Exchange to Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Semester 2, 2015
Living in Milan is exciting, it is busy and it always keeps me on my toes. My days at uni begin with a walk through the streets just south of the city centre; I pass the same people sitting at cafe tables, and on Tuesdays I pass a huge market that is set up just near my house. It has fresh produce, clothes, shoes and anything else you could ever think of needing.
Just before I arrive at the university building, I stop by a cafe on the corner and order a cappuccino and a brioche, that I generally consume standing up at the counter. It has proven to be a very friendly city, and the baristas in my favourite cafes are no exception. Usually I will run into a friend from uni at the cafe, we will finish our coffees together and then walk to class.
I am doing four classes during the semester, and each subject is run twice a week, and go for two hours. My timetable has turned out very nicely, with only two classes being on each day, allowing for plenty of time to explore the city on weekdays. Most of the time I will wander into the centre of the city, which is only a 10 minute walk from the university, and is home to one of the most impressive structures I have ever seen; the Duomo.
My favourite way of exploring the city is through running, it was on one of my runs that I stumbled upon an Australian fish and chip shop. I have already had a delicious Friday night fish and chips meal with friends from not only Australia, but all over the world. On most of my runs I look for parks; they’re a great way to see new parts of the city, and, of course, to ‘people watch’. The main park in the middle of Milan is Parco Sempione, and was host of an international film festival in September.
By night Milan is at its best, especially the district of Navigli. Navigli, also the ‘canal district’, is an area to the south of the city that is full of bars, restaurants and people. Set along three joining canals, Navigli hosts weekly markets to showcase local artists and designers. On top of this, and possibly my favourite meal out, is the array of aperitivo places to dine at between 6 and 10 every night of the week. Aperitivo is not just a drink, as you may be thinking. It is a drink, plus unlimited access to a buffet of pasta dishes, pizzas, salads, fresh meats, cheeses… it is incredible and I recommend it to everyone I meet. I have found that aperitivo are a great way to socialise, and so far this semester I have gotten to know many people along the canals of Navigli at having aperitivo.
In Milan it is easy to get lost in the excitement, and to forget that it is just a semester that I have to enjoy all of this! So I am trying to make the most of the time I have here, and soak up all of the Italian culture I can (mostly the food), because I know that the next 8 weeks are going to fly.