Period on Exchange: Semester 2, 2012

What courses did you study?

  • International Law
  • Intellectual Property and Competition Law
  • No Profit Organisation Law
  • Advanced European Law
  • Introduction to the legal system module 1

Why did you choose that university?

I was always fascinated by Europe and I knew that I wanted to explore the continent further after holidaying there a year earlier. I narrowed my choices down to a few European universities that offered law courses in English. What stood out to me was the university’s excellent reputation as one of Europe’s top business schools and the fact that it was internationally oriented in business, economics and law. I was impressed that most of my lecturers had very interesting and diverse backgrounds. Other factors that influenced my decision were my love for the Italian cuisine and the location of the university. Milan is an excellent travel hub for flying out to various Italian/European cities at low prices.

How does studying law overseas compare to studying at UNSW?

I had a very diverse experience studying at Bocconi: my law lecturers ranged from an enthusiastic French IP lecturer to a Doctor/Ex-Boy Scout Leader. Some lecturers would switch between Italian and English while other lecturers would only speak in English. The main difference between UNSW and Bocconi was that Bocconi lecturers will not follow or refer to the prescribed textbooks. Studying for exams was quite confusing as there was no link between the lecture slides and the textbooks. Some lecturers refused to upload lecture slides or class handouts in order to encourage students to attend class. This was especially frustrating for students who chose to be non-attending. Despite having to attend classes 18 hours per week, the readings were much lighter than what is required at UNSW. There were not many assignments during the semester, mostly 50- 100% exams. Two of my classes had group work which was optional and provided bonus marks. Unfortunately, exams were all closed book. I also took an oral exam which I found to be quite daunting.

What was the cost of living compared to Australia?

In terms of food and public transport, I found that the costs of living in Milan were quite similar to living in Australia. Transport was quite affordable once we received our student monthly tram passes (30 euros per month). Eating out can be quite affordable if you don’t mind pasta/pizza/aperitivo every night. In terms of shopping, I found that mid to high end brands were significantly cheaper in Milan/Italy. I thought my accommodation was a bit expensive considering that we were living quite far away from the city centre/university.

What was your accommodation arrangement?

I was placed in the international exchange student housing (Arcobaleno) which was located outside the city - about a 30-40 minute tram ride. I had my own bedroom and shared a bathroom/ mini kitchen (sink, microwave and mini fridge) with a roommate. There were 3 shared kitchens on each floor. We had our own air conditioners and heaters which were on only during certain times of the day.

What were the highlights of your experience?

One of my most memorable moments was taking in the views on the highest point of Capri. We watched a thunderstorm form on top of the ocean and arrive on the island minutes later as we descended on a chairlift. Other highlights include the Oktoberfest and Lake Como trips organized by ESN Bocconi, watching Coldplay live in Warsaw and Bon Iver live in Milan, riding quad bikes around Santorini and Cappadocia.

What were the main challenges you faced, if any?

The biggest challenge I faced was seeking medical treatment for an eye infection. A miscommunication with the university nurse left me half blinded and in tears during exams. However I was lucky to find English speaking staff and an eye doctor at the local hospital after a four hour wait. The other main challenge was the language barrier. Although I attended Bocconi’s Italian Crash Course, I found the languages classes quite difficult to follow as the teacher could only speak Italian and minimal amounts of English. It was particularly challenging during the exams as the teachers gave all the instructions in Italian.

Jenny Leung