Isabella - Bocconi University

B Commerce/Economics
Semester 2, 2018
The vibrant city of Milan has plenty to offer, with Bocconi University being one of the city’s greatest gems.

Academic experience

At Bocconi University I undertook subjects in Economics, Finance and Marketing. As Bocconi is an internationally renowned Business School the courses were very interesting, and provided you with up to date knowledge directly from the industry. All of the professors were very welcoming, friendly and approachable.

My biggest tip for the enrolment process is to try and have as many subjects approved from UQ as possible in order to avoid a timetable clash. Class enrolment for exchange students works on a first come first serve basis, as the class registration opens at the same day and time for all exchange students.

Personal experience

Bocconi University provided many opportunities to meet other students, explore Italy and immerse oneself into university life.  

At the beginning of the semester Bocconi will offer an intensive Italian course at all levels to equip you with the language skills needed in everyday life. I highly recommend attending the course as it is a fun way to meet other exchange students, and begin your immersion into Italian culture, as the teachers provided many insights into the Italian lifestyle. Bocconi also offered the course throughout the semester for students who were interested in continuing the class. 

You will also find that trips to explore Italy are organised through a student society dedicated to putting on events for exchange students. I highly recommend the trips as they allow you to bond with other exchange students whilst discovering Italy. 

Bocconi also offers many student societies that exchange students are welcome to join. I had the opportunity to become involved in an Economics Society that organised activities and debates on recent economic and political events in Europe.  

If you want to experience helping the local community whilst in Milan, Bocconi has a partnership with a charity called ‘Pane Quotidian’, which provides food and support to people who need it most. Volunteering at the charity was a very rewarding experience and a great opportunity to work with local students.

Another wonderful part of Bocconi is the continuous events it organised to meet and listen to industry experts on a variety of topics, such as current trends in the European and Global markets. Bocconi provided many opportunities to interact with internationally renowned organisations, which was a fantastic opportunity to hear about the current economic challenges many firms are facing.

Accommodation

I found my own apartment off campus in an area called Navigli, which was very central and within walking distance of campus. Living with another exchange student from Switzerland was a wonderful opportunity to discover and learn about another culture beyond Italy. I highly recommend trying to contact other students attending Bocconi in the same semester as your exchange, as it made sourcing accommodation a lot easier. Bocconi created an official Facebook Group to help connect incoming exchange students, which was how I found my roommate. The university also provided student dorms on a first come first serve basis.

Costs

The general cost of living in Milan was lower than Brisbane with many on campus food options and cheap transport. The largest cost during the semester was accommodation as Bocconi is located near the centre of the city. Traveling around Europe with other exchange students can become very affordable with the use of budget airlines and shared accommodation.

Challenge

The biggest challenge I faced was learning to adapt to my new surroundings without the comfort of family and friends. I overcame this by forming friendships with other students from all around the world. Discovering the hidden beauties of Milan and traveling around Italy allowed me to embrace the environment I was in.

Professional Development

The exchange experience has allowed me to develop new skills that I will now be able to adapt to a professional environment. The ability to form friendships and develop rapport with people you have just met is an invaluable tool that will serve me well throughout my career. When traveling with other exchange students, I learnt that leveraging different perspectives whilst navigating a new environment in a group is a very transferable skill for any team based project.

Highlight

One of the many highlights was Bocconi’s courses that equipped students with the knowledge required to enter the industry. Learning about the European economy and banking sector has allowed me to broaden my mindset and prepare myself for a diverse range of jobs. Milan is a very special city, as many social events for the university began after class with the wonderful Milanese tradition of Aperitivo, a pre-dinner buffet, that is often shared with a group of friends.

Top tips

I definitely suggest plan ahead for accommodation and try to connect with as many students that will be attending Bocconi in the same semester as your exchange. Enjoy the experience, it may be challenging at times but it will definitely allow you to grow as a person. I highly recommend taking advantage of all of Bocconi’s services, the university has plenty to offer both for academics and social events.