Guest post by Hewan Solomon, a Foster senior studying Finance and Information Systems, who participated in the Foster exchange at the Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
Life in Italy was equally beautiful and tranquil as it was hectic and eventful. Milan, a metropolitan city, was filled with so much beauty, from the architecture to the food. Around every corner I saw a church, city gate, or statue that took my breath away. These were definitely the highs of my trip, the small surprises and delights the city had to offer. I also deeply enjoyed my time alone in Milan. Before leaving for my study abroad, I assumed I would make tons of friends. This, however, didn’t happen. Instead, I found myself alone most of my trip, but this was not a bad thing. I was able to stick to my own schedule, learn how to do things on my own, and have time to think and reflect. My time alone was deeply peaceful and gave me clarity and confidence.
When I wasn’t living “La Dolce Vita”, I experienced the hustle and bustle that comes with a big city. Milan, in general, has a slightly grittier look than the stereotypical Italian city. This was intimidating at first, but I grew to love the graffiti covered buildings. Some of the most interesting moments of study abroad came from navigating the bureaucratic process of getting a “permit of stay”. At one point I needed to enter a post office, but I didn’t realize that I had to stand really close to the door for it to open. This interaction was embarrassing in the moment, but I laughed about it soon. Using the underground trains was also scary at first, people walked so fast and it seemed like there was no concept of waiting in lines. After a while, I caught onto all of the small cultural things like saying “permesso”, when wanting to get off the train.