not overpack as just like in many big cities, closet and storage space is notoriously limited in Roman apartments. Also, you will probably shop here and you wouldn't want to be charged for extra luggage on your way back home. Visit this website for some good packing tips. Finally, keep in mind that you will be carrying your own luggage and most apartments do not have elevators!

Things you will need to provide: In all of our housing, you will be expected to acquire your own cleaning supplies and toiletries. Make sure you read our booklet for more details about what items you do not need to pack, as well as some items we recommend you consider bringing. Examples of these "to bring" items include: Ziploc bags, index cards, and your preferred deodorant.

Electrical hints: Don't expect to be able to dry your hair while your roommate irons her blouse. Average wiring in Rome can handle only one heat-drawing appliance at a time. Take turns using appliances and avoid power shortages! In the meantime, learn where the fuse box is located in your apartment.

Heating: By city ordinance, heating systems are turned on around November 15 and are turned off around March 15 every year. The heater in the apartments generally runs from 6:00-9:00 a.m. and then again in the evening from 6:00-10:00 p.m. This means that the hours in-between are what you could call "Roman room temperature", which is slightly warmer than the temperature outside. Apartments provided through JCU housing do not have air conditioning.

Hot Water:
 Do not expect to take 30-minute showers. Apartments usually have a hot water tank located in the bathroom or balcony. All of the hot water in the tank must be shared between all roommates, so be considerate of the person taking a shower after you and limit your showers to no longer than 3 minutes. It can take up to four hours for the water in the tank to reheat.

Washing Machines: You may notice right away that Italian washing machines seem quite different; they are smaller and take longer to wash a load of clothes. On the other hand, they're built to last! A general washing machine guide is included in the Roman Housing Booklet. And no, there are no clothes dryers. The image of clothes hanging out to dry on racks on the balconies is not just from the movies.

Keys: Your keys are your responsibility. If you lose your keys, you will need to come to the Housing Maintenance Desk immediately to report it. As a security measure, the lock will be changed at your cost. If you are locked out of your apartment, you will be charged for the call to have someone let you in. If you are locked in, you will be charged for the call to let you out of your apartment.

Group living: It's likely that you already have some experience in this area. Here in Rome, it may be expanded to include roommates of a different culture and language background. This is an invaluable opportunity and you should make the most of it by being as tolerant of their way of doing things as you wish them to be of yours. Respect the privacy of your roommates just as you expect them to respect yours. Please remember that overnight guests are NOT permitted and that loud parties, noises or music after 11:00 p.m. is against Italian law.

Emergencies: JCU Emergency Phone 
The JCU staff member answering the Emergency Phone will make every possible effort to assist you or refer you to the proper person, agency or service. The JCU Emergency Phone is not an "emergency response team" and in emergency situations (serious illness, fire, theft, etc) students should first call Italian emergency services as listed on the JCU Emergency Card given to you during Orientation.

The Emergency Phone should only be called in a true emergency. Students are expected to exercise discretion to distinguish between an inconvenience that can be remedied on their own and a real emergency requiring immediate assistance. Misuse of the Emergency Phone can result in fines charged to your student account in addition to charges incurred by JCU in responding to any "false alarm."