Bachelor of Engineering/Commerce
Bachelor of Engineering/Commerce

The chance to study abroad is a rare privilege and I would encourage anyone considering it; this is not something to be missed. After 7 months overseas, a new language, an international network of friends, my exchange experience was simply awesome.

Accommodation
Arriving in Milan without having pre-organised accommodation can be difficult. I was lucky and managed to find an apartment within a few days through a free website called easystansa. It is important to be proactive and try and contact the agents directly to organise a viewing. If you intend to organise accommodation before you arrive then I would advise you ensure it is legit. If you wish to stay in a residence, you need apply and submit a deposit as soon as the applications open.

The apartment I found consisted of 7 roommates, with 2 other exchange students from Mexico and Germany, as well as 3 Italians and a Mexican master’s student. This worked out great in the end as I was able to both practise my Italian and also be around other exchange students. The rent was 600 euros per month. Not cheap but not overly expensive considering it was situated next to the university (which I would highly recommend).

Language
One of the principal reasons behind my decision to study abroad in Italy was the chance to learn a language. Thus, I enrolled in both the Italian language crash course and Follow up course with the former taking place the week before university and the latter for the following 8 weeks. Even if you have no real desire to learn the language I would highly recommend taking the initial crash course as it is a great way to meet other students. In Milan, it certainly is not necessary to know Italian, however it is beneficial and there are times you will wish you had known enough to realise that nutella bianca is actually white chocolate nutella, you’re welcome.

After completing both courses I found I was at a level where I could speak basic sentences and use past tense. Understanding was more difficult, and with my housemates speaking English the majority of the time, it was difficult to become immersed in the language which really is vitally important for learning.

I was fortunate enough to have met some Italians from Puglia (the heel of Italy) during the graduation of my roommate. After my finals, I was invited to travel to the region and stay with a family for 2 weeks in a small Italian town called Conversano. The area is famous for its beaches, wine and food produce and exhibits some of the most beautiful and popular coastlines in Italy. Here I was able to experience the true Italian way of life. The townsfolk spoke very little English and thus I spoke solely Italian over the course of my stay. Suffice to say my Italian improved more in 2 weeks than in 2 months in Milan. If this was not enough, the family owned a pub/pizzeria where I was privy to fresh home-made pizza every day and european beers on tap. Furthermore, family lunch everyday usually consisted of a delicious home-made pasta dish in addition to a large assortment of meats, vegetables and of course local wine. There is no such thing as a light lunch in Italy.

Milan
The Exchange Student Network in Milan is very well run, with numerous events organised throughout the week as well as weekend bus trips spread out during semester. The Erasmus network organises cheap drink deals at clubs and international students are able to skip the line most days of the week. The weekend trips to various cities are an excellent way to travel to nearby destinations (i.e. Tuscany, Verona, Lake Como etc.) with other students and generally the feedback is excellent. I was even able to attend a day trip to Oktoberfest!

Travel during the semester can be more difficult due to fluctuating flight prices and university requirements. Milan’s central location within Europe provides the perfect excuse to make the most of your weekends and you are spoilt for choice. I discovered a special deal with ALITALIA whereby I was able to get 49 euro trips all over Italy and some destinations with Europe as an “under 26”. I assume this deal is ongoing so be sure to check It out in the ‘young offers’ section.

Academics
As a university, Bocconi has an excellent reputation within Italy and Europe. The campus buildings are modern and well maintained. There is also a new gym complex with discounts for exchange students. I paid around 100 euros for 6 months which ended up as half the price of a regular student. The campus itself is in no way similar to UQ in that there are no open areas but rather 5 or 6 buildings close together, 2 of which are used for classes. There are a number of societies and sports groups available although these are not extremely popular.

Classes at Bocconi differ greatly in both the level of difficulty and requirements. My subjects were some of the more difficult ones available and the content was challenging at times:
Intro to Financial Markets and Institutions
Corporate Valuation
Venture and Development Capital
Introduction to options and futures
Equity and Portfolio Management

Things you need soon after arrival:
Tax Code (Code fisicale) – Annoying and best to do early
Permit of Stay – Also annoying but it is apparently necessary. I was never required to produce it.
Public Transport Student Card – If you will be frequently using public transport then this can be useful. Otherwise its 1.5 euros for 1.5 hours for use of metro and trams.

Interesting Facts
Pedestrian crossings are death traps which Italian drivers use to exert fear and indecision upon foreigners.
Coffee is usually drunk as espressos at the bar.
Wine can be bought cheaper than water at the supermarket.
Cookies and milk is a breakfast staple.

In summation, Milan is a great city and in a convenient location for travel within Europe. Bocconi University has an excellent student exchange program and you will never be bored. Simply put, apply yourself, go on exchange and you’re gonna have a good time.

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