Pathway program: studying in Italy has never been easier!

Have you ever heard of pathway programs? A pathway program is specifically designed for foreign students willing to enroll in a university abroad.


Choosing the right pathway program is the first, fundamental step for pursuing a successful career abroad. In some countries, a pathway program is often called foundation program or foundation year, yet the three refer to the same kind of course. In Italy, there are specific requirements for foreign students who wish to enroll in an Italian university. For example, students with less than 12 years of education cannot apply to an Italian university. Unless they successfully complete a pathway program. Here are some guidelines to look at in order to find the best pathway program in Italy.


Pathway program: is Italy the right choice?



First of all, you need to deeply understand what you’re signing up for with a pathway program in Italy. Are you sure you wish to move to Italy, the country of la dolce vita (i.e. the sweet life)? A country full of culture, art and artists, that claims to have the best cuisine of the entire world? Are you sure you’re ready to learn Italian, the most melodic of all languages, and pick some irresistible new habits? Will you bear moving to a place where the weather is sunny and mild, and people have a fascinating, innate sense of style?


Yes, we thought so.

In fact, Italy is definitely a great destination to study abroad, and an excellent place to enhance your academic career.

Not only the university system is advanced, wide and varied, but also the quality level of academic offering is impressive.

As many other countries, in Italy one can find big metropolis, medium-sized towns as well as picturesque villages. It will be up to you to choose the destination that best fits your style. If, for example, you’re not fond of big cities, you might prefer to opt for a relatively smaller one. In this way, you will have more chances to be part of the everyday life of your hosting community.

What should I study?

Well, Italian, of course! But not only. A pathway program aims at preparing students for university in Italy, with a particular focus in a specific area of studies.

Most importantly, you should look for a pathway program that can provide you with a solid, professional Italian language course. Without this, your chances to build a successful academic career in Italy will shrink. Each pathway program offers a selection of courses for a specific field of studies, like humanities or sciences. For example, the Foundation Year in Art and Design by Syracuse Academy and MADE is the ideal combination of Italian classes and design courses to prepare you for a bright career in arts and design in Italy.

In any case, choose a pathway program that focuses on the specific lexicon you will need for your chosen field of studies.

How do I enroll in an Italian University after the pathway program?

The majority of institutions offering pathway programs allow you to directly enroll in their degree programs, without any additional entry exams.

However, keep in mind that the aim of your pathway program is also to provide you with the opportunity to spend time exploring, deciding on your final destination. During your year in Italy you will have the chance to enquire about other universities in the country, and ultimately decide where to apply.

Be aware that every university might have specific admission requirements, in addition to the completion of the pathway program. For this reason, a little bit of advanced research won’t hurt. To put it simply, a pathway program in humanities is not exactly the perfect choice if you wish to pursue a career in engineering!

Make sure your choice is consistent with the expectations you are setting for your future.

How much will the pathway program cost?

Compared to the U.S. or the U.K., higher education in Italy is generally more affordable and less expensive. Besides a few private universities, which have higher tuition fees, the majority of Italian public universities offers great value for (not-a-lot-of) money. Same applies for the pathway programs in Italy. Very often, a pathway program plus a bachelor degree in Italy (4 years in total) will cost a student less than just 3 years in their own country.


However, it is important for you to do your math in advance, considering your overall time abroad. In addition to the tuition fees, there are several other costs related to studying abroad. Before jumping to any conclusions and choose one pathway program, draft a list of all costs connected to each option, and then assess them. For example, include the prospective prices for room and board, travels, the overall cost of living in the city and so on. Then, consider also the average price for a meal in a restaurant and for a monthly subscription at the gym. Last, add the tuition fee of the pathway program and the subsequent degree you are choosing. This is the only way to make an informed, prepared decision. 

Choosing the right pathway program is crucial, so the choice should be taken seriously.

The institution should be professional and reliable, able to provide you with clear information and efficient guidance. Their faculty and instructors should be competent and qualified. 

Look for an institution that is also able to provide post-program assistance, in case you decide to enroll in a different institution. In that case, a little bit of help with the papers will come in handy. 

Always keep in mind that learning Italian will also unlock a series of tremendous skills you should not underestimate. The achievement of an Italian language certificate, for instance, which will make a great impression on your resume. Or the possibility to enroll in an Italian-taught degree and to apply for an internship or a job in Italy. 

Not bad, uh?

If you’re not sure that a pathway program would fit you, consider a gap year. An opportunity to take a break from your everyday life while adding value to your personal experience and your resumé.