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!

The Best Art Exhibits in Milan in Spring 2016

You’ve chosen to study in Italy, a country famous for its food culture, its stunning landscapes and its art history. But as soon as you land in Milan, you realize that it’s a city famous for fashion and design, yes, but also business, finance and… maybe soccer. What about the art? Compared to other Italian cities like Rome and Florence, it might not be as blatant, but art is definitely an important part of Milan’s identity, as long as you know where to look.

In fact, there are so many choices in a city like Milano, it can be overwhelming. So we’ve selected a few of the best temporary art exhibits you can visit around the city… right now! They all feature Italian artists, focusing on restored artwork, urban paintings, futurism, art in Milan in the early 20th century or contemporary art, take your pick!

Rediscovered BeautyPortrait of Malta Knight by Caravaggio
To showcase recently restored artwork, the Intesa Sanpaolo Foundation has put together an exhibit of a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, other objects and archaeological artifacts from museums all over Italy (and one museum in Slovakia). Artists include Caravaggio, Perugino and Lotto, with a total of 140 works restored and brought together in Milan. Definitely worth a visit!
When
: 1 April-17 July 2016
Where: Gallerie d’Italia, Piazza della Scala 6; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €5

Mosè Bianchi: Lost Milan
Ever wonder what Milano looked like in the 1800s? From the Duomo, to the Colonne di San Lorenzo to the Navigli, many monuments were the same, but the details surrounding them were very different. Check out this exhibit of paintings of the city by an Italian artist from Monza.
When: 18 March-26 June 2016
WhereGAM Manzoni, Via Manzoni 45; M3 Montenapoleone
Admission: €6

Umberto Boccioni: Genius and MemorySelf-portrait of Boccioni, 1909
Futurism was an art movement that took over Italy at the turn of the 20th century. And one of the most famous and influential futurist artists was Umberto Boccioni, who passed away 100 years ago. Find out more about this very Italian style and see 280 works of art by Boccioni, including drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, books, magazines and documents.
When: 23 March-10 July 2016
WherePalazzo Reale, Piazza del Duomo 12; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €13

Milan Galleries Between the Two Wars
Between WWI and WWII, the city of Milano was fertile ground for artists and intellectuals, who often met in the galleries around the city. A number of artistic movements were born or matured, including futurism, chiarismo and aeropittura. This exhibit brings together 100 works of art, including paintings, sculpture and related documents, for a complete look at the art of the time.
When: 25 February-22 May 2016
Where: Fondazione Stelline, Corso Magenta 61; Mi M2 Cadorna
Admission: €8

La grande scacchiera installationBonus 1-day art event:
BAG-Bocconi Art Gallery
Did you know you can see a wide range of contemporary works of art right here on the Bocconi campus? Every year, the campus opens its doors to the public during Bocconi Art Gallery, offering guided tours, talks with the artists themselves and live music. It’s a fun evening, especially for anyone looking to find out more about the Italian and international contemporary art scene.
When: 12 May, starting at 5:30pm
WhereBocconi University, Via Sarfatti 25; M3 Porta Romana
Admission: Free

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:

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.