Why you should arrive early on Exchange

Ciao guys!

Very happy to introduce myself, I am Pauline, and I will be studying in Milan Economics and Business Management at the Bocconi Università (get ready for some Italian here and there) for 1 year!


Today I am just finishing my first week of classes at university, but first I want to share with you what’s been happening before that!

I arrived in Milan on the 21st of August, knowing that the official classes would only start on September 5th, and honestly I am very happy I did that. Here is a first reason:

Friends and Travelling

In Bocconi, Exchange students are welcomed by the Erasmus Student Network. This is ESN that organises most of the activities and socials throughout the year. During the summer, ESN created a FB group for all the incoming international students. This is how I started to meet people even though classes had not started.

Everyone on this group is super nice and keen to meet people, you could already feel the “Erasmus spirit” emerging, with numerous people introducing themselves all through summer.

When you arrive on exchange you have to WANT to meet people. It’s not going to happen miraculously, and I had that clearly in mind.

On my first day in Milan, I checked in my little airbnb and I felt like it’d be sad to be by myself on my first night in Milano so I posted a message on the FB group to know if anybody was keen to go out for drinks.


Just one message. And that’s changed my whole experience. 20 people showed up that night, all as keen as me to meet everyone. We went for the traditional “Milanese Aperitivo” in Navigli (which I will tell you all about another time), and then we had some more drinks chilling by the canal. This was the start of my very cool group of friends that’s expanded so far but that we still call “Gli Originali” (The Originals).

After this, we met up every day to explore the city together, have lunch, look for flats and of course go for pizza and cocktails at night.


Navigli – the place to go for Apperitivo


One of our nights out in Navigli with Mehdi, our Selfie guy

3 days after I met everyone, we were already getting on a train to explore Italy. We wanted some nature and water, so we chose to go north and have a cool day by the Lago di Como (Mm yeah ok we just wanted to spot George Clooney in his swim suit but shh).

You could think that 20kids going to the same place together without any built plan or guide could become messy, but surprisingly not at all. Everyone was kind of happy to go with the flow and we had our friend Becky that knew where she wanted to go so we all went for that.

We explored the village of Como in the morning, stopped for a delicious Italian caffè with pastries and then took the funicular up the mountain to another village called Brunate that had the most spectacular view over the lake!


Group Picture in Linate looking over the lake!

The end of the day consisted in taking the ferry to another village of the lake and go for a swim in the crystal clear water! Unfortunately I could not be part of this since I had to get back early in Milan to sort out something flat-wise with my landlord!


Gli Originali boarding on the ferry to go explore il Lago di Como

Yes, coming early in Milan is also very helpful to get a flat, because this can take a while in Italy!

I’ll be telling you all about my flat hunting experience in my next post (part 2) and then, part 3 will be about the Intensive Italian Crash Course I just took!

For now, I need to start revising…Yes I do have an Italian exam tomorrow which I have successfully avoided to work for until now.

Please don’t hesitate to message me if you have any questions!


Instagram: paulineuma

Ci Vediamo presto per altre avventure!!



2 thoughts on “Why you should arrive early on Exchange

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