Experience report: Danielle van der Linden - Milan

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1 Experience report: Danielle van der Linden - Milan Name: Danielle van der Linden Study Program: Organization Studies Exchange semester: Fall 2015 Academic year: Host University: Bocconi University Country: Italy I GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL I lived in Milan for four months and I lived in an apartment in the center of the city with two other Dutch students. I lived between the neighborhood Navigli and the shopping center around the Duomo. Navigli, the shopping center around Duomo and Brera are the most famous neighborhoods in Milan. Navigli is known for the canals, the nice atmosphere and the good places for food and cocktails. It is always crowded in Navigli! The shopping center around Duomo is known for the huge amount of stores, especially the multinationals like H&M, Zara and Mango. Brera is known for the expensive stores and restaurants, rooftops, designer places and models, it is the most decadent place in Milan. Bocconi is located close to Navigli, which is my favorite neighborhood. Bocconi is located at one place in the center, so you don t have to travel to change of lectures. The university consists of a couple of buildings, some are very modern and others are a bit more old-dated. To be honest, the campus of Bocconi wasn t that beautiful. But the atmosphere was always good! The best place to go for drinks is Panini Durini, which is located at the corner. The best way for lunch is also on that corner, there is a family company what is a butcher. They make fresh sandwiches with the cheese, prosciutto and salad you prefer. The best way for sport is absolutely park Symphione. It is the biggest park of the city where you can run as much as you want. There are always a lot of people running in the park. It is a nice park and in the summer there are many people picnicking or doing drinks on the grass. I want to warn you for some traditions in Milan and Bocconi. 1. You should not climb on the Duomo, because the traditions is saying that you are only able to climb on the Duomo when you are graduated. Therefore, I didn t do it and I m going back to Milan when I m graduated. 2. In the head building of Bocconi, there are two lions at the side of the doors. Don t walk between them! You are only able to walk between the lions when you are graduated. Even if there is a line and you are late for your lecture, don t walk between them. Because they say that when you walk between the lion s there will dominate a curse on you. That you re never going to graduate. The biggest difference between my University in Tilburg and Bocconi is that the students of Bocconi are more motivated than the students in Tilburg. That is probably because of the high amount of money they have to pay to study on Bocconi. Bocconi is a private University, which costs euros a year. Therefore there are a lot of students with rich parents. Also that is a difference compared to Tilburg. Almost everyone is working with an Apple Macbook and they wear expensive clothes. Bocconi is one of the best Universities in Europe, especially in Management and Finance.

2 II PRACTICAL INFORMATION I received all the information early. Therefore, I didn t experience difficulties in the beginning of my exchange. The arrival was organized in two weeks. We had a kind of introduction week in which we had a lot of parties and activities organized by I*ESN. Beside of that, almost everyone attended the Italian language course. So we had everyday a lecture from o clock. That was quite hard to combine with the parties which we had every day. We had a welcome conference in a huge space on Bocconi, where all Exchange students in that semester were. There were almost 900 Exchange students during my exchange studying on Bocconi. Unfortunately, I didn t meet them all. I found my own accommodation in Milan, already 6 months before I left on exchange. It is an apartment in the center of the city which we shared with 3 students, it was 15 minutes walk to Bocconi. The costs were euros a month, so each around 600 euros a month. I do not recommend the University Accomodation, because the stories of that students were very bad. They lived around 45 minutes from Bocconi, they are more expensive than searching for your own accommodation and the rules are very strict. For example: you re not able to receive visitors. My friends from Holland visited me and in total I had 3 weekends of friends visiting me in Milan. That wasn t possible if I lived in the University Accomodation. Therefore, I should strongly recommend you to search for your own accommodation. You can use the different Facebook groups for searching for an apartment, but you have to pay attention on fake advertisers. It is also a good idea to go a bit earlier to Milan and stay in a hostel, so you have time to search for an apartment at the location. Maybe you will make some friends there and search together for an accommodation. My Exchange was very expensive. Milan is an expensive city. I spend 600 euros a month for my apartment. Beside of that, I went for dinner almost always to a place in Navigli. The supermarkets are also very expensive, so it didn t even matter that much if you went to a restaurant or a supermarket for cooking for yourself. The clubs are super expensive. You have to pay entrance (between euros) and you receive one drink for it, after that all the drinks are 10 euros. I think I spend the most money on going out for dinner and drinks. The money I spended in Milan: - Food: 15/20 euros a day max 600 a month Transport: a month (public transport abonnement, everything is included) Books: 200 euros in the beginning, I didn t bought them all. Miscellaneous: trips 100 euro a trip. I did 5 trips so 500 euros. I arrived on the 24 th of August, we started with the crash course for the Italian language course. Beside of that, we had an introduction week. We were introduced to all the fancy clubs in Milan in the first week with a reduction in price for the entrance and drinks. In the end of October, we had a mid-term break. I had just one midterm, so not every course has a midterm. The examination period was at the end of our exchange, the second week of December. After the exams, I stayed one week more to say goodbye to everyone I met in Milan. Bocconi has an international office. They helped us really well, therefore I didn t experience difficulties during my exchange in Milan. I didn t take part to activities to promote Tilburg University, because there were no activities organization for doing

3 that. I told many positive stories to my friends on exchange about Tilburg University and ofcourse Tilburg as a student city. In Milan were many social activities organized by I*ESN for exchange students. Especially in the beginning, they were useful to meet other exchange students. I participated a couple of times at the ESN activities, but most of the times I preferred to go out with the friends I already made. I had contact with local students. One of my best friends during my exchange is Caterina, she lives close to Milan with her parents. After my exchange, we have already seen each other two times. Once in Helsinki and once in Amsterdam. In the beginning I had many Dutch friends, but at a certain moment I decided to make international friends as well. Because that was one of my reasons why I wanted to go on exchange. Especially in the beginning, it feels very comfortable to hang out with students from the same country. Because they speak the same language and have the same culture. I made a couple of trips during my exchange. I went three times to Como (a lake in the neighborhood of Milan), foxtown (in Switzerland), Venice, Turin, Cinque Terre and Bergamo. There is one city still standing on my bucket list: Rome! I didn t experience a culture shock in Milan. It is also a European Country, so I think that it is not that different than the Netherlands. Especially in Milan, I was shocked about the difference between the poor and rich people. The difference is big and there are many people living on the street in Milan. I learned that the Dutch culture is a bit more social, in the sentence that we take care of each other. In Milan, you can count on your family. They have a heavy family culture, what is typical Italian. I expected the family culture, but I didn t expect so many poor people. When you get friends with the Italian people, they are very friendly and invite you for dinner. But when you are not a friend, they are very sanguineous. I didn t experience language problems with other students, they were all able to speak English very well. Almost all the people in Milan speak English, otherwise I tried to speak Italian. Because I learned it in the Italian (crash and follow-up) course. I passed them both and we gave a presentation in Italian. Due to my exchange to Milan, I see opportunities in almost everything I m doing. I want to get everything out of the things that I m doing! I met many international people with all different backgrounds, we were on exchange with the same purpose: to meet a lot of awesome people all over the world, experience the Italian culture and make fun as much as possible. Beside of that, I m more interested in other cultures and places in the world. It feels very good that I have friends all over the world and I want to maintain and expand that. I think that my exchange will influence my career possibilities in a positive way, because it is an extra and very special experience what was one of the best things for my development during my student time. The most important lesson during my exchange is to do the things in life that are important for me and set priorities. There are too many things to sum up if you ask me what I will never forget about my exchange period, but I will sum up the most important memories: - Step in a car with girls (Italian, Greek, Chinese) I just knew for a couple of days and drive to Switzerland for an AWESOME day. We went for a view to a famous lake and one of the most famous shopping centers in Switzerland. - With the same girls doing a group assignment for the course statistics (still don t know why I followed that course on my exchange), but we finished it with the highest grade of all groups! 29/30. The stress moments together, hamburgers and deserved beers are one of my favorite memories.

4 - Celebrating my birthday on our balcony with the Dutch group after two weeks being in Milan. - Running the half marathon in the mountains! (I m never going to do that again) - All the parties! Especially in Gattopardo, which is the fanciest club in Milan (my opinion). It is an old church and the atmosphere is amazing. - In the last week of my exchange standing in a club and realizing that I almost know everyone! Compared with the beginning, I didn t know anyone in the club. In the end, I had a feeling that I knew everyone. - All the people who visited me in Milan! Therefore, I didn t forget that my life in Tilburg is also awesome! My parents visited me together with their Italian friends, my sister visited me, my roommates from my student house in Tilburg visited me, my friends from my sorority. - For more party recommendations, you should go to this clubs: Monday: dirty Mondays (Rock n roll party) Tuesday: Just Cavalli or Gattopardo Wednesday: Old Fashioned Thursday: the CLUB Friday: Gattopardo Saturday: le Banque For the best cocktails: go to Trattoria Toscane and order a Japanese Ice Tea. III ACADEMIC INFORMATION The courses I attended were offered in English. I took the following courses: - Technology and Innovation management. Because I didn t follow a course of innovation AND technology before, it was very interesting. - Leadership skills: because the description was interesting. I should not recommend it, because it was very easy and I didn t find a challenge in that course. - Strategic management in small and medium enterprises: because I wanted to know a bit more about strategic management. - Statistics: because I wasn t that good in statistics and I think that it is very valuable in my study. I should recommend: technology and innovation management and statistics. The academic level of Bocconi was quite the same as Tilburg University. Actually, it depends a lot on the courses you take. Because the exchange courses were easier than the courses that are mandatory for their own students. Academic writing isn t that good at Bocconi. The style is primarily theoretical, but they combined it with case groups in which you participate during the lectures. The relationship between students and the teaching staff is depends on the course and the teacher. In general, they were very friendly to students. But there is a distinction between students and teacher of course. I am happy and satisfied with the academic level during my exchange, I found my challenge in the statistics and technology & innovation management courses. I had one oral exam and three writing exams. It was easy to get access to the library. But there were not enough spots during exams for all students. Therefore, many students were not able to study in the library during their exams. Everyone studied on their laptop, which means that there were not that much computers available on the campus. They were also very old.

5 Description of Courses 1. Strategic Management (30293) 6 ECTS Written exam and group cases in class Easy theoretical no enrolment problems 2. Applications for Economics, Management and Finance (30050) 7 ECTS Written exam and midterm and group assignment Difficult theoretical no enrolment problems 3. Leadership skills (30262) 6 ECTS Group assignment and three small exams in class Easy theoretical no enrolment problems 4. Technology and innovation management (30154) 6 ECTS Written exam and group cases in class Difficult theoretical no enrolment problems I can recommend an exchange period! In my opinion, it is one of the best experiences you can get during your student time. I think that it doesn t matter that much where you are going. If you are open for it, you will make new friends on every destination on earth. I should recommend Bocconi. The academic level is higher than other Universities abroad. Beside of that, Milan is an international city due to the fashion industry and there are 5 Universities located in Milan. Therefore, there are many international students.

6 The international office can share my address with other students, if they want to have more information about my exchange in Milan.

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