Tor Vergata is one of the two public universities offering medicine and surgery in English. If you love the big city and/or the marvels of the Eternal City of Rome, then this could be the perfect match for you!
Rome needs no introduction. As the capital of modern Italy and one of history’s most important cities, Rome does not disappoint. Beautiful architecture, unmatched history, and the conveniences of a large modern city await you in the ‘Eternal City’. However, this comes at the price of masses of tourists, the associated tourist traps and scams, and a general chaotic vibe to the city
With over 2,800,000 inhabitants in the city proper and over 4,300,000 in the metropolitan area, Rome is the largest city in Italy. If you want to live in a big city and have access to all the conveniences that brings, then this may be the choice for you.
On the flip side, Rome is not for everyone. Public transport can be considered below average European standards, the number of tourists in summer can be overwhelming, and the business of a big city can leave you feeling stressed. Make sure you are fine with living in a big city with an extra dash of chaos for 6 years if you are considering Tor Vergata
The University Location
The university is located on the eastern outskirts of Rome, meaning you will be close to the busy capital but not in the centre of the chaos. A nice combination!
While Rome is not known for having the best public transport it is by no means terrible. You can travel by metro, tram, train or bus 24/7. On top of that, the city is bicycle-friendly and electric scooters can be rented across the city.
However, one thing that needs to be said is that buses are almost always late. Furthermore, Italy is well known for having frequent strikes, which can disrupt the public transport process. On top of this, in the summer months, you will be fighting for a place with the hordes of tourists that visit Rome every year.
This should be by no means a deal breaker for anyone, public transport still functions, but be ready to expect some additional stress in your life from overcrowded transport that never arrives on time.
The cost of public transport is about 20 euros per month. Note that there are ways to get discounts, which will depend on your family income (ISEE).
You can find more information here https://www.rome.net/transportation
Expect hot and humid summers. Unless you like a hot climate, the summers can be really intense rising above 31 degrees Celsius. In the winter it is usually around 6 degrees, and they are quite mild. You will not get snow, but rain and fog are common in the winter months.
Rent can vary from around 250 to 1000 euros per month depending on where you want to live, how many roommates you will have, and how lucky you get.
For information on student housing, checkout CampusX https://www.cx-place.com/
Cost of Living
Rome is expensive relative to other Italian cities, and you need to take care avoiding tourist traps. A lot of restaurants, cafes and bars prey on tourists with money, so prices can be extremely high. You will need to find areas that tourists do not visit if you want an affordable meal/drink. A cheap meal can be around 8 euros, while something nicer can push around 25-35 euros. Try to eat your lunch at the university Mensa, as this can cost as little as 1.50-2.00 euros if you qualify based on your ISEE.
However, relative to northern European cities, Rome is actually not that bad. Rent can be quite cheap (around 250 euros per month) if it is shared accommodation in a cheap area, but can rise well over 1000 euros per month if you wish to live alone in the fancy part of town. Heating, electricity, internet and condominium fees can add another 100-200 euros per month to your bill (it is sometimes bundled together with your rent).
Public transport as mentioned before is around 20 euros per month (try to get a discount based on your ISEE where possible).
While not the safest city in Italy, Rome is considered relatively safe. You can be out at night without any problems provided you exercise good street smarts. Avoid dangerous areas at night, take a look at these areas here https://www.smartertravel.com/tips-rome-warnings-dangers-stay-safe/
As a major tourist hub, you need to be wary of pickpockets and scammers. Unfortunately, as an international student who doesn’t speak Italian, you will likely be targeted. Be suspicious of random people who approach you speaking English, always keep your hands on your pockets/handbags and do not entertain people trying to sell you garbage.
The benefits of living in a big city are that you will have access to tonnes of entertainment. World-class restaurants of every cuisine, countless bars, sports facilities, gyms, cinemas, parks… you will have access to everything!
What’s more, Rome offers you the very best in terms of culture. Roman ruins, old palaces, operas… the list goes on. While the city can be stressful, you certainly will not be bored.
The campus is located about 40 minutes to an hour from the city centre. You will have access to lecture halls, a hospital, labs, and amenities like cafes/restaurants/bars etc.
There are 25 EU places and 10 non-EU places at this university meaning classes are much smaller than average. The majority of the EU places are filled by Italians, while the non-EU are very diverse.
In line with the typical Italian system, most exams are oral exams. There are 7 exam sessions per year, and you can repeat and retake exams if you do not like the grade.
Based on official rankings, Tor Vergata often falls between 10th and 16th in Italy. Note that this can change every year, and it is not something that should sway your decision too much. It has virtually no impact on your future prospects as a doctor
You can calculate the fees for this university here: https://web.uniroma2.it/en/contenuto/isee_parificato
The past IMAT scores required for entry can be found here. Note that these can change year to year
You can apply for a scholarship based on your family income (ISEE) at DISCO Lazio. This includes a lump sum payment, free accommodation and reduced-price meals at Mensa cafeterias. To see if you qualify, check out their website here http://www.laziodisco.it/
You are most often required to attend 67% of your lectures. Failure to do this can result in a lower grade, extra tasks before sitting the exam and in the absolute worst case the requirement to attend the course again
Course link: http://medschool.uniroma2.it/
Educational regulations (English from page 27): http://medschool.uniroma2.it/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Regolamento-pubblicato.pdf