Thursday, August 15, 2013

Student life: Porticoes, patios and a collection of keys

SAIS Europe students live in apartments spread out around Bologna. Many take advantage of our consultant, Salvatore, who has placed generations of SAIS students in flats around the medieval city. Last year we published a post with a video of an apartment hunt. This year, MA candidate Samuel Verkhovsky writes about how he found his flat and offers a tip for anyone joining Salvatore on one of his whirlwind tours.

I joined Salvatore and seven other students on the first housing tour of the year.
The impressive collection

We signed up on a piece of paper posted on the front door of the second-floor housing office. Then we watched Salvatore carefully select keys from his impressive collection. He took about 30 sets of keys and put them on a large ring, and we loaded up into his van.

I strongly advise taking a pen and paper and taking notes of what you see along the way. Salvatore showed us almost 30 different places, all within the old city walls, with entrances under porticoes and old-style glass elevators that fit five people very snugly. We climbed lots of stairs.

We saw 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-, 4-, 5- and even a 6-bedroom apartment. The more bedrooms, the more bathrooms per apartment. There were apartments with some stunning views of the city, with patios and verandas. There were apartments with very unique internal features, very homey, cool apartments with a great feel. Most of the apartments we saw came equipped with all the furnishings one would need in an apartment. I can’t speak for all the units, but mine came with appliances, dishes, utensils, towels and sheets. It also seems that the apartments come with their own clothes washing machine; I’m not sure about the drier though.

Salvatore leads students on the apartment hunt.

When looking at apartments, it is advisable that you write down memorable details about each place beyond simply the room/bathroom configuration and price. I say this because you will see so many places and you will like several, and you will be asking yourself and others on your tour, “Which apartment had the cool couch? Was that three-bedroom the one with the spiral staircase? What did the desks look like in the apartment on via Santo Stefano?”  When you see places you like, make note of the kitchen, the windows and the desk space, and ask yourself: "Are the rooms lit well enough by natural light?"

"Which apartment had the cool couch?"

Half way into our tour, Salvatore bought us all bottles of water, which was very nice. After the tour, we consulted our notes and exchanged comments about which places we liked. We returned to Salvatore’s office, and he called us each one by one, in the order of our names on the signup sheet, and asked us what we wanted.

The jackpot
Salvatore has flats for everyone, and apartment hunters can rest assured they will be set up properly.

Happy apartment hunting!

Samuel Verkhovsky (BC14)

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