Architecture Education in Italy: Culture and Meaning February 13, 2019

By (Oklahoma State University - Stillwater) - abroad from 09/10/2018 to 12/23/2018 with

Politecnico di Milano: Milan - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much. From looking at education differently, looking at the world and its institutions differently. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was really challenging and different. Also there were very interesting and beneficial electives available. My only complaint is that I got pretty lucky to have taken all English courses, as there were not very many spots in proportion to the amount of students, and this was very stressful and could cause problems in the future.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Dealing with a lot of students so I think the administration is very overloaded most of the time. Doesn't really seem like they are available for help when you need them. However, the international office is much better at this and is more helpful to exchange students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living was pretty sparse, but I was able to live in a recommended student living dorm (private) that was very cheap and located near public transportation.

* Food:

As a vegetarian, there were limited options, but grocery stores were not too expensive and had everything I needed.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I learned how to navigate and how to blend in, but I would not say I identified with the culture at all.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues, but my insurance was accepted pretty easily.

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe most of the time. I was never pick-pocketed, and for the most part everyone kept to themselves.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I think it was the best place I could have gone.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I did not go out very often and ate most of my meals at home.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at home. Find cheap grocery stores.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I'm not really sure how to rank this, but everyone naturally spoke Italian but also many spoke English.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 0
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you want to learn the language, take courses in that language. Even if it is hard, many students were willing to help out those who didn't understand very well.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Courses
  • Urban Environment
  • Activities
* What could be improved?
  • Incoming University communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that it would feel very normal for the most part. I feel like a lot of the times this experience is glamorized and people act like its the best time ever. In reality, it is hard a lot of the time. Only when I returned did I truly appreciate where I was and what I did. I'm not sure but I just wish I knew it was normal to feel normal or want to just stay in for the night / weekend.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Architectural Design Studio III

Course Department: AUID
Instructor: Camillo Magni
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was very challenging and interesting in terms of the coursework and teaching style. We had a single project for the entire semester, which allowed for a thorough analysis of the context and development of our strategy. Additionally, the professors were very knowledgeable about urban design and architectural theory, which created a challenging environment to produce quality work. The grading was based on three intermediate presentations and the final presentation.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Art History

Course Department: AUIC
Instructor: Giovanni Gardella
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Not too challenging, the lectures were very slow but the test was very comprehensive. There were five texts required for outside reading that needed to be purchased for an English copy. The test was an oral examination over the entire course.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Elements of Architectural Typology

Course Department: AUIC
Instructor: Antonella Contin
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The lectures were difficult to understand due to the dense theoretical discussion and some language barrier issues. However, the grading was based on 4 research papers done throughout the semester and a final project. The assignments were based on theoretical academic texts done by famous Architects / authors and were very beneficial in developing a better architectural understanding.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Sociology of Contemporary Cities

Course Department: AUIC
Instructor: Marco Arlotti
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Amazing course with very interesting material. The instructor was extremely well versed in the subject, and was able to synthesize an impressive amount of material into his class slides. Additionally, he provided all the required readings in a convenient method, and the readings were precise and relevant to the topics. The grading was based on a final group presentation that was guided by the professor during intermediate reviews, and a final exam composed of a few short answer essays.
Credit Transfer Issues: No