EAGLES Life

What are the residences at Politecnico di Milano like?
What is Milan like?
Is it easy to travel?
Common Italian Quirks
What are classes like?
What are the exams like?

If you have any other questions about life in the EAGLES program that are not answered on this page feel free to contact me.


What are the residences at Politecnico di Milano like?

I can only speak for Casa Dello Studente because this is the residence I chose to live in. If you want more information like pricing, how to apply, and information about the other residences you can check out the official Politecnico di Milano residence website here: http://www.residenze.polimi.it/?l=1. The rest of this section is my personal experience at the Casa Dello Studente residence.

I had a private room with a shared bathroom, which is, in my opinion, the best of all worlds because I get my own space but still have a flatmate to hang out with/ talk to. The bathroom is really small but the room is huge. Below are some pictures of what my room looked like:

My room from the angle of me standing in the doorway

There are two common kitchens per floor which have a larger refrigerator, but I have never needed it or used it. One downside is there are no ovens only stove tops, which I think is for safety reasons or something, but is super annoying because you can’t bake anything. There are microwaves in the kitchens so you can reheat things and many people have their own microwaves/toaster oven which are technically prohibited but if you don’t flaunt them in the open are generally overlooked.

Also, in this residence, the bathroom is cleaned everyday except Sundays and your personal room is cleaned(like the floors are washed, windows are cleaned, shelves are dusted, etc.) once every two weeks, which I loved. Probably the best part is this is the closest residence to campus so you can roll out of bed at 8am for an 8:15am class and be on time.

There are also shared rooms that are smaller in Casa Della Studente, but they are also cheaper, so it really depends on what you want. There are many study rooms in this building as well as a  cafeteria on the first floor. There is a “gym”, but it is like a high school gym(there’s no exercise equipment or anything) it’s more for running or playing soccer or basketball.

There are some limitations of this residence, mainly that you need to sign guests in and they must leave a valid form of identification, which is a passport or permisso Sogiourno. Trust me a US driver’s license is NOT considered a valid form of identification in Italy. Also guests are not allowed in the residence after 12pm and before 8am(no overnight guests). If someone visits you and wants to stay overnight you must pay and you need to tell them well in advance because they actually give guests spare rooms in the building(technically they can’t just crash on your floor but it’s not like they actually check to make sure the guest is sleeping in another room) and if there aren’t any spare rooms then you can’t have a guest. Usually they are pretty reasonable about this and if you let them know about a week or two in advance and pay the money(10-15 euros per night) it shouldn’t be a problem.

Everything considered, I would definitely recommend this residence to anyone in the EAGLES program, but it is difficult to get into so you should apply for housing ASAP in order to get a spot.


What is Milan like?

I personally am not a huge fan of Milan and most International students and other Italians I met in my travels feel the same way. I think stems from the fact that Milan is not the friendliest city and it is more industrial than the rest of Italy, which makes it more fast paced. But Milan definitely has some major attractions. It houses “The Last Supper” a super famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci and arguably one of the most influential pieces of art in history. It also has the Teatro Della Scala, which is a beautiful old theater that has plays and musical performances. I went to see the theater’s Philharmonic Orchestra there and really enjoyed the whole experience. The Duomo, which is the large Cathedral in Milan, is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen and it’s free to go in and look around, so it’s definitely worth seeing. Also, Milan has a really good soccer(calcio) team, so if you are into sports you can check out a live game. Milan also has TONS of fashion, which is cool even if you aren’t into the whole fashion scene just because people look interesting.


Is it easy to travel?

Yes! Milan is very far North in Italy so it is very close to Switzerland, France and Austria. Also, flights around Europe are very cheap. For example, I got a roundtrip flight to Madrid for 80euros(about $100), but you can get even cheaper flight is you are flexible with your dates and times. Check out my Tips for Travel section for more info about how to travel cheaply and easily.

Common Italian Quirks

I’m sure you’ve heard of culture shock and as much as you try to prepare yourself for it, it happens. So here are some things that surprised me when I came here.

1)) Milan gets a bad reputation for having an attitude problem. I wish I could say this wasn’t well deserved, but I have found that many people in Milan are kind of rude, even to other Italians but especially to foreigners who don’t speak English well. This is not true everywhere and I have found some nice little shops with very friendly people who help you out if you are having trouble explaining what you need/want in Italian. If you need directions or something, try and find someone who looks college age because they are usually the nicest and most helpful.

2) This video was made to demonstrate the difference between Italy and Europe(really the rest of the world) and put up on youtube. It is hilarious but sadly also very true and sums up a lot of the Italian quirks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAJNFoHuLno

3) Many stores do not stick to their posted opening hours. If a store says it’s open from 9am-5pm that usually means they are open from around 9:30-10am until maybe 4:30pm if you are lucky. This is not true of everywhere and official offices are usually open during the hours they are supposed to be, but be aware that this does happen(especially at banks for some reason) and try not to get too bent out of shape about it.

4) Gypsies are everywhere, including on the university campus, and they will try to give you a “gift” of a bracelet or something but then they chase you around for money. They are especially prevalent in crowded touristy areas like the Duomo and will try and force bread crumbs into your hand so the birds flock to you and then in the confusion they chase you around asking for money. It’s crazy but you just have to be firm and say no and walk away. This was hard for me at first because I didn’t want to be rude, but it’s not rude, it’s just how you have to deal with them or your going to spend 10euros for a piece of string tied around your wrist.

What are classes like?

The class structure in Italy is very different than in America and especially different than Drexel. There is no homework given and your entire grade depends on one exam grade. To learn about the exams go to What are the exams like?the section.

I can’t really comment on the difficulty of classes because that really depends upon the person taking them, but if you want information/materials from on the specific classes I took you can contact me here.

An important note about classes is that the official starting times are usually quarter hours, but they usually don’t start on time. For example, the earliest classes begin at 8:15am and Italian lessons are usually from 6:15pm-8:15pm. However, it is very rare for a professor to start on time and most classes start at the half hour, so an 8:15am class really starts at 8:30am, so don’t worry if you get out of class at 10:15am and have another class that is supposed to start at the same time in a building across campus. The only exception to this is the free Italian lessons that are required as part of the EAGLES program. These almost always begin on time, but you don’t get a grade for these classes so it’s not a big deal. Just make sure you show up to at least 70% of the classes and you will get a certificate of participation.


What are exams like? 

Sometimes there are two exams or you can take an oral exam to bring up your written exam grade, but most of the time is is just one written or one oral exam. The nice thing is that you have multiple chances to take the exams. Try to study throughout the term because it is nearly impossible to pass by cramming at the last moment because there is so much information that you are accountable for.

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1 thought on “EAGLES Life”

  1. A wonderful blog… unfortunately it’s not updating… Thank you for sharing all these 🙂

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