Italy – An Experience of a Lifetime
Life is full of decisions. Sometimes we make good decisions and sometimes we make bad decisions… Luckily, deciding to go on exchange was definitely the best decision I have made in a long time – perhaps ever. I have had so many great experiences, and met so made great people. I arrived in Europe about six weeks ago, and have been in Milan for the past 3 weeks.
The great thing about going to Europe is that there are so many different countries with so many different cultures in such close proximity to each other. I flew into Budapest (Hungary) and then made my way to Vienna (Austria), Paris (France) and then down through France visiting cities and towns such as Toulouse, Avignon, Nimes, Nice and Carcassonne. I then quickly stopped in Monaco before making my way to Milan. It was so great being immersed in the different cultures, learning about the history of each country and being able to travel independently for such a long time.
Perhaps one of the best thing that has made my transition into this exchange really easy is that I made good friends very quickly. My university, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, has a Facebook group for all the exchange students each semester. A bunch of exchange students arrived early in Milan (like me) to do the pre-session intensive Italian course (which I highly recommend doing). So some people posted in the group when they arrived in Milan to see if they could meet other new exchange students. I saw one of the posts and said that I was happy to meet. So we met the day after I arrived in Milan and the group of us have seen each other literally every day since. It had been really amazing.
The group of us took a trip up to Lake Como. Lake Como is perhaps one of the most picturesque places I have every seen, it is a lake surrounded by mountains. It was absolutely superb. You can’t take a bad photo there because everything in the frame looks so beautiful and so amazing. There we visited a couple of villas, including one where they filmed Star Wars Episode II and James Bond – Casino Royale. That’s really one of the great things about exchange – that you get to go to such cool places with awesome people. It was really fun. We are currently planning a weekend trip to Florence!
The university itself is pretty good. I don’t really have that much to say about it because classes haven’t officially started yet (just the optional pre-session intensive Italian course). But the university campus is really nice, and the subjects I have chosen seem really fun. At UTS I am studying Information Technology, but I am using my electives for my exchange subjects, so I could choose whatever I wanted. I ended up choosing two Italian language courses, drama and Italian cooking as my four subjects. I have heard the cooking course is really fun!
The social life is really good in Milan, there are some cool clubs and bars. The happy hour in Milan, normally from about 7-9pm, is known as Aperitivo. It involves buying one drink and then getting access to a small buffet of things such as pasta, breads, pizza and salads. It has made up a lot of my dinners while here in Milan. The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a nonprofit organisation for helping exchange students get the best experience they can while abroad. The ESN often run events at these bars and clubs which is great. They also run Karaoke every week or two which is really fun!
If you are thinking of going on exchange, I highly recommend it. You will have so many great experiences! The only bad thing about the exchange is the fact that it will eventually end!
Bachelor of Information Technology
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore