Bachelor of Commerce/Economics
Bachelor of Commerce/Economics

I decided to go on exchange to Bocconi on my penultimate year of Bachelor of Commerce and Economics, the main reason I chose Bocconi was because I wanted to do exchange in Italy and because I spoke to the Head of Economics and he highly recommended Bocconi. I didn’t have room for any electives in my program so I had to sit subjects that counted towards my majors. Since Bocconi is focused on Finance, Management and Economics, it wasn’t a problem to match the courses from UQ to the ones they offer.
In order to complete the 30 ECTS necessary to be a full time student, I had to sit 5 courses which was very scary at first but that was compensated by the fact that all you have to do is pass. The classes are conducted in small groups of around 20 – 30 people which I enjoyed because you get a more personal contact with the professors and there are no tutorials. But don’t let that worry you, since most professors do exercises in class and students can always ask questions during class. In my opinion, the level of difficulty of the assessments are lower than what I am used to at UQ and some courses only have one assessment, usually a 100% final.

I lived off campus very close to Bocconi with eight Italians, which helped improve my Italian however I had many problems with the landlord who refused to give all my bond money back, renting in Italy is different than renting in Australia as well as the way things work. For instance, Italy is VERY bureaucratic. If you don’t want to live on campus, I recommend joining “Housing Bocconi” and “International Students at Bocconi” facebook pages. But living on campus is definitely the easy and safe option.

Also, most Italians in Milan don’t speak English or speak very little, except for the staff at Bocconi. I highly recommend taking the Italian course offered by Bocconi, it is also the best way to meet everyone doing exchange and you must join the Exchange Student Association, for the first two weeks they organise events everyday including Saturday and Sunday and many trips throughout the semester.

One of the best things about living in Milan was aperitivo, it’s their happy hour, it’s usually from 6 – 9pm around 8 – 12 euro, where they have a buffet inside and as long as you order one cocktail, you can eat as much as you want. The best place for lunch is Mexicali which is right in front of Bocconi, their meals are delicious, big and inexpensive. Also, you must try the chocolate gelato next to the Duomo, Italian gelato in general particularly at Groom and Amorino does not compare to gelato here in Australia.

Take advantage of how easy and cheap you can travel, as you’ll find most exchange students don’t spend the weekend in Milan. Also, you must watch a futebol game at San Siro Stadium, the atmosphere does not compare to that in Australia and go to the top of the Duomo at sunset. Many students forget to get to know Milan, it has more to offer than it looks like, walk around the fashion quadrilateral, visit Sempione park, go inside the Sforzesco Castle, admire the arquitecture of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, have aperitivo in Brera, one of the few areas in Milan where there is no graffiti, and drink Dragon beer at La Fontanella in small Navigli.

Top 5 tips:
1)    Change your expectations. You are in a different country, people have different attitudes and speak Italian.
2)    Eat pizza, calzone, pasta and gelato. Don’t hold back, the food in Italy is delicious. Burn the calories on the dance floor of Old Fashion.
3)    Travel, the easiest thing to do is to find exchange students wanting to travel to the same places as you.
4)    If you are a boy and want to join the Bocconi gym, you are not allowed to wear a singlet in the gym.  (I have no idea why, it’s just the rule.)
5)    Anywhere you go, the price of a coffee if you have it standing or sitting down is different! And walk around with coins as you have to pay to use the ‘public’ toilets.

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