Mid-terms are approaching and I'm about half way done with my second semester at Bocconi, the partner university in Milan that I'm enrolled in through IES Abroad. This semester I'm taking two economic courses and I'm very content with my decision to do so. Bocconi is a well-known, international business school and offers a wide range of courses in the business and economic fields. It was just ranked among the top 5 universities in Europe! Having the opportunity to attend Bocconi is definitely a fulfilling and cultural experience. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the Italian college life and also meet students from all over the world. Whenever I'm assigned group projects, it's not unusual for every member of the group to be from a different country. Not to mention it's a great way to make new friends. As a student at Bocconi, you gain access to the libraries, gym, sports teams, and other clubs as well. There are also TAs for all the classes who are always willing to help and answer any questions concerning the course.
Although Bocconi is similar to American universities in many ways, it did take some adjusting. Courses are available in English and Italian (I take mine in English), however sometimes the professors will have heavy accents and this can make it hard to understand the material. Luckily, IES Abroad gives a class-shopping period, so you have the opportunity to try out a few different courses before finalizing your schedule. The teaching style will also vary, depending on where the professor is from. This semester my courses are lecture based, while last semester my class was a mixture of lectures with a strong focus on group work.
The grading system is also very different compared to what I'm used to. Grades are received on a scale of 30, with a 30 being equivalent to a A+. Normally, assignments are not given throughout the semester so it's up to you to stay on top of the material. Usually the final grade will solely depend on the mid-term and final exam which can be a little intimidating. If you really want to put all your eggs in one basket, there is also the concept of "partial-exams", meaning you have the option to take a mid-term half way through the semester, or you can just wait till the very end and take the final. This is a little too risky for me, but many students choose to do so! It really comes down to how confident you're feeling about the class. Overall, I would say that the difficulty level of Bocconi courses are similar to that of mine back home. They do require extra work and studying outside of class, but it's never too stressful.
If you're up for an extra challenge, or want to take classes that IES Abroad may not offer, I would recommend enrolling into Bocconi - especially since it's included in the tuition for the IES Abroad Milan: Business Studies program!