We lucked out. Truly. When Michael got accepted to his program I immediately started panicking, "How in the world do I find an apartment!?!" Our first thought was to do what we did when we moved to DC for the summer: contact the local ward.
(For those unfamiliar, a ward is a group of LDS church members, organized geographically, who worship together, and care for and teach one another).
We looked up the local ward leadership and wrote an email to the bishop of the Bologna Ward. He responded right away and said they knew of a few places. This is one of the greatest parts of LDS Church membership: they're every where and you have an instant "in" with the locals.
We also have a great resource through Johns Hopkins who assists students in finding housing for the duration of the school year. He has maintained relationships with landlords over the years and knows of several apartments available. We also sent him a message. We feel really lucky to have such great resources at our disposal for finding housing.
When we arrive in Bologna, we'll stay in a hotel for the first few days we're over there while we look at some apartments and then decide on one that's right for us. We're looking at apartments that are furnished because of the limited duration of our stay.
It is a little nerve-wracking to me to think that we're going to pack up all of our things, fly across the ocean and move away from everything familiar without even knowing where exactly we're going to live. But that's part of the adventure, right?
Once we're all settled in, our primary mode of transportation will be bikes. We both have commuter bikes (Mikey got me a new one while we were in California) that we'll be checking and The Lou will tag along in a seat of some sort (we have yet to work out exactly what we want to purchase but we're thinking the baby seat by Topeak even though it's really ugly. . . Other suggestions?) We won't be bringing a car or renting or purchasing one there. We will, however, use public transportation as we need to. From what I understand, Bologna has a great public transit system. When we travel, we'll take trains (or maybe planes) to get to places further away. (I can't wait to take a train again!!)
Other moving abroad posts: