Bachelor of Architectural Design
Bachelor of Architectural Design

I went on exchange to the Politecnico di Milano in first semester of third year of my Bachelor of Architectural Design. While on exchange I studied three subjects: a historical building preservation studio, a technology studio, and history of contemporary architecture. I found the studios very different in both content and structure to UQ but they definitely offered a new perspective on my degree. The workload was probably more than I expected given previous testimonials, and more than I was used to at UQ. The uni recently introduced mandatory attendance for some subjects, with a minimum number of attendance hours, the sign-in sign-out system they used for studio time was something I was not used to. Despite this I found that I leant far more than I thought I would on exchange.

There were a surprising number of Australian students from other universities at the Politecnico but I was also fortunate enough to meet people from many other countries around the world, including a number of Italian students undertaking their degree in English. The Italian lessons offered for free at Poli were very fast paced and useful, although I found the three lessons a week difficult to keep up towards the end of semester.

I lived off campus near the university with two other UQ students on exchange in an apartment roughly halfway between uni and the city centre, which allowed us to be within walking distance of both. I would recommend living off campus although I knew some people living with other Italian or exchange students off campus in apartments found on facebook and I think that would also be a good option, especially if you were looking to improve your Italian. Cost of living in Milan is on the whole a lot cheaper than Brisbane in terms of groceries/going out/public transport, but rent was definitely more expensive.

Milan is definitely a great central base to explore Europe from with most cities close enough for weekend trips, which we did most weekends at the beginning of semester. Also take advantage of cheap train fares to places closer to Milan such as Lake Como and Genoa. Milan as a place to live I also really enjoyed, it was a nice change to live somewhere where most things were walking distance or a short metro ride. The bars are good, and drinks are generally better value especially at aperitivo time, from six til nine in most bars where a buffet is included in the drink price. The Navigli (canal) area is one of the biggest areas for student nightlife. Milan also has some great clubs but entry is generally a bit pricey and they are often located a little out of the centre.

I would definitely recommend going on exchange to Milan to any potential students, it was a wonderful experience that allowed me to try new things and experience a fantastic culture first hand.

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