First Impressions of Bocconi University, Milan & Italy!

bergamo-alta.JPGHi all!  My name is Tim Tran and I’m a junior majoring in Finance and minoring in International Studies.  It’s hard to believe, three and half weeks have already passed since I arrived in Milan, Italy, to study at Bocconi University (Univesita’ Bocconi) for fall 2008.  I came into Milan at the beginning of September to take an intensive Italian crash course offered to exchange students.  This took place before official business courses started and the rest of the Italian students arrived.

With over 1,000 international students, Bocconi is definitely a school with an international flavor.  Because all the exchange p1010101.JPGstudents were essentially in the same boat (in a new city where we all knew no one), everyone was extremely open and friendly.  I quickly made a bunch of friends from all over the world and by the first weekend, we were already traveling Italy together.  This was not something that I expected to happen so soon, but it’s definitely something that I love about this school.  With its smaller size, it’s much more intimate than UW, which, to me, was a welcomed change.  Just in the past few weeks alone, my friends and I have made day trips to Lake Como, Verona, Cinque Terre, and Bergamo, all awesome destinations no more than an hour or two from Milan.  The city of Milan is great as well.  Milan is definitely fast-paced compared to the rest of Italy (though still slow by American standards) and there’s a lively night scene.  It seems like the city never sleeps!

p1010472.JPGThe native Italian students, who arrived a week or two after the exchange students, are also very friendly and approachable.  Bocconi has a great international student buddy program that has hosted numerous events to help exchange students experience the school and the city.  These events have included a traditional Italian dinner, an AC Milan soccer match, and what seems to be a Milanese favorite, aperitivo (Italian for happy hour).

Classes have started now and so far, I am enjoying them all.  It’s funny that even though I’m half a world removed from home, the current events that we talk about in class are heavily focused on the US financial situation.  It has definitely been interesting to hear the Italian perspective on the recent financial crisis in the US!

Overall, I enjoying every moment here.  Occasionally, I crave the Ave’s Asian food and I can surely do without all the second-hand smoke I’ve inhaled, but these little things in no way detract from the fact that I am having a blast in Milan!