Top 8 Answers You Want to Know Most About Studying in Italy

June 9, 2016

ISEP student Joy D. is a student blogger and part of our new ISEP Voices program. She is marketing major from Missouri State University, and is currently studying abroad at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy. Follow along with her on Instagram.

I have received many questions about my host school, Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in Milan. Here are a couple of things to know!

1. How do we get the best housing possible?

I would suggest looking at the Mil Service website and finding the names of each apartment. They should coincide with a street in Milan. Place these in comparison to the school in Google maps and look at how long it takes using public transportation. Also, I suggest living near Navigli (the canals) or Cadorna (a major train station).

2. How do the meal stipends work for ISEP Exchange students?

You will receive one meal a day in the cafeteria on campus. You also receive lots of meal tickets that work at specific restaurants around Milan and Italy. They also work at certain grocery stores. You should be able to find these ticket restaurants near your housing.

3. Are there any clubs?

Most of the exchange students stick with joining the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). It’s a great way to meet people from all over the world. Once you’re here, you will notice that people from each country tend to gravitate together. However, ESN makes it easy to meet people from other countries. They plan lots of events and trips. There are also other clubs to join, but I haven’t heard of any others that are as popular as ESN.

Near a fountain in Milan
Near a fountain in Milan

4. How should I pack?

Pack lightly. It is close to impossible to pack for each season. Also, it is Milan so there is a lot of shopping. I think it’s also nice to save some money and space by getting clothes here. This idea was especially enticing to me because who doesn’t want to dress like the Milanese?

5. Should I book flights for my weekend trips now?

Unless you have an exact date you want to go and will go regardless of if anyone will join you, I would wait until you get to Italy to book travel flights. Lots of spontaneous trips and opportunities can arise, so it’s good to wait until you meet people and get ideas of when other people are doing things as well. Flights are relatively cheap, so there’s not too much to worry about.

In front of a cathedral in Milan
In front of a cathedral in Milan

6. What should I do about banking in Milan?

Get a travel credit card and also a debit card. The travel credit card is great because there are no foreign transaction fees and you accumulate points. Then, just use the debit card to withdraw money from ATM machines. Try to find a bank with international partners that have low fees. I use Bank of America and it coincides with BNP Paribas here in Milan.

7. What should I do about cell phones?

Mil Service provides 50 euros towards a phone plan with a local company. Make sure that your phone is unlocked so you can get your Italian Sim Card. I wouldn’t depend on wifi solely for communication here.

A decorative tile alcove in Milan
A decorative tile alcove in Milan

8. What are classes like?

Classes are twice a week. They are scheduled in two hour blocks but they usually don’t last the entire time. There are many group projects and field trips. My classes are relatively easy, but it just depends on what you take. There are both ends of the spectrum. They are also pretty strict about missing class. Each class allows 2 absences. After that, your grade could be effected.

Find me on Instagram and shoot me a message if you have any other questions about studying at Cattolica!

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