10th February 2017. I began my first Italian language course with Linguae Mundi with the aim of knowing enough Italian to get by in Milan. The chance to study in Italy for a year has been my aim since I was in Sixth Form, applying for a university place in Coventry so it was important that I did whatever it took to be awarded a place.

The lessons with Betty were interesting to say the least. 6pm-8pm on a Friday after a full day studying my primary course may have been the main reason I didn’t completely reach my goal of knowing plenty of Italian. But I attended, and I tried, at least I can say that.

9th May 2017. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore received my application to their university and I was sent forms to fill in to complete the application. Although they were quite confusing, I completed them with the anxious feeling of hope that they would accept me. I looked at the module list and chose modules that related to photography and media.

31st May 2017. The annual photography picnic was held at Coventry Memorial Park. We arrived there at noon and soon after that, four of us received the news that we had secured our place at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. This was one of the highlights of my second year at university. We filled in everything that was required from the university and received the confirmation from the International advisor in Italy called “Francesca PASTA” (how ironic). It was then time to start some serious planning…

Weeks passed by and it was time to start looking at accommodation. The five of us moving there decided to make a group chat so that we could organise things together. At first we agreed that it would be a good start to search the Internet for agencies that dealt with accommodation for students. I emailed our International advisor and was told some websites to look at for available housing. One of them websites was called UniPlaces. Apparently a well used website in Europe, we searched it for accommodation. It was quite expensive to live in Italy and a lot of places were out of our price range. With each week that passed, the more stressful the situation became.

I then decided I would email one of the UniPlaces advisors. I sent them details of what we were looking for and our budget and finally we found a place, a modern apartment in the Navigli area of Milan. One person decided to live alone instead of with the rest of us so it became easier to find smaller, affordable apartments. We sent our application for the apartment on 27th August and shortly received confirmation that the three of us had obtained it for our duration in Italy!

This meant that we just had to book our flights to Milan and then a way to get to the apartment. We agreed that for the first flight we would fly to Italy together. This made it a lot easier, however flights were quite expensive as we had left it late to plan and also there wasn’t an airport near all of us. Danny was then responsible for booking our transfer from the airport to the apartment. You can read all about that drama in my next blog post.

In the end we all agreed to fly from Birmingham airport, which was a two and a half hour drive from my house. We quickly booked the flight and it was done! All we had to do now was figure out how to move a whole years worth of belongings into two suitcases with airline restrictions.

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