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Jack Peccia

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Finance
Study Abroad › Exchange

Program:
University
Location:
Experience Faculty
Going abroad is a life changing experience. During my time in Italy I gained a greater understanding for all the cultures Europe has to offer, in addition I gained a greater perspective in the world of International Finance.
Experience Details
Semester
Spring
Year
2023
Introduction + Preparation

Preparing for abroad can be overwhelming but if you break it down into steps it isn't that bad. Firstly, find accommodation, book your flight, then book an appointment at the consulate to get your visa. Afterwards do research into Milan for neighbourhoods, cost of living etc and then pack. To research courses go to Bocconi’s website they will have courses available for exchange students or categorized as their English speaking courses. You can cross reference this with the SFU study abroad database to see what courses will transfer back as SFU credit.

Location Research

I chose Milan as it was central in Europe, had a great school and my family ancestry comes from Italy. Milan being central in Europe allowed me to travel to many countries and cities. For example, I was able to travel to Western Europe (France, Spain), Northern Europe (Denmark, Sweden) and Eastern Europe (Czechia, Austria) all within an hour to two hour flight. Also the train system in Italy is amazing, I was able to travel through most of Italy by train. Milan is a great location if you are looking to travel to new countries or visit more cities within Italy. Moreover, Bocconi was ranked in the top 5 business schools in Europe by Bloomberg. It has a strong international reputation and within Europe it is viewed as a prestigious school. Additionally, I wanted to study/live in Italy as my family ancestry comes from Italy. SFU provided two choices in Italy, that being Rome and Milan. I decided on Milan due to its central location and prestigious school. 

Financial Preparation

Prepping financially I looked on Numbeo for the cost of living, searched up apartments for rent in Milan and how much transportation would be. This provided me a base cost of approximately $2000 a month. Then I added other expenditures such as a budget for going out, travelling and shopping. Overall a budget of $3-4000 a month will be sufficient. 

Packing

Regarding packing I left for Milan in January and returned in June. This made it tough to pack as the weather changed drastically from my arrival to departure.  Milan is similar to Vancouver in the winter and gets quite warm in the spring/summer. I would pack for all seasons to be prepared. Other things to consider are an outlet adapter for your charger, a backpack for weekend travels, school supplies, and carry-on toiletries. 

Travel and Transportation

Travel cost around $1500. and Transportation in Milan is quite inexpensive. A monthly metro pass is 20 euros or 30 CAD, that includes tram, subway and bus. 

Preparation Tips for Future Students

Getting prepared for abroad was an overwhelming experience. There was so much to do and a lot of uncertainty. A few tips that would have been useful prior to going abroad would be finding housing accommodation and getting your student Visa from the Italian consulate. Getting your Visa can be frustrating, go to the Vancouver consulate student visa requirements to ensure you show up with all the paperwork. But you will need a round trip flight booked and housing accommodation. If you do not get into the dorm (Aparto) book an Airbnb for 2 weeks with a free cancellation policy (This was recommended to me by the consulate). Once you find your housing cancel the Airbnb. Also getting an appointment with the consulate is difficult so do not leave it to the last minute, look for cancellations every day. 

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

The first month of exchange is full of orientations and international student meet and greets. At first it felt overwhelming not knowing anyone abroad but after 1 week I made plenty of friends. The group is called ESN and they will organize a ton of student socials. I highly recommend going to all of them in the first 2 weeks.

Accommodation and Living

Finding accommodation was the most difficult part. There is one student housing dorm called Aparto, I would recommend trying to get in to this dorm but it is very difficult. Within minutes all rooms got booked up. 90% of exchange students had to find housing elsewhere. The best is to find a shared flat/apartment. Some websites include housinganywhere.com and SpotaHome. These places are at times quite expensive for short term rentals (4-5 months). If I were to do it again, knowing what I know I would have looked for Bocconi students going on exchange to sublet their room/apartment. Here you will get a fair, market rent. I would search on Facebook for Bocconi students going abroad and message them or contact SFU study abroad and they can let you know if any Bocconi students are coming to SFU and you can get in contact with them.

Day to Day

Day to day in Milan is great. During the weeks you would have class for a few hours, afterwards you can go home and make food or go get food/drinks with friends. Milan has a vibrant culture full of amazing restaurants and bars. 

Learning and Adaptation

Bocconi is a great school to go to. They will provide you with a different view on finance and business. Most classes are taught in English so make sure you enrol in the correct section. Learning at Bocconi is quite similar to SFU, the biggest difference is their grading structure. Most classes are exam based, there will be a midterm and final both worth 50% of your grade. Some classes only offer a final exam worth 100%. Provided you attend the majority of classes you will be fine. I know other students who skipped classes to travel and they fell behind quite quickly. Moreover, adapting to Milan/Italy is quite different than Vancouver. For example, they do not eat a big breakfast, at most you will have a pastry. Restaurants and most businesses close from 2:30-7pm. This is the equivalent of a siesta. Also, Italians eat quite late usually 8:30-9pm you will have dinner, most Italians are awake until past midnight. Adapting to their schedule may take a week to two but afterwards you'll be use to the Italian way of living. 

Accomplishments and Challenges

The first 2 weeks abroad are amongst the most difficult. You are in a foreign country, away from home, friends and family. You need to make yourself busy in these weeks and push yourself outside your comfort zone to meet new friends. A great tip I was told prior to going abroad is if you are feeling homesick you're not busy enough. Once you push through these first 2 weeks the rest is a breeze. Milan will begin to feel like your new home, you will have created friends and will become quite busy with school, travelling and socials. 

Cultural and Environmental Observations

Milan has a great and rich culture. The Italians take passion in the quality of their food, wine, cars and especially fashion. The Italians are very stylish, especially in Milan so Joggers and a hoodie will make you stand out. So, pack your nice clothing if you want to fit in as a Milanese Italian. You can always do some shopping while you are there, in my opinion it is the best city in the world for shopping.

Social and Extracurricular Activities

Milan is a great city to live in. There are tons of fun bars and restaurants to go to and a lot of great shopping. Most of your pass time in Milan will be shopping and going out for food/drinks.  

Wrap Up

Overall, exchange can be a challenging time. It is a lot of work and planning just to get there. Then once you are in Milan, you are in a foreign city with no friends or family. But facing adversity is a part of the experience. You will create lifelong friends and have memories that will last a lifetime. When you push yourself outside of your comfort zone there is so much to experience. To give a few tips for upcoming exchange students, go to every event held by ESN Bocconi during the first 2 weeks, and travel as much as you can. But do not skip a lot your classes Bocconi requires you attend a minimum 80% of class to take the midterm and final exam.

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

Reflecting back on my experience I would love to do it again. Tips I would provide our go to all your classes, go to every social, travel with friends as much as possible and immerse yourself into the Italian culture.  

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

The most valuable aspect is pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and facing adversity. You will become more confident, well rounded and willing to take more risks in the future. 

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

Bocconi is one of the top business schools in Europe. Their exams are quite difficult but you will learn a lot. I loved attending my classes. I studded International finance, Derivatives and entrepreneurship in the fashion industry. Studying international business abroad is one of the best ways to truly learn international business. Likewise, studying fashion in Milan, there is no better place, after all it is the fashion capitol of the world.

Advice for Future Students

My overall advice would be push yourself outside your comfort zone, travel a lot, go to as many socials as possible and immerse yourself in their culture. 

Author

Jack Peccia

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Finance
Study Abroad › Exchange
visibility  240
Jul 20, 2023