My Initial Thoughts and Feeling in My Host Country

Hamish Kelly
Exchange to Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Semester 2, 2015

I have been lucky to call Milan my home for the last month and a half!

After an incredible and action packed 3 months of backpacking across Europe, it was somewhat relieving to finally arrive in Milan. Despite the fun of living out of a suitcase, the spontaneity of travelling on a whim and sharing dorms with 12 other people on most nights; it was a welcome change to have some privacy and time to reflect on my travels since leaving Melbourne. You do appreciate the luxury of having your own toilet and shower when you’re on the road!

The first few weeks of orientation and formal classes were a mix of excitement and interest. After a long hiatus from using my brain in any kind of academic sense, it was nice to know that it still could be switched on again!

With such a large and popular international exchange program, I have been fortunate enough to meet students from a diverse range of backgrounds – Mexico, Nepal, Columbia just to name a few! It has also been great to develop bonds and friendships with people from such interesting backgrounds and has only strengthened my desire to keep on traveling the world. This kind of “melting pot” has only enriched my culinary, cultural and linguistic vocabulary.

University has only been once aspect of my experience thus far in Milan. I have been on a number of weekend trips and excursions which have opened my eyes as to what Italy and Europe more generally has to offer. I was lucky enough to escape to the lakeside village of Menaggio which sits gracefully on the shore of Lake Como. While I have enjoyed the frenetic pace and energy of Milan, it was nice to take the foot off the accelerator and enjoy the spectacular vistas of the lake for a few days.

Walking around the streets and various districts of Milan have also been highlights – the hustle and bustle around the canals of the Navigli, the beauty of the Duomo and the hip-vibes from the up-and-coming Garibaldi area. Milan and Melbourne both share a number of parallels – diverse, hip and ever-changing.