Louise Dela Cruz
Exchange to Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Semester 2, 2017
It has now been three weeks and two days since officially landing in Milano, Italy; leaving everything known as home behind (temporarily that is). I must admit saying goodbye to my family and friends was incredibly hard, but trust me when I say that home has never left my heart; rather it has been right by myside as I go along this great adventure (thank you wi-fi).
It has now been three weeks and two days since officially landing. I have walked endlessly around Milan and have gazed upon the architectural beauty known to us as Milan’s Cathedral, stood upon historical grounds at a castle, walked along Navigli canals whilst controlling the need to stop at every food joint, and found a deeper appreciation of fashion and the arts hidden within it. Within these 3 weeks and 2 days, I have found myself settled and well; eating a not so average amount of Italian gelato throughout the week, and learning that the Italians really love their dogs. Dogs are basically everywhere, in shops, in restaurants, on the metro line, and because of this you start dreaming about them; but I’m not complaining.
Throughout these three weeks and two days I have been able to embrace not only the food and the architecture, but the way of living of the Milanese. However, starting on the 18th of this month, my official semester at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore will officially commence. Although frightened to start classes, I am incredibly excited. I am aware that unlike most of the students I have met during my orientation, I was lucky enough to arrive in Milan three weeks before my official classes commence. Due to my early arrival it allowed me to not only relax and settle in my tiny apartment and in this city, but it allowed me to discover corners of Milan before my schedule gets divided between discovering and studying.
If there is one thing I could recommend any student who aspires to take their studies abroad, I would tell you to arrive two or three weeks before your official start to studying at the university of your choice, at the country of your choice. I say this, as I believe that time prior to your start of an adventurous semester, will not only allow you to relax and settle, but it will also help you familiarize yourself with how the city you’re situated in works. This will allow you to understand the quirks of your desired place, how the people are, and allow you to discover the wondrous places your chosen city and country has to offer.
Being an exchange student is a crazy (in a good way) and fantastic experience and feeling. If you have the opportunity to take it, I say do it. As a person you will not only discover more about yourself, but the experiences you go through every day will open your eyes and make you wonder what else the world has to offer. It may seem crazy to situate yourself in a country so unknown to you for six months or one year, but it’s a kind of crazy that I’d encourage every student to take. The people you gain as friends, the things you will study, and the things you will learn about yourself, is such a great gift and outcome from this crazy exchanged adventure. I simply cannot wait to see what else lays ahead for me, and I cannot wait to start sharing them with you all. I mean it has only been three weeks for me, I can’t imagine what the rest of my time here will offer me!