I lived in Florence for 10 months in Erasmus. The scholarships that EU gives do help, but usually they aren’t even enough to pay the rent so unfortunately to go in Erasmus isn’t still reachable for everyone. I was getting 306€ per month. The scholarship value is based on your destination country depending on the average cost of living. I chose a city which was too expensive for the money EU was giving me…
Flights: I bought a one way ticket to Milan because I didn’t know at the time exactly when my Christmas holidays were. Anyway traveling inside Europe is never very expensive, so this is the part you have to worry less. I was planning to come back to Portugal just for Christmas, but then I was forced to come in April too, due to family health issues and even buying the ticket on the day before the flight I just payed 150€. In 2014 started the connection between Lisbon and Pisa with Ryanair, which was a better alternative than Milan. Florence airport wasn’t worth it because didn’t have direct flights. Bologna airport was also a good way, though I never used it.
Rent: I was studying architecture at Universitá degli Studi di Firenze, which is in Santo Ambroggio, in the city center, so I wanted to rent a house somewhere near it. I was in Florence with Maria João but the idea was that each of us would find her own bedroom, which didn’t happen at the end because we found a house with two bedrooms which we loved and decided that we were only going to speak italian outside of the house. We were living in Via Fra Giovanni Angelico 5, 800 meters away from the university, and actually a “finding”, because most of the rents were worse or the houses were horrible. We were paying 800€ for the whole house (two bedrooms, one “adapted” living room, one bathroom and the kitchen), which means 400€ per person, all the expenses included. We had a Coop supermarket 700m away from the house, where we were buying most of the products and a Lidl 1,5km away, where we would go sometimes, specially when we wanted lasagna (we had bicycles to move around).
It was in that year that I started doing my excel sheets with all my expenses. I was dividing them by transportation (which included all the buses and trains and the bicycle itself), supermarkets, restaurants, travels (mostly the ones organized by Erasmus groups and some nights out in hostels like when we went to Cinque Terre), education expenses (models, drawing materials, plotted stuff – if you don’t study architecture or arts don’t worry about this one neither), culture (museums, books), clothes and “others” (from souvenirs, cellphone plan, etc…). In total, after arriving to Italy and not considering my trips to Belgium and to Paris, nor the time I was in Portugal on holidays, I spent 9008,2€.
Sure that you can have a very different lifestyle. I was going to all the trips the Erasmus Groups would suggest because I wanted to visit the maximum possible (you can check here where I went). I was going out at night much often than in Portugal because I had a group of friends who enjoyed going out. And then there are expense impossible to control, like the expenses in education or the cellphone plan. And it is true I had some “luxury” expenses like skiing in the Alps or going twice to Venice to the Biennale of Art and Architecture. Look at this just like an indication!
In summary, I was expending per month:
- Rent: ~400€ for a single room
- Transports: ~45€
- Supermarket: ~120€
- Restaurants: ~80€ (here it depends on you)
- Education: ~50€ (if you don’t study architecture or arts it should be much less)
- Travels: ~120€ (if you are living abroad you have to enjoy!)
- Culture: ~25€
- Clothes: ~10€ (I’m not the best example, I don’t really car about clothes, I just buy what I really need!)
- Others (including cellphone plan, souvenirs, pharmacy): ~50€
Total per month: ~900€ + flights
Total per day: ~ 30€, which in fact can be cheaper if you go somewhere else, but it won’t be the same!