Ciao from Milano!
It has officially been 2 months since I first touched down in Milan and I can honestly say my experience thus far has been an absolute blast. Being my first time coming back to Europe since I was 10 years old, I was quite nervous but also excited for the many adventures I knew were to come.
Growing up with Italian grandparents, I always knew that I wanted to study abroad in Italy not only for the amazing food but also to practise my Italian and to experience the ‘Italian way of life’. Milan in itself is a very cosmopolitan city which has both historical and modern elements. It also maintains an excellent metro and tram system which makes it very easy to get around. While you still get the ‘big city’ vibe, finding your way around isn’t too difficult and you can also walk or bike to most places you want to go. You don’t really need to worry about not speaking much Italian as in most places you will be able to find someone who speaks English. However, Italians do really appreciate when you try to speak in the local language!
I am studying at Bocconi University this semester which is a highly regarded business school in Europe located to the south of the city centre of Milan. It attracts many local and international students from across the globe and I’ve already met many people of various nationalities including Americans, British, Brazilians, French, Spanish, Dutch as well as some local Italian students. Milan being the fashion capital of the world is definitely evident through the way many of the local students dress and is completely different to the casual and relaxed dress style of Australian universities.
I’m taking all my classes in English this semester and studying management units which have been particularly interesting including International Business, Management Consulting, Management of Fashion Companies and Digital Disruption and Entrepreneurship. There are two main buildings I have my classes in which are located a short 5 min walk from each other so moving around the campus has been pretty straightforward. In terms of the teaching style each subject has around 3 contact hours per week and the format is more lecture based with generally between 40-60 students in the class. I have noticed that the Italian university system places more emphasis on learning theoretical concepts and final exams are generally weighted more heavily between 60-70% of your final grade. You also have the option to take classes as an attending or non-attending student which means that if you are non-attending you don’t have the requirement to attend the classes and your final grade will be based off a 100% final general exam. However, if you are an attending student you will have either a group or individual assignment to work on during the semester and possibly a mid-term exam. I’m taking all my classes as an attending student this semester and only two of my classes have attendance requirements of 75% so this hasn’t been an issue for me so far.
Bocconi organises many welcome activities in the first couple of weeks of semester which are a great way to get to know the university and the city as well as meet many other fellow exchange students. Some of the welcome activities I took part in included guided tours of the campus and Milan city, a speed exchange as well as the Welcome Cocktail. I also undertook an intensive Italian crash course in the first 2 weeks of semester which is a great way to meet other exchange students and have decided to continue with the follow-up course during the semester. Bocconi is also a member of the Erasmus Student Network which is the largest international students association across Europe. They organise many social events during the semester as well as weekend trips throughout Italy which you can partake in.
Milan in itself is a fantastic and vibrant city and being one of the hubs of Italy, it is very easy to get cheap flights to many other destinations across Europe or you can travel via high speed train between many Italian cities. You also must go to an Italian aperitivo which many restaurants and bars will do each night where you pay between 10-15 euro and get one drink plus an unlimited buffet of Italian food. I highly recommend Maya in Navigli!
I recommend Bocconi University to anyone considering going on exchange and I can tell you, you will have an absolutely incredible experience. I am looking forward to what the next 4 months of my exchange and travels hold.
Bachelor of Business
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au