The 3 R's of Navigating Partner Universities

Claudia Navarrete
February 6, 2020
University Building

Part of why I chose to join the Milan study abroad program from IES Abroad was their existing partnership with local universities. Students are allowed to take up to two courses from any partner university included as part of the program cost. Usually students choose this route in order to take classes that may be required for their degree but are not offered by IES Abroad themselves. It also gives you the chance to see how the post-secondary education system works here in Milan, and how it differs from the US post-secondary education system.

Currently, I’m taking a finance class at Bocconi University and a management class at Università IULM. While I have seen the many differences that others talk about when describing the Italian University system, I was also able to notice some similarities to what I’ve experienced at my home school. Quite refreshing, and it seemed to calm me down a bit for those first few days. As much as I do not enjoy getting lost while looking for classrooms and buildings, it all felt pleasantly familiar in the end.

For someone considering taking classes at a partner university, here are some tips to help you navigate the process:

  • Read – Search up the course catalogs for the universities that appeal to you. Most will let you filter classes by language and semester to narrow down your options. This is a good time to browse around and see what piques your interest. If there are any specific classes that you want to take, make sure to search those up also (if anything do that first).
  • Research – Compare what classes are offered abroad with the classes offered at your home school. You’ll need to see which courses are similar enough that you can receive credit for them. What courses you’ll be able to take will depend on your specific school and degree program. What might serve as an economics course for someone in California might not serve equally for someone in Massachusetts.
  • Repeat – Ultimately, you’ll have to repeat this process for each course you intend on receiving credit for when you return. The same goes for any IES Abroad courses and any replacement courses that come about for one reason or another. Simply put emphasis on the fact that you’ll have to do this multiple times before finally getting a set plan of action.

When you arrive, every program will host an information session for their partner universities. Schools that may be very popular with students, such as Bocconi in my case, will have their own information session dedicated just to that school. I highly suggest that you attend these sessions as they give you information that isn’t always found online. They give you a better idea of what to expect going into these courses. These sessions usually take place during orientation week.

Something to acknowledge with every opportunity and scenario is that no matter how much you may plan and set everything up, things will happen that result in a change of plans. There can be timing issues, availability problems, or many other things. Just remember to stay calm and enjoy the rest of study abroad journey. It’s all just getting started.

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Claudia Navarrete

<p>Hi everyone! I'm an accounting major coming out of Miami, a cultural hotspot for people all over the world. As someone who has rarely ventured out on her own, I plan to make my semester abroad an opportunity to expand both my educational knowledge and personal growth. I do love business, but I also enjoy seeing why and how other people make the choices they do. I speak my thoughts and opinions openly, so get ready for an inside look at the next 5-6 months of my life.</p>

2020 Spring
Home University:
Florida International University
Sunrise, FL
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