Bocconi’s new guests

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The new academic year has started, and with it, new faces have appeared on campus. Exchange students from universities all over the world have chosen Milan, and more specifically Bocconi, as their new home for the next few months. To get a better sense of how the experience of doing an exchange at our university looks like, we reached out to two exchange students and talked about what they like, dislike, and what simply surprises them about Bocconi, Milan, or Italy in general. 

Teodora (University of Warwick) 

Why did you choose Bocconi University for your exchange?  

“I really wanted to do an exchange semester at Bocconi because I always regretted not applying here for my bachelor’s degree. I was curious about what makes Bocconi so prestigious and what life as a student in Milan entailed.” 

Have you experienced any sort of cultural shock since you arrived in Italy? Has anything been particularly hard to adjust to?   

“Coming to a country and not knowing a word of the language is very hard. I’ve learned that you should try to learn Italian if you want to adapt and get as immersed in the culture as possible. It definitely enhances the experience and makes everything simpler, including finding your way around the city and getting accommodation. It may seem challenging at first, but it’s crucial that you realize that you are the one who is visiting their country, therefore you should adapt to it rather than expect it to be the other way around.” 

You just moved from a small university town to a big city. How is the experience of studying in Milan different from that at Warwick?  

“Very different. I’m still getting used to the change from studying on a small campus to one in a huge city. There isn’t the same sense of “tight circle” as in a tiny university town in the UK, even though here most students live close to the Bocconi campus. Meeting and connecting with others seems a little more difficult right now, but I believe it takes a bit of time. The best part of studying in a big city is, I believe, the fact that there is a variety of options. In Milan, you can find and experience something different every day, in contrast to my little city in the UK where we typically visit the same 3–4 restaurants and bars.” 

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What could Bocconi do to better accommodate exchange students and improve their overall experience?   

“Perhaps plan a welcome event for all exchange students and an orientation session with all the relevant details at the start of the semester? Even though there are numerous online Q&A sessions before leaving for the exchange, speaking with the student mobility team in person and getting the chance to ask all your questions would have a different effect. This could be a chance to encourage exchange students to interact with one another.” 

Best food you’ve had since you got here?  

 “Gelato! Gelateria La Romana is the best place ever!” 

One place in Italy you want to travel to before the end of your exchange semester?  

“Sardinia, people say it’s incredible!” 

Carla & Cristofe (Sciences Po) 

Why did you choose Bocconi University for your exchange? 

Carla: “I chose Bocconi University because I wanted to stay in Europe for my exchange, I wanted to go to an excellent school of economics, and I wanted to improve my Italian.” 

Cristofe: “I chose Bocconi because I wanted to have a completely different experience during my bachelor from what I was doing at my home university (politics and law), so going to a business / finance school was a good decision. In addition, courses like management of fashion companies or marketing communication really helped me make this choice, as I want to pursue a master’s degree in New Luxury Marketing and Art de Vivre.” 

What were your expectations about the university before coming here? Have they been met?  

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Cristofe: “I thought there would be lots of societies addressing arts and culture in general, or even sports. They are indeed present but not in the way I expected. Sports are almost all competition-based and arts societies are not seen as societies addressing professional / academic fields.” 

How does the academic experience at Bocconi differ from the one at your university?  

Clara: “My home university (Sciences Po) has a more research-oriented teaching. There, I must write papers, essays, presentations almost every week. Here, I feel like teaching is more similar to high school, with teachers vertically transmitting knowledge to students.” 

What are your priorities for these following months of exchange? (Travelling, studying, meeting new people)?  

Cristofe:” My goals for the next months are to learn as much as possible so that I can be ready for my Masters, but also visit Italy and the other countries nearby!” 

Clara: “I really want to meet new people and make long lasting friendships. I’m staying here for 2 semesters, and I chose some challenging classes for the first one, so I’ll be quite focused on studying at the beginning, but then I’d love to take more time to travel!” 

What could Bocconi do to better accommodate exchange students and improve their overall experience?   

Cristofe: “Have daytime/ice breaker/mixing nationalities activities. Aside from that though, Bocconi has done a lot for me personally in terms of academics and course choosing, so I won’t complain.” 

Favorite place in Milan? 

Clara: “The park of Castello Sforzesco” 

One class you really enjoy attending? 

Clara: “Macroeconomics and Economic Policy!” 

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Author profile

I am a 19-year-old born and raised in Romania, currently studying Economic and Social Sciences. My fields of interest include economic and public policy, human rights, and obviously journalism. In my free time, I love playing piano, learning languages, and finding places that serve good coffee wherever I go.

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