My name is Alex and I recently went on exchange to Bocconi University in Milan, Italy for first semester 2013. I undertook finance courses, which comprised of about 10-15 hours a week of class time. The subjects at bocconi enable you to be attending or unattending (not needed in lectures) which can be a blessing or a curse! Also most subjects only have a single assessment at the end of the semester, which enables you to travel alot throughout the university term. I found the lecturers great, and the subjects were well structured and were of a high quality of learning.

I personally found Milan to be a beautiful place to live, as it is situated in a fairly central part of Europe and the city itself becomes home quite rapidly. I lived in an apartment with five other girls, and I loved having my own space and being very close to uni, cafes, shops and gym. However if you are wanting to party every night and have the typical exchange experience then university accommodation is for you!

Milan is not exceptionally expensive, however you will find the closer your apartment is to the city the higher rent will be especially if you have private bathrooms and wifi etc however it is worth it to live walking distance from university. The closer you are to everything, the easier and more enjoyable your exchange is.

Overall I love Milan, and Italy in general. The people are friendly, the lifestyle is laid back and easy and the food and shopping is incredible. Make sure you get your fill of pizza, gelato and coffee as it won't be the same when you return home. Whilst in Milan, eat at as many aperitivo as you a can, especially Roialto and anywhere on little Navigli as it is cheap and you get to try many different flavours of Italian cuisine.

I recommend taking on an exchange, no matter how far along in your degree you are (this was my fifth year) or whether or not you think you are ready. The things you learn about yourself, your lifestyle and the perspectives you gain are invaluable to your personal development and it is the opportunity of a lifetime. I personally never considered exchange until the application deadline and applied on a whim and it was by far the best decision I have made in my life.

TOP FIVE TIPS

  • Try to speak italian, as people will be much friendlier if you are attempting their language than bluntly speaking English or admitting you speak no Italian.
  • Don’t be too hasty in booking trips in the first month on exchange; as all exchange students rush to book trips together and you may regret it three or four months down the road!
  • When booking your own accommodation, make sure you are maximum 30minutes walking from Duomo (the city centre), or you live near a metro stop (all stops can be seen on google maps)
  • Definitely do the introduction to italian course that is run by Bocconi, as well as the follow up course! You must book and pay for both of these before you get to Milan so be prepared.
  • SAY YES to everything that is offered! Whether it is friends going out, people traveling or the university offering day trips etc say yes and you will always take away something positive.
     

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