Erasmus Experience in Milan, Italy by Astha

Why did you choose to go to Milan, Italy?

I chose to come to Milan for my post graduate studies in Furniture Design from Politecnico di Milano university - which comes in the top 10 design universities in the world.

How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

The course is for one year, including both classes as well as practical experience (internship) of two to six months. I receive around 600 to 750 euros per month which includes monthly accommodation rent and other living expenses like groceries and a small budget for going out a few times a month for dinner/aperitivo/clubbing.

What is the student lifestyle like in Milan?

It is quite nice. Milan is safe and comfortable for students, offering lot's of options for gastronomy, entertainment, party and sightseeing. I really liked the aperitivo concept, which is affordable and allows students to enjoy night outs without burning too big a hole in the pocket. The people are friendly (as long as you are friendly too!). The transport lines cover most of the areas so you can always have a few options of bus/metro/train to reach your destination. Since there are so many famous universities in Milan, the student culture is quite wide and nice. 

Would you recommend the city and the University of Milan to other students?

Yes, definitely! I am studying in Politecnico di Milano and I am loving the experience! The faculty, campus and facilities are really good, and the other students are really helpful and interactive. At all restaurants and cafes that I have been to, all the owners and waiters have been really respectful and sweet, even trying to understand or speak English whenever required, as I am still learning Italian.

What is the food like?

There are so many options! You have Italian cuisine (obviously) but you get Asian, American, Mexican as well as other European cuisines. I have some favorite restaurants already! 

Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Milan?

I booked my accommodation through Airbnb for the first three months, and then found an agency that offers student accommodation in buildings owned by them, which are present all over Milan. The agency did not take any extra commission which I was thankful for. I was unable to find good and affordable options through the popular websites like spotahome, uniplaces and housinganywhere, and by the time I got my admission letter all the student residence halls of Politecnico were already booked. (Remember to keep checking for yourself!)

How much does it cost to live in Milan?

For students I feel that the average accommodation rent is a little high. You can get a bed in a shared room starting from 300 euros, and then it just keeps rising up, depending on the location as well. A good private bedroom will cost you 500-600 euros at least. Studios and one bedroom apartments are available in the range of 900-1500 euros, for two to three people.

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

I'm still learning, but Italian seems to be of average difficulty. Italian language classes have been added into my course by the coordinators to help us international students, which is after classes once every week. I also use the mobile application DuoLingo daily to increase the speed of my learning.

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Milan from your city?

I live in Milan only, and I travel to other cities in Italy by inter-city train or bus.

Where would you recommend to go on a night out in Milan?

There are many good clubs in the Garibaldi-Moscova area, near the Triennale museum, and in the Domodossola area. There are also really good informal cafes and lounges in the Darsena-Navigli area as well. I liked 11 clubroom, The Club, Gattopardo and Just Cavalli for clubbing (from the ones I have experienced).

And for eating? Can you recommend some good restaurants in Milan?

I love Temakinho (near Duomo) for Asian, and Spontini (various places) for pizzas. For good pasta I recommend Miscuzi (Isola and Centrale) and Deus Cafe (Isola and Darsena). Mexican is really good at Besame Mucho (Garibaldi) and Calavera (City Life - Tre Torri). There are many more, but I feel these are good for fancy eating within a student budget.

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

The Duomo Cathedral and the area around it is not to be missed! Other sites include Sforzesco Castle, Parco Sempione, Triennale Museum, Navigli canal, Fondazione Prada, Bicocca Village, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper museum, Pinacoteca di Brera, Teatro alla Scala, etcetera.

Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Milan in the future?

Yes! Milan has a lot of hidden gems, be it parks, cultural sites, shops or restaurants. Walk around on your days out, explore as much as you can on foot on bus or tram. That reminds me, do not miss out on the old wooden tram lines! They still retain the old wood and the glass lamps- you can literally feel the old European charm.

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