ARRIVING TO MY HOST COUNTRY: MY INITIAL THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

Tom Hedditch
Exchange to Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Semester 2, 2015

I have now been in Italy for a little over a month now and have settled into my home and university with upcoming mid-term exams a fortnight away. I am studying at Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan which is situated in the historic quarter of Milan, with the campus next to an old Basilica.

 

Studying at a different university took a lot of getting used to as we become so accustomed to ACU’s policies and procedures; and Italian bureaucracy makes life even more difficult! However, once you get used to living at a slower pace of life than Australia we settled in a lot more. Milan is often the forgotten city for tourists who come to Italy, and is used as a gateway to get to the lakes an hour north of Milan or to get to Venice and Florence. Despite this, Milan has been one of my faveourite cities that I have visited so far. We have been lucky enough to have been here during Expo and Milan Fashion Week where the city truly came alive. Me and my housemate (also at ACU) Hamish Kelly were lucky enough to be invited to the Givenchy Fashion Week private party where we managed to spot a few Victoria Secret models. We certaintly provided great conversation with the fashionistas discussing our lives on a student budget compared to millions of dollars!!!

 

Milan has also been a great gateway to do some weekend travel. My timetable has meant that I have been able to sneak away on a Thursday and come back late Sunday night. I had an extremely relaxing weekend away at Lago di Como which is only a few hours away from Milan but feels like a completely different world. I have also been to Florence which despite the hustle and bustle of tourists is a beautiful city littered with historical artefacts. This weekend I am heading to Pisa and a small Tuscan town called Lucca.

 

Milan is unlike most Italian cities as it is not very traditionalist. Milan moves with cultural trends in food, art and especially fashion. For myself this has been interesting and we have found some interesting galleries, my favourite so far being the Fondazione Prada, which included some amazing modern art and a building covered in 24 carot gold leaf. The district I am living in is known for its bars and nightlife, and is crawling with young Italians. Every night the canals are crowded with groups of people all having a few drinks after a days work.

 

It is hard not to love the vibe of Milan so far, which provides such a different contrast to the other Italian cities which I have been to so far. I must say I would like to thank Amy from ACU who took the ACU crew out to dinner when she visited Milan – it was certainly nice to have a decent feed. Our University has been more than accommodating to the international students which has made our transition from Australia so much easier.

Uni

Uni

Gold House

Gold House

Givenchy Party

Givenchy Party