Why you should arrive early on exchange – part II

Buongiorno Raggazzi !

As I’ve promised you before, today I am going to share with you the second reason why you should arrive early on exchange :

FIND A COMFORTABLE AND HOMELY ACCOMMODATION

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A sneak peek of my Milanese place

As an exchange student of Bocconi, I had the opportunity of staying in university halls. But one former exchange student advised me to look for private accommodation on arrival in Milan because it would be cheaper and cosier, and that’s what I did.

So the option I took was to look for accommodation once arrived in Milan.

Very good idea in theory, BUT there are some DOs and DON’Ts that I should definitely warn you about because my flat-hunting was all but a relaxed time!

DOs

  • Join the following FB groups at the beginning of summer:
    • Bocconi Rents
    • Bocconi International Student Housing
    • Bocconi Exchange students Rent

Here, landlords and students post their adverts without going through an estate agency. You’ll save the agency fees and have access to the latest offers on the market.

BE CAREFUL – SCAMS are frequent – I replied to one advert that seemed incredibly cheap for the value of the apartment, it was a SCAM!! You need to double vigilance while looking for flats on FB. NEVER give deposit without some security (have you met the landlord? Have you viewed the flat? Have you got the keys?  Have you got any kind of insurance against fraud?)

  • Start looking a few days before landing in Milan and book some viewings for when you arrive, you’ll gain a lot of time!
  • Book an Airbnb near university for a week or 10 days to let you have time to find a flat that suits you. Hostels are expensive or too far away from the city centre.
  • Know precisely what you are looking for on arrival so that you can efficiently look for something. The number of flats offered is massive and it would take days to scroll through all of it if you don’t know what you are looking for!
  • Find a phone deal as soon as you arrive in Milan (TIM and Vodaphone are the best value for money you’ll find – WIND is cheap but has a crappy network). Private landlords only want you to reach them by phone, which will be complicated if you don’t have an Italian number.
  • Try to get some notions of Italian before going, the estate agents I’ve come across did not speak a word of English nor French, let alone the private landlords…!
  • BE PATIENT, don’t forget that you are in Italy, everything takes a bit of time…
  • Look for a Flat in Navigli, Bocconi or Porta Romana Areas

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DON’Ts

  • Arrive in Milan, hands in the pocket, expecting everyone to be super helpful in your flat quest
  • Let an estate agent seduce you (by talking Spanish to you, saying that “you have nice feet”) to get you renting his flat
  • Rush and accept a flat which you don’t like but “could do it”. There are plenty of really nice accommodations in Milan you just need to find them!
  • Sign a contract which stipulates that you have to find your own private housing insurance (this process is a nightmare that took me 2 months and insurance is expensive)
  • Think that finding a flat will take 4 days and only book accommodation for this amount of time. Choosing the right accommodation takes time and I had to book a last minute One-week Airbnb on top of my 4 days because I had nowhere to live for a week still – this was a bit stressful I admit.

As for the type of flat you are looking for, it all depends on you. Personally I did not want to live with too many people and wanted a relatively affordable apartment so I chose to live with one person.

I was lucky because we found each other through Facebook and I had not met her before moving in. This is a risk to take, but I think meeting new people and adjusting yourself to other people is what exchange is all about. My flatmate is Canadian from Vancouver, and even though I am doing my exchange in Italy, I now know a lot more about the Canadian lifestyle than I ever thought I would!

Now it is time for flying back to Milan after having spent a few days in Paris at home during our midterm break. I will be publishing soon about my 3rd and last reason why you need to get early on exchange!

Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions, I am happy to help. Also, if there is any blog topic you’d want me to write about give me a shout!

And to finish here are some pretty pictures of Milan because it’s not fun without it:

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The Naviglio Grande

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Typical Milanese Balcony

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The Duomo

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View from the Piazza 24 di Maggio

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