I came to Italy with very few expectations. I knew that there would be great food, friendly people and nice scenery, but I decided that for just once, I would jump into things without completely knowing what I was doing. I am usually the person who will watch videos, read articles and look at pictures before visiting a city, yet I did none of that when moving to Milano for the fall.
And surprisingly enough, that is what has made my experience great so far.
I arrived last Monday and have enjoyed every second since then. I landed that morning and then moved in with my host family that afternoon. My host father is a professor, my host mother is a middle school English teacher and then I have a host sister who is 21 and studying law in Milano. They immediately welcomed me into their home and made me spaghetti. It was the most Italian thing that could have happened on my first day.
I had a few days of orientation and workshops before starting my intensive Italian classes on Thursday. I have never taken Italian before, but having class every morning from 9:00 to 11:30, living in a homestay and venturing out into the city, I found that I am learning a lot more than I would have expected to in only a few days. It also probably doesn’t hurt that my Italian professor is incredible and speaks ten languages fluently.
After spending a decent amount of time in classrooms last week, I took the weekend to really explore. On Saturday, that meant taking a walking tour of Milano with the director of IES Abroad followed by a pizza dinner and walk with my host family. Living with a host family has provided me with so much insight into the city and Italian culture. Despite only being a week in, I am so glad that I chose to do a homestay!
On Sunday, I took a train to Torino for the day with some friends. We had very little planned and spent most of the day walking around. The streets were pretty quiet, and the buildings were beautiful, which provided for some great photos. The only thing that we had planned was to go up to the top of the Mole, the tallest building in Torino. It was originally built as a synagogue, but the builders ran out of money about halfway through and turned it into a cinema museum (highly recommend) and observatory. From the top, you could see for several kilometers, which helped to put Torino into perspective.
On Monday, I started my internship. I am working for a small menswear accessories company that focuses in silk goods, producing ties, pocket squares, suspenders and scarves. I went to lunch with my boss, the founder of the company, and she gave me an overview of what they do. Then she had me analyze the competition on the website of a retailer that she sells to, so that we could choose which products to send them for the upcoming season. My opinion is valued, and I am getting an in depth look at menswear in Milano.
In one week, I have already seen and done more than I could have imagined, and I still have another three months left. I can’t wait to see where my internship takes me, or where else in Italy and Europe I will get to explore!