This year I will spend more time abroad than in America, and I can’t say that I’m sad about it! I wrapped up my sophomore year at Northwestern in June and briefly went home to pack my bags for the upcoming 7 months. I traveled around Morocco with my family for a month and continued onto France before reaching my final destination: Milano!
I was born in Paris and grew up traveling frequently, mostly to Africa and all over Europe so traveling is not a source of anxiety for me. However, I have never spent an extended period of time in a foreign country without my family so I am anticipating on this being my biggest difficulty!
Today, only a week remains before my Milan adventure begins.
Ever since I chose the IES Abroad Music and Tradition Program in Milan, I have had a general idea of things to look forward to: four months of delicious cuisine, nights at La Scala, finding an Italian voice teacher who will tell me that nothing I do is dramatic enough, and improving my Italian language skills- which are so far inexistent. I spent two weeks traveling across Italy last summer so I have no doubt that I will not be disappointed by the food. I also went ahead and looked up the operas scheduled at La Scala for the 2017-2018 season. So far, two great operas have been programmed for the fall season: Andrea Chénier and Madame Butterlfly. The IES Abroad Music and Tradition program finds a way to make tickets to one of the greatest opera houses in the world, accessible for students in the program (and their student bank accounts!).
As far as packing goes, Milan is a fairly warm city so I left my Chicago winter coats behind and chose lighter clothes. Packing for 7 months was no easy task but not to worry, Milan is the city of fashion! Therefore, my first purchase will most likely be a new suitcase to carry back the products all of my future shopping sprees.
As I think of these next four months, I feel only excitement and curiosity for the discoveries and experiences I am about to have.
The only source of doubt I had was for my homestay, but I recently received a letter from my host family and they seemed very charming. My neighborhood is fairly central in the city. My host mother informed me that it is a very convenient location because it is close to nice shops, restaurants, and all sorts of transportations are offered nearby. In the next four months, I will be living with my host mother and her two daughters, one younger than me and the other older. I think this will be a very good combination and I am particularly thrilled to have young people who will be able to show me what everyday life in Milan as a college student really is like.
I think that while I am in Milan I will take advantage of the European transportation systems which are far more advanced than in America, and travel over Italy to see more of the country. The Lago de Como region is beautiful and Florence holds the spot for my favorite Italian city so far! In addition to these personal trips, the IES Abroad program offers two field trips for the fall. One is a weekend field trip (3 days) to Tuscany, which is included in the program cost. The other is a trip to Sicily which is more costly but includes a lot of interesting activities such as a visit to Etna, which is Europe’s highest active volcano!
I know that there will be some bumps along the road in these next four months, it seems inevitable. However, this does not make me nervous, it is part of the adventure and gives you good stories to bring home! I am very impatient to step off the train in Milan and begin my discoveries.
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<p style="margin-bottom:12.0pt">Hi! My name is Lily and I am a junior at Northwestern University studying voice performance (opera) and French. I was born in Paris and grew up in France before moving to America with my parents and my older brother. I have always liked traveling, specifically throughout Africa and Europe and now I’m really looking forward to discovering Milan! I think that as a European, I think I can offer a different perspective of the IES Milan program than an American student.<span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><span style="font-family:"Times",serif"> </span></span></span></p>