International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner


The Euro is the official currency of Italy. The Euro was launched in two stages. First, in January 1999, to became the new official currency of 11 EU Member States, replacing the old national currencies – such as the Italian Lira. It was introduced in the virtual form for bank transactions. The second stage, in January 2002, was when the euro officially appeared in circulation. The Euro is not the currency of all EU Member States. Two countries, Denmark and the United Kingdom, agreed to 'opt-out', while many of the newest EU members have yet to meet the conditions for adopting the currency. Once they do so, they will replace their national currency with the Euro.

There are 8 different Euro coin denominations and 7 different Euro bill denominations in circulation. Coins are denominated in 2 and 1 euro, then 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Each member state decorated their own coins, but all coins are interchangeable within the countries. Bills are denominated in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 and they vary in color and size.

Conversion Rates

What is the Euro worth compared to the dollar? With the euro in constant flux, please see for up-to-date exchange rates. While traveling, it may be helpful to carry a portable currency converter (found at travel stores). Sometimes in the form of a key-chain, this is a handy gadget (like a calculator) into which you enter the exchange rate (depending on the exchange rate at the time and the country in which you are located) save, and then simply enter prices and the device converts the amounts into dollars.

Cost of Living

Rome is one of the more budget friendly cities in Italy and there are many ways to live comfortably on a budget, if you pay attention to what you spend and look out for different deals and events offered throughout the city.

Due to the change in exchange rates and vast differences in individual spending habits, we can only give you estimated figures. However, most students seem to spend around $300 per week. This figure does not include extra traveling, heavy shopping, or frequent restaurant dining. Please keep in mind that some students spend less and others spend more.

When budgeting, keep in mind that it is always better to overestimate than to underestimate. Please see the brief list below for an idea of approximate expenses for the most common items a typical student will encounter.

  • Food/Drinks
    • Coffee/Espresso ≈ €1.00 each
    • Breakfast Pastry ≈ €1.50 each
    • Gelato ≈ €2.00 each
    • Sandwich/Panino ≈ €4-6 each
    • Pizza ≈ €10
    • Dinner ≈ €15-35
    • Entertainment ≈ €20-40 / week (varies greatly per student)
  • Travel
    • Metro/bus pass ≈ €35 / month
    • Train Ticket ≈ €10-75 one way (varies according to destination)
    • Hotel: ≈ €80-110 / night
    • Hostel ≈ €20-40 / night

Additional Estimated Expenses

The ISA program cost includes items such as tuition and fees, housing, insurance, and more. Please keep in mind each student and program is different, so are the expenses. To view what is included in your program price, please visit the "What's Included" section of the ISA Rome program page.

The "Additional Estimated Expenses" sheet in the "Accepted Students" section of the ISA website has the following estimated expenses listed:

  • Airfare
  • Books & Supplies
  • Meals
  • Passport (new/renewal)
  • Personal Travel


Another way for students to receive discounts is through the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). The ISIC card is an internationally recognized student ID card that gives students thousands of discounts worldwide from travel to cinema, meals and more. To find out how to get an ISIC card, visit

To find details on discounts in Rome visit the Italian ISIC web page via Once there, search for discounts (sconti) by region(regione)= Lazio , city(localitá)= Roma and category (categoria).