7 Reasons to Learn Italian When Studying Abroad

Students chatting in front of bilingual signsSo, you’ve chosen Italy as your study abroad destination. You have your favorite travel guide and have read the latest blogs (including MilanoZine!) to find out more about your upcoming experience, where to travel, what to expect.

The only question you still have is a simple one: is it worth the time and effort to study Italian while you’re there? The language is really only spoken in Italy, a relatively small country, you think. You already speak English flawlessly. And, let’s face it, English is today’s #1 international language for business and travel. So why bother with a language that’s only spoken by around 85 million people around the world?

Because of these 7 excellent reasons, that’s why! Here are the top 7 reasons you absolutely have to study Italian while you’re in Italy.

    1. Become a prime candidate in industries of Italian excellence
      With an increasingly smaller world, speaking a foreign language is a great asset to have when looking for a job. And “Made in Italy” brands, especially fashion & design, food & beverage and the automotive industry, will really value your Italian language skills. Your CV will immediately stand out to prospective employers if you can boast a good level of Italian, unlike some of your peers.
    2. Become a master of other important skills
      There are lots of studies that look at the advantages of being bilingual. The idea is that learning (and regularly using) a foreign language can help develop other parts of the brain. Studies have shown that bilinguals are better at using their executive control system, more creative and better at making decisions. That means speaking more than one language can make you even smarter in other areas.
    3. Become a truly global citizen
      Polyglots are said to make up about half the world’s population, whether they speak more than one language and/or dialect. Learning Italian will open your eyes to the way Italy sees and interprets the world an make the world seem just a little bit smaller. In general, it’s easier to get exposed to and appreciate new and different points of view. So you can join the world’s other multilinguals and understand them a bit better.
    4. Become a better person
      Learning a foreign language involves a healthy dose of personal growth. You will learn more about yourself and how you see the world, and how that may change in a new language. And don’t underestimate the personal growth that comes from being a beginning language learner: it’s not easy to express your very grown-up thoughts and feelings using the vocabulary of a toddler!
    5. Become a favorite with the locals
      If you know the local language, it will be a lot easier for you to mingle with people living in Italy. From the guy serving your morning espresso to the lady selling you a train ticket, to the fans sitting next you at a soccer game, you’ll be able to communicate much easier if you speak Italian. It will also be easier to meet friends from Milan and other parts of Italy. So use your language skills and be a social butterfly!
    6. Become an expert on art, music and food jargon
      Did you know that chiaroscuro literally means light and dark? Or that allegro means happy? What about the correct way to pronounce bruschetta (the “c” is hard, not like the English “ch” sound)? There are tons of Italian loanwords in English, lots of which relate to art – the Renaissance had a pretty big influence – music – Verdi, opera, etc. were also pretty important – and of course food – the whole world truly does love Italian cuisine. So as you learn Italian, you’ll also learn more about all this vocab that’s already found in English. And you can show off your skills to all your friends back home who don’t speak the language.
    7. Become a speaker of Dante’s language
      And Petrarch’s, and Manzoni’s, and Levi’s and Eco’s. Italian literature is full of great writers, and if you know the language, you can read them in the original. From “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita / mi ritrovai per una selva oscura” (the first line of Dante’s Inferno) to “Quel ramo del lago di Como…” (the opening line of Manzoni’s I Promessi Sposi), you can get a better understanding of what these great writers have said, thus getting a better grasp of Italian culture and history.

These 7 reasons should be more than enough for you to get motivated… so, what are you waiting for? Check out a few of the schools offering Italian language courses in Milan or, if you’re a Bocconi student, get in touch with the Language Center for extracurricular classes. Buono studio!

Calling All Startups!

Groups of students working  looking at computer

Innovation. Scalability. Fast growth. These are all important when describing that special kind of new business, the startup. With tech use and skills now more widespread than ever, these kinds of companies seem to be everywhere. But there’s a lot more behind startups than just having an interesting and innovative idea. Business and management know-how is essential, not to mention funds and capital.

If all this seems overwhelming, don’t worry because a solution is at hand: Bocconi Startup Day!

This one-day event features a workshop on startups, entrepreneurship and innovation, to be held on 24 November. Anyone can participate in the workshop, but teams and businesses need to apply to be a part of two side activities: a Marketplace and a Startup Day Award.

The Marketplace is only open to any startup team that’s looking to develop their business idea or is already in the planning or launch stage and that includes a Bocconi student or alum. Eligible teams can apply to participate and, if selected, will have the chance to meet with venture capitalists, angel investors and private equity practitioners and present their ideas. They will also receive training taught by Bocconi faculty, venture capital practitioners, entrepreneurs and managers. What a great experience!

The Startup Day Award is open to already-established business in Italy that were founded in or after 2010. So if you have a business that is innovative, scalable, competitive and potentially an excellent employer, check out the rules and regulations for all the details.

Participation in the workshop is free, but registration is required. The event is still a few months away, so you have time to prepare. Just keep in mind that the deadline for registering is 7 September.

For all the latest info on Bocconi Startup Day, just check out their website.

Happy startupping!

#FoodSavingBEC Initiative for Undergraduate Students

Calling all undergraduate students! Are you interested in spending 1 week in Milan with 199 other students from around the world, to come up with innovative and creative ideas on how to decrease food waste?

With Expo Milan 2015 starting in a few months (the international fair will begin on 1 May of next year), the city is gearing up with a bunch of related events and initiatives, including the Short Food Movie competition, which was discussed in a previous post.

Another competition is #FoodSavingBEC, open to students enrolled in any undergraduate program at any university around the world.

Students participating in the week-long event will attend lectures with Bocconi faculty members and experts from partners of the initiative. They will also be divided into teams to find creative and innovative solutions to the problem of food waste and then vote for the top five ideas. The top teams will compete on the final day of the competition at the EXPO 2015 Italy Pavilion in front of a qualified panel of judges.

To apply for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, all you need to do is fill out the online application, upload a few documents like your transcripts, and submit a video introducing yourself and explaining why you should be a part of the competition, in English.

The 10 students with the most votes online will automatically be chosen to participate, while the other 190 students will be evaluated based on their entire application. And the top 5 students with the most votes who are from outside Italy will be offered round-trip airfare to Milan! All participants will be given lunch vouchers during the week-long program and students attending universities outside Milan will be hosted at a local residence hall.

What an opportunity! What are you waiting for? Go to the #FoodSavingBEC website to get more information and to apply. And for a quick intro on what it’s all about, watch the video below:

April Fools!

Starbucks on Bocconi campusSorry, readers, but there are actually no plans for a new Starbucks at Bocconi in the near future. It’s just a little joke we came up with to fool you! No Venti Lattes or Frappuccinos for all of you living in Milano, just regular Italian espresso and cappuccino. Which, some people argue, is the best coffee in the world!

Today we’re celebrating April Fools’ Day, or pesce d’aprile in Italian, which literally means “April fish.” This kind of holiday dates back to Roman times and Italian traditions include taping a paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting victims. So why not join in on the fun and make some paper fish for your friends?

Espresso cup and coffee maker

If you want even more craziness for the first day in April, here’s a video that was shot right here on the Bocconi campus:

Finding a Flat in Milano

From an early age many people, particularly males, are taught that men “don’t need anyone” in order to succeed, and that a real man can make it on his own without any help from anybody. Taking this belief as a gospel truth, the youth is taking the plunge to find their new home abroad where they usually come to get a university degree.  However, Milan is not the place where one can find the accommodation easily without having friends living there or spending late nights in front of computer screens while doing a research about all ins and outs of the housing in Milan. Therefore, if you think that you’re smart enough to find the room by yourself, believe me, you’re wrong! That’s because finding the right place in Milan depends on 30% luck, 20% patience and 50% information. So just let me give you some advices that, I hope, will make your hunting for a room less painful!

I step: Where can I find offers?

The websites where you can find apartments and rooms rented by locals or agencies are already provided here.

II step: What should I ask the landlord?

That’s the first thing I found myself thinking about when I called to the owner of the apartment that I found on ‘Bakeca’. If it is the first time you are searching for an accommodation in Milan, the following questions might be helpful to you!

  • Does the cost of the room/apartment include spese condominiali ? (service charges that usually includes heating and water)
  • Does the cost of the room/apartment include heating ( it. Riscaldamento)
  • Does the cost of the room/apartment include other utilities such as gas, electricity, internet, trash? (it. Bolletta della luce, gas, internet)
  • What is a security deposit for a room/apartment? (it. Caparra/ deposito/ cauzione)
  • What is the method of paying for a room/apartment? (sometimes you can come across with a word trimensile while looking through the offers. It means that you have to pay the rent every 3 months.)
  • Is there any possibility to sign the contract? ( If you need to sign a contract, it’s better to ask for a standard one which basically means that you’ll sign the contract for 4 years with a possibility to end it giving 3 months notice)
  • Who is living in the other rooms? ( in case you’re looking for a room)
  • Which intercom button should I press? (it.‘citofono’; in case you’d like to come to see the room/apartment)

After asking all of those questions, you should ask when it would be possible for you to come to see the apartment or just thank the person for his time and keep looking for other offers.

III step: what should I ask during the meeting?

  • Don’t forget to double check the information about the costs, deposit, contract.
  • How much notice you are obliged to give before leaving the room/apartment? ( usually it’s 3 months notice)
  • How much do the flat mates usually pay for gas, electricity, internet?
  • When you will be able to move in?
  • Is the furniture included in the rent? (there are some rooms without furniture so you may buy it by yourself or you could buy it from the person that was living in the room before you)

IV step: First come, first served

If you really liked the room/apartment after seeing it, don’t wait for too long! Say your final answer as soon as possible and ask the owner when you could sign the contract! Remember that it is extremely important to sign the contract as fast as you can since otherwise the room might be given to another person even though you said that you’re taking it! You know what they say – money speaks louder than words! So make sure you’re going to be served first.

Keep calm and happy hunting!
Looking for some more information? Check this out!

No Plans for the Weekend? Join the XXI Spring FAI Day!

XXI Spring Day PosterOn March 23rd and 24th 2013 FAI, the Italian Environment Fund, will open the doors of most of its treasures to the public and will attract a great amount of people throughout Italy for this event.

It will be an occasion to discover and rediscover Italian cultural heritage, to enjoy it but also to become more aware of what Italy offers in terms of art, history, culture and beauty. In past editions the event has involved more than 6.5 million people every year.
FAI is a national foundation that protects and restores historic buildings, art works and landscapes with the purpose of opening them to public once back to good conditions.

Villa scene
The Gardens of Villa Del Balbianello, Lenno (Como)

This year you will have the opportunity to choose among 700 places, and in some of them you will also find tourist guides (without set fees) that will help you discover the places. Churches, castles, historical buildings and archaeological areas, villas, courts, gardens, universities and much more are waiting for you for a special weekend to spend with your friends!

What can you visit in Lombardy?
Our region offers multiple sites to visit, spread on all the territories of the provinces. Have a look at the FAI website to discover what the provinces of Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantova, Milano, Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio and Varese offer you.

Building at night
Palazzo Serbelloni, Milano

A weekend in Milan, plenty of places to choose from!
If you planned to stay in Milan for the weekend, there’s no better way to welcome spring than choosing among the places FAI opens for you. You can choose among multiple places spread through all the city: for some of them you don’t need a subscription to FAI to enter, while for some others you’ll be required to register to the foundation first.

Have a look at the FAI website to explore all the possibilities Milan offers you for this weekend.
Some of the most attractive places in the city are waiting for you, such as Palazzo Serbelloni, Chiesa di San Fedele, Sinagoga Maggiore, La Cavallerizza, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Gallerie d’Italia and many others.

Bocconi building
Roentgen Building, Università Bocconi, Milano

Did you know that the Bocconi Roentgen building participates in the Spring Fai Day?
Roentgen Building, Università Bocconi, Milano
On Saturday March 23rd and Sunday March 24th from 10:00 to 17:00 the University opens the Roentgen building to visitors. There is also the possibility to join the guided tour in English, that leaves the Bocconi Campus at noon.

For more information, check out the Bocconi website and ViaSarfatti25.it.