Life in Milan – Elaine Ta
Mays Business School, February 9th, 2023
Ciao! My name is Elaine Ta and I’m currently doing a semester exchange at Bocconi in Milan, Italy! During the short period of time I’ve been here, I’ve noticed so many differences between life in Italy and life in the US and between Bocconi and A&M.
Moving to Italy made me realize all the small and large luxuries I have as an American. Life is very convenient at home because you can drive anywhere you want whenever you want, buy things in bulk or in massive sizes, dry your clothes quickly using a dryer, and use the restroom for free. While simple in Texas, those things are like luxuries here in Italy. People mostly get around by either walking or taking public transportation, they buy very small portions of items (meaning they make trips to the grocery store very frequently because you can only carry home so much at a time), they air dry their clothes, and pay a euro to use the restroom when they’re out. This is the longest period of time I’ve ever spent in another country without my family, so adjusting to this minimalistic life here has been rough but quite rewarding knowing I’m learning to adapt to situations quicker each day. Thankfully, to help us get situated faster, Bocconi organizes many events for all the exchange students to meet each other. Because all the other international students are going through the same situation as I am, it’s been a lot more manageable to make friends quickly because everyone is very open and welcoming to you. All the exchange students I’ve met thus far have been incredibly sweet, smart, friendly, and open-minded and I’m looking forward to the memories we’ll make together in the coming months.
The biggest difference between classes at A&M and at Bocconi is that your grades at Bocconi are usually only determined by a single exam (the final) and sometimes an additional project. You have to be much more disciplined and organized with your studying to ensure you aren’t cramming a semester’s worth of information the day before the exam or falling behind; however, the advantage of this grading structure is that it leaves a lot of room for flexibility for students throughout the semester because you don’t have an assignment due every few days. After this semester ends, I hope to have learned how to live minimalistic, how to manage my time and finances better and to have explored various countries and cultures across Europe with my new friends. Ciao for now 🙂