The New with the Old: The City of Milan

Morissa Pepose
January 18, 2016
New and Old: A statue in Parco Sempione gets an upgrade with this fur coat

I brainstormed long and hard about what to say and how to say it in this blog post; my first since arriving in Milan a week ago! How do I capture everything I’ve experienced so far here for someone reading, someone who is perhaps contemplating their future study abroad adventure here? In the end, I decided to keep it straightforward and, most importantly, completely honest.

         At this point, I’ve been in Milan for a week. And I’m still alive! I am happy to report: no crippling panic attacks, no near death experiences. All in all, I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve got the Metro down pat. I know how to get to my daily Italian classes. And I’ve met a good 15 or so friends here at IES Abroad already, whom I regularly meet for outings, explorations, or just a simple dinner of pizza or gelato. I’ve encountered the Duomo in all of its magnificence.

         On the other hand, I still am having trouble finding exactly where to buy a hair dryer! My Italian is quickly improving, but sometimes I still struggle to make myself understood. And commuting daily on the Metro and walking around the city (Walking. A LOT.) certainly becomes exhausting after a while. I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Milan isn’t a DREAM city, it’s a REAL city! As the second biggest city in Italy and a center for business, music, art, and fashion, it’s important to be realistic about certain things. There’s going to be a lot of time spent of the Metro, there may be areas that are crowded with lots of people. But in the end, it’s what you make of it….and allowing myself to be content with the authenticity of my experience here has made my first week so much easier.

         Milan is a city that mixes the old with the new. Buildings and statues that are hundreds of years old stand side by side with completely modern architecture. Paintings of aristocrats hang in museums located in the same neighborhoods as modern fashion powerhouses such as Armani and Versace. And, in the same way, I feel like Milan is already starting to add something new to my own being. No, I’m in no way a completely new person. But maybe I’m learning some things about this new culture that have the potential to change things about me. In this city, which before I could only imagine, I feel real every second of every day, whether I’m getting lost wandering the streets or asking a waitress how much my macchiato costs in Italian. And I’m looking forward to continuing to mix more “new” me with the “old” me as my adventure progresses!



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Morissa Pepose

<p>As an aspiring soprano opera singer, it is very clear why I chose to study abroad in Milan, the very city which houses the famous La Scala opera house! From St. Louis, MO originally, I currently study voice performance and Italian at Brandeis University near Boston, MA. I am an avid reader, dessert-enthusiast, and enjoy animals and taking leisurely strolls where I happen upon interesting people and places to explore. I am a triplet (with 2 brothers!) but am excited to be on my own, meeting new people and learning a bunch from locals and other students!</p>

2016 Spring
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