Rome has a long history of competitive success. According to legend, the city was founded when Romulus killed his brother Remus and dubbed himself King of Rome. The Romans would eventually become the most dominant empire on earth and reign over the entire Mediterranean. What better place to start an international career than by completing internships in Rome? Ancient history breaths life through the streets of the Eternal City, and today Rome has once again become the central economic life vein of Italy making it an ideal location to intern abroad. All that plus the food is unbeatable.
Rome is the economic and political capital of Italy, so there are a wide variety of internships available to prospective international interns. Popular internships in Rome include finance, visual/performing arts, business, and fashion design. Internships in Rome are available in both English and Italian. Additionally many program providers will combine internships with either academic study or intensive Italian language courses to supplement your work experience. Regardless of your proficiency, learning at least some basic Italian will take you far and show business associates at your internship that you are making an effort.
As an intern abroad in Rome you will want to immerse yourself into the local way of life. The phrase “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” may be quite literally applied here to Italian business culture. Italians are generally animated and like to joke around, but underneath the overly dramatic demeanor they prize trust and loyalty as respectable qualities in a potential business partner. It is important when doing business in a foreign country to respect and assimilate to local customs. If you are patient and observative, this adaptive skill will be a great boost to your success while interning abroad in Rome and take you far in international work of any kind.
Life in Rome
Rome has continuously built upon itself for the past 3,000 years, making it the archetypical ancient city in today’s rapidly modernizing world. Walking the streets aimlessly you could easily stumble upon the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon all in one day. For many this sense of palpable history and architectural beauty makes the city a highly desirable place to live in or visit. For those who choose to intern abroad in Rome, ancient civilization becomes a part of everyday life. There are not many places in the world which you can say that about.
At times the resulting mass tourism can become overwhelming, especially in the summer months. Every year some 14 million tourists flock to the streets of Rome. The hustle and bustle comes with the territory, and eventually fades to normalcy. Yet beyond the famous attractions, day to day life takes on a fairly relaxed pace throughout the city, something for interns in Rome to look forward to. Shopkeepers come and go as they please, opening and closing hours are relative, and salesmanship takes on an entirely new dramatic flair. It is best to learn at least some basic Italian before starting an internship in Rome, so that you can communicate effectively with the local population and show overly aggressive vendors you are not a tourist.
Rome’s metro system is fairly cheap and the most convenient way of getting around the city when you get tired of walking to and from your internship placement. Taxis are also readily available, but are expensive and drivers will often try to rip you off. On this note beware of scams and tourist traps at most popular locations - soon enough these become easy to spot and side step. As you will come to see, life behind the scenes in Rome takes on an entirely new form from its popular front.
Salary & Costs
Due to Italian labor restrictions you will find that most internships in Rome are unpaid (interns aren’t supposed to get paid anyway, remember?). However some placements do include a stipend or added perks such as housing, free meals, and bonuses. Your specific internship program provider will provide more details of the financial situation associated with your placement.
The booming tourism industry also makes the cost of living fairly high in Rome, but no more so than the other major European cities. If you stay away from the large attractions then you will be able to lead a comfortably thrifty lifestyle. There are a lot of cheap bars and cafes, and the fairly expansive metro system is an inexpensive way to travel across the city. As with most major cities, it is cheaper to shop and dine away from the large tourist areas.
(For further information on available financial aid opportunities consult GoAbroad’s Scholarships Directory for programs abroad in Italy).
Accommodation & Visas
Private apartments can be expensive in Rome so it may be best to organize accommodation with student housing or a homestay through your internship in Rome. If wanting to live an independent lifestyle, then it will be generally cheaper to look for housing away from the city center.
If you are planning on staying longer than 90 days you will likely also need to apply for a temporary visa. Most programs help prospective interns with this process. Still it is best to get on the ball early as the Italian bureaucracy can be notoriously slow. For more information on general visa requirements consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to find an Italian embassy in your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Interning in Rome will bring you international work experience in a fun and fascinating city overflowing with cultural history. Whether you are interested in internships in business, education, or the arts you will find no shortage of opportunity in Italy’s thriving capital. Though tourism remains the most apparent industry, it will not take long to move past the gloss and discover a richly modern Rome behind the monuments. Rome has always been one of the world’s greatest cities, and remains an ideal location for internships abroad.