I arrived in Milan about 8 weeks ago, in preparation for my exchange semester at Bocconi University. I am living this semester in an apartment in one of the suburbs of Milan, rather than in university accommodation. I pay €450 per month, for a single bedroom in a three bedroom apartment. University accommodation costs about 630 euros.

Many exchange students in Milan, particularly at Bocconi live in apartments, rather than university dorms. Part of this is the difficulty in guaranteeing a spot in the university dorms, as there are almost 1000 exchange students every semester.

I chose to live in an apartment for a couple of different reasons. I had previously lived in residence while at ANU, and felt like I had maximised that experience. Furthermore, I wanted to arrive before the semester, leave later, and not have the hassle of living in uni dorms. But the most appealing reason for an apartment was the chance to room with Italians. My two Italian roommates have given me a different view of Italy, and a very authentic explanation and experience of life in Milan for young Italians.

The average rental here in Milan is between 400-600 for a bed in a shared room (it is very common for Milan rentals) or 600-800 for single rooms. My rental is cheaper, but I live further out of the centre of town. I rented my place through an agency called DoveVivo, but there are a number of reputable agencies. Its often best to exercise careful judgement, as there are many FB posts that look like scams!!

My apartment is quite cheap by Milan standards, as it is a fair way out from the centre of town and from the university. I am about 30 minutes by tram from university, and about 20 minutes from the Navigli, the area where students mostly live and socialise.  I am fairly close to public transport, and really like my apartment.

Milan is a very competitive city for rentals (though not as competitive as Canberra), as it is full of students and young professionals, but going through an agency that is reputable, or through the university are ways to increase your chances of finding a place that becomes home for the 6 months of our exchange.

In other news, I am enjoying my time in Milan. The city is full of culture of history. Milan is not a renowned tourist centre, like Rome, or a city of art, like Florence, but it is a wonderful place to live. The city is easy to get around, and to immerse yourself in. Its also a major travel hub, with easy trips to other parts of Northern Italy and other countries. Already I’ve managed to ski in the north of Italy, visit Switzerland, and see iconic northern Italian cities such as Turin and Florence.

The city is full of colour, and history, with galleries and restaurants, bars and museums on every corner, and some iconic architecture. The Duomo, the Cathedral in the centre of Milan never disappoints, and is stunning at all times of day, whether busy during the day, or empty late at night. There is so much to see, to stroll around at night or during the day, getting lost in the alleys behind ancient churches, and wandering through the fashion districts, and relaxing in the parks and along the canals.