3 Tips for Living with New Roommates During Your Time Abroad

May 12, 2020

The opportunity to study abroad is a pretty exciting prospect. But what happens when you actually get there and you meet your roommates for the first time? Since you likely won’t know your new cohabitants, who are probably from other parts of the world or the United States, it may take some time for all of you to adjust. Fortunately, there are several ways to make the experience a wonderful one and even use it as an opportunity to develop lasting friendships.

Here’s some advice on how to manage living with new roommates while you study in Italy.

Find Ways to Break the Ice When You First Meet

Chances are, you won’t know your new roommates at all. Therefore, when you first meet, take the opportunity to introduce yourself and get to know each other.


Some great ice-breaking methods you could try include sightseeing, cooking a meal together, or watching TV together. The time you spend in these situations could help make the transition to being roommates easier. As you explore Rome’s many beautiful sights and winding cobblestone streets, or discover a favorite new pizza place, you’ll get to learn a little more about your roommates and the interests you have in common. It takes guts and an open mind to live and study abroad, so you’re likely to meet many other adventurous people just like you during your time abroad!

Make Sure You Share Cleaning and Other Duties

Cleaning and other similar tasks can sometimes cause friction between roommates if proper communication and good habits aren’t in place. While you'll enjoy the luxury of a cleaner coming to your apartment once per week if you live in JCU housing, it’s still important that you and the fellow students you’re living with keep your quarters neat and tidy to avoid any friction over unwashed dishes or dirty floors.

You can do this by setting up a weekly schedule for who will be responsible for certain cleaning tasks, where duties are broken up between each of you. Be sure all of you are also communicating effectively. If you do feel like your roommates aren’t pulling their weight, try to gently bring it up early on. Calmly talking about a small problem can help to smooth over a situation, while waiting for a long time and letting frustrations bottle up could exacerbate problems and lead to a bigger confrontation down the road. Need help to start the conversation? Ask for support from your Resident Assistant.


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While You Study Abroad, Be Polite and Open-Minded!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when you live and study abroad in Rome is to be respectful of your roommates. This can apply to many different aspects of living with other people. Be polite when interacting with them, show them patience, respect their boundaries, and be quiet when your roommates might be studying or sleeping. Lastly, do your best to understand—and even celebrate!—cultural differences between you. Not only can this help cultivate a healthier living arrangement between you and your roommates, but it can teach you about other cultures, and pave the way to lasting friendships.

Do you want to study at an American liberal arts university in Italy?

Contact John Cabot University for more information!

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