Ciao from Istituto Marangoni!

Student Life at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan – our fist weeks :)

Welcome to Milan, 

the city of fashion, design, finance, business, the capital of Lombardy and, despite its population of only 1.4 million, probably the only Italian city with a cosmopolitan metropolitan character. Milan has a multitude of sights to offer. The most famous are probably the Milan Cathedral and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which were of course our first stops when we, Flurina and I, arrived in Milan in October. Since then, we have been exploring and letting ourselves be surprised by the pretty corners of the city. One of the most beautiful corners for me is Brera, the city’s art district. Here you can find vintage fashion markets and many nice Italian bars and cafes. The Palazzo di Brera is also best known for its spectacular courtyard and famous Pinacoteca. If you are looking for something green in the city, the „Parco Sempione“ is the right place to be. Milan’s city park begins with the Castello Sforzesco, the castle of Milan’s ruling families, and ends with the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace). 

But now enough with the sightseeing,

we also have to go to university :)

Our first day at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan started on 11th of October 2021. Excited and eager to find out what to expect, a small group of girls first gathered in front of the university. It quickly turned out that they were the other part of the Macromedia students with whom we are spending the next couple of months in Milan together. After everyone got to know each other, our “first lesson“ started, basically an introduction and a warm welcome from the Istituto Marangoni. 

Our semester abroad at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan is divided into two units. Unlike at Macromedia, we have two exam periods, one after the winter break in January and the second at the end of the semester in March. We as Fashion Management and Fashion Journalism students have the same five subjects: 

Project planning, Microeconomics and Applied Economics until January and Business Planning and Intercultural communication from October until March.

We are learning from super interesting professors and lecturers, all with a fascinating fashion background (Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara and co.). So, if you want to get closer to the fashion industry and learn how the facets of fashion work in reality, Istituto Marangoni is the place to be.

Organisation & Housing 

When planning your semester abroad in Europe, probably the most important thing besides the flight is finding a place to live. It is important to start looking for accommodation early so that you don’t end up empty-handed. There are several websites that make it easier to find apartments in Milan, and the university also offers a wide range of support and has always been available to answer questions. The websites Uniplaces, Housinganywhere or Spotahome are particularly good for finding a room in an already existing shared flat, the monthly rent for your own room starts at around 450€. Airbnb is a great place to find flats for yourself or to rent larger properties if you plan to move into a shared flat with other Macromedia students once the semester starts. However, you should keep in mind that if you are looking for a flat on your own, the prices in Milan are very expensive, especially on Airbnb, and it is even more advisable to search soon. 

The Istituto Marangoni offers a WhatsApp service if you have any questions about finding a flat. They have collaborations with the websites Dotstay, Milano Home, Spotahome. These are best for longer stays, i.e. for the semester abroad. Duomo Hotel & Apartments and 21WOL Milano Centro are suitable for shorter stays, i.e. if you are looking for a place to stay for the first few weeks before you start looking for a flat locally. Thanks to the cooperation, you get a 10-25% discount on the service fee for some of the services provided by the agencies. 

But enough with the facts, let’s move on to Flurina´s story:

Well, when I arrived in Milan in October, a surprise was waiting for me. The room I booked on Uniplaces looked nothing like the pictures on the website and it was super dirty, I didn’t feel comfortable in it at all. 

But don’t worry, there is an option to contact Uniplaces within 24 hours to report any discrepancies. The agency reacted very quickly and understandingly and it was no problem at all to move out earlier, even though I had actually rented the room until March. The tip I would give to prevent this from happening is that even if you have booked the flat through an agency, you should contact the landlord yourself to arrange a face-time date to see the room. 

It sounds quite daunting when you are alone in a new country and must move out of your flat straight away and are “left with nothing”. But through the websites and the support from the university, you will always find a solution. I, for example, found my new flat by pure coincidence. My parents visited me at the beginning and booked their stay via Booking.com. They just happened to tell their landlord that I was unhappy with my flat and she had a friend by coincidence who rented out her flat. 

Let me say that Italians are probably some of the nicest and most helpful people, because although the landlord of course hardly knew my parents and not me anyway, she made sure that I found a flat as quickly as possible and always kept in contact with me by phone. 

Not only the city itself, but the Italian mentality in general is definitely a great reason to do your semester abroad in Italy. Those have now been our first weeks in Milan :)

Best wishes and see you very soon, 

Katharina and Flurina