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I knew since freshman year that I wanted to study abroad in Italy. Bocconi University’s renowned business program in Milan turned out to be the best fit for me. So far I have been in Milan for a month and I am absolutely in love with its culture, food, and people.

Here are my experiences and takeaways from the following:

Housing: Bocconi University’s dorms are 30 minutes by tram from the campus and are in the outskirts of Milan. This is completely different from the 5-minute walk that I am used to at Babson College. Instead, I decided to find my own place. This was by far the most difficult and stressful experience. I thought finding an apartment would only take a few days, but it ended up being a month of living out of my suitcase and moving to seven different hotels and temporary apartments.  Although this was initially very costly and tiring, especially after lugging both of my large suitcases up stairs and around town, it made me extremely knowledgeable about the different areas in Milan. I would not have done anything differently, especially since I finally have an apartment with two other Bocconi exchange students. My apartment is a 10-minute walk from campus and conveniently located near the city center.

College: Currently I am taking Marketing Research, Sociology, Management of Supranational and International Organizations, Economic History, History of Economic Thought, and European Economics. Classes and exams are very different from Babson. Most classes only have a midterm and a final which makes up 100% of the final grade. Students have the option of attending or non-attending. Several professors teach one course which gets a bit confusing. Overall, Bocconi University reminds me a lot of Babson College. There is also a huge emphasis on entrepreneurship and business. However, with an average class size of 100, it is very difficult to get involved at times.

Food: My favorite part of studying abroad in Italy has to be the food. The food here is quite cheap and groceries are fresh & delicious. My typical breakfast consists of a cappuccino and chocolate croissant. For lunch, I would grab a hot panino filled with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, and tomato. Dinner is usually spaghetti al ragu, risotto alla milanese, or an entire pizza filled with olives, prosciutto, mozzarella, and tomatoes. Instead of having a few slices of pizza, it is common to eat an entire pizza at once with a fork and knife. Although this may not be considered the healthiest diet, the amount of walking I do every day in Milan definitely balances it out. The gelato is also quite amazing and addicting. A crepe with filled with strawberries and topped with nutella gelato is only 4 euros!

More takeaways from language, culture, cost, traveling, and packing will come in later blogs!