I studied abroad at Politecnico di Milano as part of my Bachelor in Architectural Design and I can honestly say it has been the greatest experience of my life, to date. Experiencing a culture that contrasts so greatly from Australia is both challenging and rewarding. Milan is not only the home of extremely stylish, well kept and affluent Italians, but also the home of the Italian fashion victims, recognised by head to toe (fake) Gucci, Matching tracksuit sets and orange tanned skin all year round.

I went on exchange with my friend, George, and we both decided that living in an apartment would be ideal, so we could experience living like real Milanese people. We happened to find an apartment online, ten minutes from uni in beautiful old building in Citta Studi.

The courses at Politecnico are relatively interesting and due to the fact that subjects often only take up 4 credits out of the required 30, there is great potential to try some appealing new electives.
Although I didn't find that workload particularly strenuous, I did find that the Italian means of organising are quite different to that of UQ. Don't expect a course profile. Or to know what you are being assessed on. This is all part of the cultural experience.

Italians are typically very spontaneous, and being someone that likes to have things organised, I can say that embracing this trait can be very rewarding. There were countless times we found 15 Euro flights to visit a place in the middle of the week and we just went. Impromptu trips like these are among that I will miss the most.

Also, forget about Mario. If you embark on an exchange in Italy you are guaranteed to meet a least one person named Matteo. Guaranteed.

1. When travelling, websites like trenitalia.it, ryanair.com, easyjet.com and airbnb.com are your friends. Travel as much as you can afford!

2. If you are interested in learning Italian, Politecnico offer a free course. Not only will it teach you some Italian, you will also meet loads of exchange students from all over the globe.

3. Try to get yourself out of bed around 8 on Mondays (near uni) or on Sundays (Navigli) to buy fresh vegetables at the markets. Not only does your food taste loads better, but going to Italian markets and hearing them passionately advocating for their vegetables is an experience in itself.

4. Pasta dishes are always listed as first course but don't be fooled, their servings are generous.

5. I know everyone says this, and it's so easy not to heed it, but seriously, PACK LIGHTLY. Posting stuff home is a nightmare.

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