Guest Post by: Marketing Senior Alizeh Karmali. She is a Foster School Undergraduate who participated on Foster Exchange at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
I don’t think I’ve fallen in love with any city as fast as I fell in love with Milan. Of course, the first couple of days were not the greatest (like my first day when my phone was stolen), but it got so much better after. It truly felt like my home the entire time I was there. Every few days I would go to the city center, where the famous Duomo would take my breath away every time I laid my eyes on it. I regret not exploring my beautiful city as much during the first half of my exchange. I was so set on traveling to other Italian cities, that I completely lost sight of what was right in front of me the whole time. Milan at first seems very ugly when compared to other cities like Rome, Venice, or Florence. But, it has its own treasures if you really explore it. The food, the environment, the people, everything is so amazing and lively.
Coming from the States, it was a pretty big culture shock. The night life is so big in Italy, everyone seems to be having a good time until times like one or two in the morning, and sometimes even later on weekends! The language barrier is the one thing that I struggled with the most. There is very little English spoken in Italy, so I always had Google Translate open wherever I went. Once you immerse yourself in the culture, it really makes adjusting that much easier. There is so much to do in Milan itself! You can go to a fashion show, eat as much life-changing pizza, pasta, and gelato as you want, shop at all the luxury stores (or stare at them from afar like I did), visit the many churches Milan holds, go see an AC Milan soccer game, stare at the breathtaking architecture, enjoy aperitivos (about 9-10 euros for all you can eat food!), check out the famous Prada Museum, Armani Museum, the huge cemetery, and so much more! The best decision I have ever made was doing an exchange in Milan. I learned so much about a new culture, so much about myself, and I learned that life is something everyone should enjoy and take risks during. When it came to my last day in my beautiful city, I was in tears. I did not want to leave. Looking back on my first day in Milan, I remember thinking how long four months seemed, and how slow the time would go by. It turned out to be the opposite. I really do not know where the time went, and that is because I kept myself so busy and made sure to try new things and meet new people. I made friends with such kind and genuine people, and they have become my closest friends. I am grateful that Foster gave me this opportunity to do something so different, and I will cherish these memories forever. I can’t wait to go back one day.