I arrived in Milan a few weeks ago and have had some time to explore the city and reflect on my thoughts. At first, Milan seemed like a very urban city and almost overwhelming (especially with the language barrier!) But I have really enjoyed getting to know my way around, and it feels much more comfortable now. I love exploring through the city streets and seeing how the different parts of town are connected. My apartment and school are in the southern part of the city center, so usually there is more to see when I walk north. Some of the most notable places that I have come across include the following:
Parco Sempione: Living in Colorado, I am partial to my green parks and open spaces. Parco Sempione is a beautiful park, not huge, but a good size for a park in the middle of a european city! The park itself has just about everything in it: green grass, ponds, paths, a castle, romantic italian couples, adorable italian families, tourists, cafes… etc. Definitely a good place to visit when you need a breath of fresh air and to escape the chaos of the city.
In the more academic realm of things, classes started 2 weeks ago, and I really like my classes! The teachers are all very nice and all seem to have “real world” experience to what they are teaching. The classes I am taking are: Italian 101, Italian design history, Contemporary Italian Society, and Visual Design (graphic design). In particular, my design history class is one of my favorite as we take field trips to experience Milan architecture and design first hand. The teacher told us to always have our camera, so naturally, I’m excited for this! So far, we have visited spots right around campus as well as the Centrale Station of Milan!
Overall, I’ve definitely had a great start to my time abroad. The city is fun to explore, classes are great, and I get along with just about everyone in the abroad program! I do wish I knew more Italian though. I studied a small amount on my own in the summer, but not much stuck. The classes here are helping some, but it takes a lot of time and practice. In these past 3 weeks I have gotten better at speaking and understanding, but it is still hard to communicate with the majority of locals! I hope with another month of practice, I will be more comfortable with the language!
Rachel – Boston University