Milan, Here I Come!

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Max Leo
August 13, 2018

Ciao! My name is Max and I am a rising junior from George Washington University in Washington, DC. I am studying Finance and Real Estate but have a passion for exploring different cultures. As such, I have spent a majority of 2018 living abroad. From mid-February till early July, I was studying in Shanghai, China at Fudan University. I could never have guessed how much I would enjoy the cities, countryside or people in China, but it was truly an awesome experience. I then took a few day vacation to explore Hong Kong before moving on to Mumbai, India, where I have been since July 8th. Here, I am working as an intern for a real estate development firm. I take a rickshaw to work in the morning, attend meetings in Hindi, and have dinner every evening with my boss’ family. Needless to say, I have become a part of society here. I look forward to continuing that when I move to Milan, Italy this fall as part of the Business Studies program. I will be living in a homestay and am enthused that I will be surrounded by Italian culture all the time.

After spending so much time in new environments this year, I have learned what I need to do to adapt and feel comfortable in a new space. A place feels like your own, and feels like home, whenever it represents you. Because of this, I have wall decorations that I put up whenever I move into a new space including photos of memorable moments and a large tapestry with the NYC skyline on it. Yes, they take up space in my suitcase and require time to put up, but they make a blank room feel comfortable and personal with just a little bit of effort. Of all the things that I have been traveling with between my two suitcases, these are by far the most meaningful things that I have.

While in Italy, I plan to travel around Europe, but also gain a good understanding of the city that I am living in. I have found that the best way to do this is by walking or biking. In Shanghai, I used to rent bikes and ride to destinations that were 8 or 9 kilometers away. While taking the metro may have been easier, the bike route allowed me to discover new neighborhoods that I never knew of and feel more integrated into the community.

I am especially excited for my courses and educational opportunities in Milan. I am currently in the process of finding at internship, hopefully in the field of fashion. I will also be taking Italian language classes four days a week, on top of living with an Italian speaking family. I am hoping that this immersion will help to accelerate my ability to learn the basics of the language and lead me to a point where I can get around the country, regardless of whether the person I am speaking to understands English or not.

I come from a family rich in Italian heritage, and as such, I am very excited to get to experience the land where it all came from. I love food and am looking forward to eating my way through Milan. From Pizza to Pasta to Gelato, I’ll be trying everything I can and finding the best spots for a morning espresso or a pre-dinner aperitif.

Follow along as I look at Milan and Italy through a lens of comparison to Indian, American and Chinese cultures to try and understand why people behave the way they do, and what makes Italy one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations!

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Max Leo headshot

Max Leo

<p>Hi, I'm Max! I am studying Real Estate and finance and have spent all of 2018 traveling. I began domestically, visiting St. Louis, Charleston and NYC in January. Then in February, I headed to China to spend the semester at Fudan University in Shanghai! I got to travel to over 15 different cities in China while there. Next, I spent a few days in Hong Kong as a tourist before heading to Mumbai to spend July and August working for a real estate development company. I have a passion for cross-cultural interaction and this year has truly allowed to explore that.</p>

2018 Fall
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Boiling Springs, PA
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