Studying abroad can be incredibly daunting. You’re leaving behind everything you’re familiar with, friends, family, professors, and traveling to a brand new country with a brand new apartment and most importantly, brand new roommates that you’ve probably never met. But getting to know your new housemates is one of the easiest ways to create connections as soon as you arrive in your new home. Plus, these flourishing friendships will make adjusting to this study abroad experience a little easier because now you’ve got people by your side while you do it.
Some of the most difficult decisions throughout my first few weeks here in Florence, Italy have been deciding activities for my roommates and I to do to get to know each other better while not breaking the bank. Luckily, we have curated the perfect TOP 10 list of activities for roommates to do together in order to become more acquainted with one another, all below 10 euro!
1. Family Dinners
Each week, either myself or one of my three roommates will buy and cook dinner for our entire apartment. This gives us an opportunity to sit down together, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and debrief our week. It’s been so interesting to enjoy meals both originating in our host country and that are typical in each of our respective regions in the United States!
2. Kahoot Night
This classic game gets spiced up at roomie Kahoot night! Each roommate creates a quiz filled with fun facts about themselves, and the others must compete to see who knows who the best. This is a great way to get to know your new housemates on a deeper level amidst a little bit of friendly competition.
3. Margaritas at L’Margaritaio
This hidden gem of Florence boasts the cheapest happy hour we’ve found thus far, with cocktails, margaritas, and daiquiris all for only 4.50 euro. Grab your roommates and head over to this Mexican-themed basement bar to chat over a platter of nachos and candy-colored frozen margs.
4. Free SAI Classes or Trips
SAI hosts a TON of free classes like leather making, bookmaking, cooking, pizza making, and wine tasting each week. PLUS they offer completely free trips to small towns located around Florence on the weekends like Bologna, Perugia, and Prato. Take advantage of these offerings by visiting the SAI office after their weekly newsletter comes out on Wednesdays and signing up for some activities with your new roommates!
5. YouTube Workout Classes
Keeping up a workout regime can be tough in new cities before you know your way around. Luckily, YouTube makes it easy to convert your gym workouts into at home workouts. Try out some new routines with your roommates, or rotate each housemate’s favorite fitness influencers to get to know one another’s fitness faves even better!
6. Visit Museums Around Florence
Florence boasts many world-renowned museums, including the Uffizi Art Museum. A great deal of these historical sites have discounts or are even free for students studying in the EU. Gather up your roommates and discover the history of Florence together!
7. Take a Walk Down the Arno River
The Arno is a hugely important part of the Florence landscape, with many walking and driving bridges spread out across its path. Explore the vendors and shops spread across the river’s edge and catch a glimpse of the beautiful Florentine sunset atop the Ponte Vecchio with your new housemates.
Aperitivo is the Italian tradition of appetizers and a drink before eating a full dinner. Many restaurants around Florence host aperitivo for less than 10 euro, so grab your roomies and go explore the colorful food scene in Florence!
9. Free Food Crawl
If you’re on the hunt for more food on a budget, keep an eye out for free food crawls hosted around the city all semester long! Some of our favorites were hosted by SmartTrips and Bus2Alps, but there is a myriad of options for everyone. Make sure to grab a spot on the roster for you and your housemates and enjoy a night filled with traditional and non-traditional Italian food favorites.
10. Visit the Market for fresh fruit
Finally, you and your roommates MUST visit the local markets scattered around Florence for the freshest fruit and vegetable selections. We are convinced that the fruit here is actually candy because of how shiny and perfect each berry is. Take a walk with your roommates to discover the hidden food secrets of Mercato Centrale and Mercato Sant’ambrogio and maybe pick up a few fresh ingredients for your fam dinners while you’re there!
Maria is a Spring 2022 Florence student from Belmont University.