Myself during a site visit
Despite the financial crisis that currently sits on Italy’s shoulders, Milan seems to be busy and bustling with everything from fashion to business and commerce, with an abundance of venues aimed at ‘leisure activities’. Students are active and focused on turning the crisis around, whilst larger businesses still thrive and give Milan the facade of a powerful modern European city.
The Politecnico has been a bit slow to get the ball rolling but a month in to semester and things seem to be picking up. The way the Italians teach architecture, landscape, building and design is very different to the way we are taught at UTS. Classes are slow and ‘deep’ as they say, meaning that topics are dense in history and traditional in the way they are taught. Plenty of theorising and philosophising and very little practical application. This has taken some times to get used to though I am enjoying the relaxed attitude of students and teachers. One on one time with tutors is highly valuable as typically only three tutors divide a class of 40 or 50 students.
The highlight of the exchange so far has been the endless possibility to travel to neighbouring countries all in one weekend. Some friends and I drove to Switzerland through the alps and back down through Northern Italy over three days. It’s wonderful to escape the busy, grey city and breathe fresh air at the click of a finger. Car rental is cheap, roads are great and accommodation is readily available. I plan on travelling a lot more over this exchange in order to gain a wider understanding of ways the Europeans design and build.
Overall we (the two other students from UTS here and myself) have been tremendously lucky with the weather and have been enjoying weekends in Milan at the park doing drawings and homework, with a spot of badminton ever now and again and some prosecco to quench our thirst.
Fin playing badminton in Parco Sempione
View from apartment in Florence on the weekend
Fin and Rose in front of the glacier in St Moritz
Mountain sunset driving through Italian Alps