1. Eating in restaurants
Eating in restaurant can be expensive for a student budget, but not in Slovenia. All students, even Erasmus students are entitled to food subvention in most restaurants in university cities and other places as well. Food subvention equals 2,63€ and additional fee you have to pay varies from 0€ to 4,37€. Each month you receive 19-22 meals, where the amount depends on the number of working days. Each day you can use two meals with 4 hours break from 8AM to 8PM. The quality and quantity of food varies in the restaurants. It usually goes like this: the cheaper it is the less you get (or it is not very good).
Where to eat? It is best you ask your colleagues or if you are more adventurous just go out there and try everything we offer. 🙂
2. Cheaper transportation for students
Students have many benefits in Slovenia. One of them is also cheaper transportation. In Ljubljana you can get monthly bus card called Urbana for 20€, and use it all over the city all day long if you want. It is the easiest way and the cheapest way to get around the city. Walking is free of course but we all can be lazy sometimes, right? The only (un)fortunate thing is that it is hard to get bus after midnight and before 5AM, which means that you will have to party longer.
With Urbana you can also rent a bike. This rental service is called BicikeLj and with only 3€ per year you can use it freely every day for the first hour. You can also use weekly subscription that costs 1€. With 31 stations around the city and 300 bikes it is another way to get to know Ljubljana.
In Maribor and Koper, Portorož and other cities near Adriatic Sea everything is in walking distance. Get some cheap bike and you will be unstoppable.
3. Slovenia is really tiny
Since Slovenia is so small you just have to take some time and visit as many places as possible. Are you staying in cloudy Ljubljana? Take a bus or use car sharing and in one hour you can enjoy on the beaches of Slovenian coast. Top tourist attractions in Slovenia are Bled, known for its lake with small island in the middle with the chapel (very romantic), or Postojna with Postojna Cave which you will explore by electric cave train and also visit Predjama Castle. The story behind this castle is truly intriguing. In just one weekend you can go from Prekmurje in North East to climb on Triglav or ski/hike in Rogla to drink cviček (wine made of different varieties of grapes) in South, enjoy the beach and discover other amazing things about Slovenia. It is good that we are so small, right?
4. Situated in the heart of Europe
You already saw everything you wanted in Slovenia? Maybe you did, but there is still much more to see, but when you are constantly on the go, you just have to cross some borders. From Slovenia you can easily go to Croatia (you just have to go see some of their beaches), Hungary (Budapest is amazing), Austria (Vienna with their Christmas fairs), Italy (pizza and Venice). Although Slovenia does not have many low cost airlines, Trieste and Venice are very close and from there you can reach all Europe. Located almost in the centre of Europe really opens up your travel possibilities
5. Beautiful nature
Slovenia is known for its amazingly beautiful nature. In such a small country you truly have it all – mountains, lakes, rivers, fields, vineyards, waterfalls, sea, etc. It would be a shame if you would not take advantage of it and enjoy it. To just highlight few of Slovenian natural gems. River Soča is probably the most beautiful river in Europe if not in the world with its emerald clean water. Feeling adventurous? Rafting on Soča is a must. You might recognise some scenes from the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.Caves, not just Postojna Cave, we have hundreds of caves that are not so tourist-popular but still looking fabulous. I strongly recommend you to visit Logar Valley, the most beautiful Alpine glacial valley in Europe.
As you will probably be studying at universities of Ljubljana, Maribor or Primorska you won’t have any problem finding a place to spend your nights. Especially Ljubljana has amazing nightlife, more about it you can read in my article 10 bars and discos you shouldn’t miss in Ljubljana. During the year there are many huge student parties starting with Bruc in Ljubljana and Gremo na prvi rok in Maribor in October, following with Prekmurska gibanica in ŠTUK (the most known club in Maribor) in December. Every February or March (it depends on Easter) we have huge carnival party in Ljubljana. May is party month in Slovenia with huge all-month fest Majske igre in Ljubljana and Lampiončki in Maribor. Just remember there is no party going on in clubs before midnight. We have pre-parties that are happening at someone’s place, in the hall of your dorm or even in the parks. Drinking in public places is not prohibited in Slovenia.
7. Small groups in lectures
Although almost everyone who finished high school in Slovenia at least tries to study there is no crowd at most lectures. Some faculties offer amazing services for foreign students, such individual work, adapted exams and other duties, lectures in English. Not all faculties offer all lectures for Erasmus students in English but they will at least try to give you some knowledge out of the actual classroom through individual sessions and more seminar work. Most Slovenians understand and speak English or German and we all understand Croatian and Serbian.
8. Many activities
Being a student comes with many benefits such as discounts for cultural events, theatre, language and art courses, sports, etc. There is so much going on all the time that you will not even have time to be homesick for too long. Student organizations really try to offer many extracurricular activities to boost your confidence and also your resume. You can also attend lectures on other faculties and all seminars that are organized by University or Student Organization.
Erasmus students can stay in student dormitories or renting private apartments. In Ljubljana rents are slightly higher than in Maribor or Koper, but there are also more placements in dorms. If you are going to study in University of Primorska you will probably have to consider renting as there are not enough rooms in student dorms. Monthly rent in dormitories is from 60€ to 150€ with all costs covered, while renting private room are bit higher, especially in capital city. You can turn for help with finding right accommodation to your hosting faculty or student organizations. Student organization of University of Ljubljana (ŠOU) is also offering free legal counselling for students who have any legal problem.
10. Other stuff
Do not buy water as you will only be spending money for no good reason. Our tap water is completely safe to drink. In Ljubljana during summer you can also drink water from public drinking fountains.
If you get invited to some Slovenian family for lunch or something else take off your shoes and put on slippers. It is just Slovenian thing so do not over think it. Also do not put too much food on your plate at first as you will probably have to put on some more when you finish it. We can be a bit pushy when it comes to eating.
We drink. A lot