One of the things that I was most curious about when researching study abroad programs was what the average day would look like. Weekdays at university campuses all across the US follow, for the most part, a comfortably predictable routine of lectures, library hours, and meals eaten under brightly fluorescent lights. Our lives become quickly encircled by the proverbial “Ivy Tower” which, for all of its academic rigor, really can’t compare to what it’s like to find your own routine and way of life in a foreign city.
Milan is no exception; my first few weeks were spent understanding the public transit system and working out the kinks of city life but now I feel like my life has really started here.
Without further ado, here’s what a normal weekday in Milan looks like for me:
8:00 am: Walk to my course on Aesthetics at L’università Cattolica. On the way, I stop for a cappuccino at my local bar and dodge at least five Vespas driven by high-heeled, coiffed women at breakneck speed.
8:30 am: Walk into the classroom and try to pick up on some of the Italian conversations nearby before class starts. Today’s class focuses on development of personal aesthetic taste and related philosophical theories from the Enlightenment Period.
9:30 am: Leave class and stop for an espresso (When in
Rome Milan!) before heading to the IES Abroad Center, which is only 5 minutes from the Cattolica campus. After printing my ballot (Please don’t forget to vote!), I finish up my reading for my afternoon literature class.
11:00 am: Italian class—today’s lesson is all about Maurizio Cattelan, so we take a walk to his famous statue “L.O.V.E” in Piazza Affari (commonly known as “il dito”).
12:30 pm: Lunchtime! Walk to my favorite bakery for a slice of focaccia and take a break.
1:30 pm: It’s time for Letteratura nella città (Literature and the city of Milan). We’ve been reading I promessi sposi by Alessandro Mazoni and it is by no means an easy book to get through—imagine reading A Tale of Two Cities in Italian. Luckily our professor helps us to break down the text.
3:30pm: Walk to the tobacco shop to refill the account balance on my Italian phone number before going to do some administrative tasks for my internship. For my internship, I get to teach Milanese adults and children English a few days a week, so I want to make a few lesson plans and exercises before my lessons tomorrow.
5:30pm: Time for my internship seminar. This week we have a panel of young Milanese professionals that talk to us about how to work in Italy and how to handle some of the cultural differences between working in the states and in Italy.
7:30pm: Walk home and have dinner with my host family. Compared to the US, we eat much later and eat most of the dishes in separate courses. These long, luxurious dinners are unlike the average dinner in the US and it’s pretty amazing to be able to experience them with an Italian family.
9:00pm: Alternate between watching Italian TV, reading I promessi sposi, and working on a film analysis for my cinema class. By midnight, I’m asleep and ready to start again the next day.
That’s more or less what the average weekday looks like for me—sometimes I head out to dinner with friends, sometimes I have fewer course and work more at my internship, and sometimes I spend a few hours wandering around by the Duomo and shopping. Every day brings more people-watching, lots of good Italian espresso, and a few new Italian words.
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<p>Kinsey is a Biochemistry major and Italian minor from Tufts University near Boston, MA studying in Milan for Fall 2016. Everything she does is to learn more about food; catch her studying cheese microbes by day and reading cookbooks by night. She caught the travel bug the minute she tasted her first crepe in Paris way back in 2006, and hasn't looked back since.</p>