As a 2nd year student of architecture I decided that an exchange to Europe would be a great way to see, study and experience a different style of architecture. I studied at Politecnico di Milano, where every year there are more and more courses taught in English, and from my base in Milan I travelled Europe extensively. The university is very relaxed and it was very difficult to adjust and figure out their system, but towards the end of the semester it became more and more easy. The best part about Milan (apart from the fashion, food and people watching) is the ability to travel extensively, easily. Almost every weekend I visited a new city and often a new country.

Italians are outgoing and friendly and the university has countless exchange students from all across the world, thus making friends was easy. I met people from all over the world who all had such different, interesting life stories. Prior to coming to Italy I studied only 6 months worth of Italian, but being surrounded by such a rich culture enabled me to significantly learn the language. I lived off campus, with a friend in an apartment we find shortly after arriving in Milan. Although rent in Milan is very high, it is something I easily budgeted for. Overall, travel was my greatest expense, but this was purely because I travelled so much; one could easily live in Milan at a similar cost to living in Brisbane.

My top 5 tips for living in Italy and travel are:
1- Italians are very relaxed; lunch breaks are long and everything closes both over lunch and on Sundays (print things that are due on Monday on Saturdays!), accept this reality!
2- Travel as much as you can! Travel in Europe is so easy with the train system and cheap airlines, embrace this and travel as extensively as possible before, during and after your exchange.
3- For the shopaholics; wait for the sales! You will get everything at massively reduced prices.
4- Join clubs like ‘ESN’ and talk to as many people as possible, you will meet lots of interesting people and discover so much about the world!
5- “Aperitivo” is a cocktail and buffet for around 8-10Euros served in almost every bar and restaurant in the evening- it is an easy dinner and a great way to catch-up with people!

 

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