Alright, it has officially been a week since I started my journey to Trento, Italy and I’ll tell you all one thing…it’s been a whirlwind. This post is geared towards anyone wanting to study at the University of Trento, with my impressions/experiences sprinkled throughout. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
I chose to fly into Milan because it was the cheapest option from NYC. 1st Note to any travelers – the Milan-Malpensa airport is NOT in the city of Milan, you have to take an additional train into the city. Once in the city you can walk, take a taxi/bus or the subway to your accomodations. I chose a taxi because I figured it would be the simplest (plus I was already flustered by the train ride into the city). 2nd note to any travelers – in Europe, even if you use a credit card it requires a pin. I did not know this and attempted (failed) to pay with my card. Luckily, I had some euros on me. Finally, 9.5 hours after leaving NY I got to my hotel, Hotel Rio, which is situated a block from the Piazza del Duomo a.k.a where all the action is.
I was only in Milan for the day and night so I visited the Duomo di Milano, and climbed up to the terraces. Afterwards I wandered through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The Galleria is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world, and arguably one of the most beautiful as well. I ended my time in Milan by being asked for directions to a local clothing shop… which I was pretty proud of after feeling completely lost the entire day.
Now, to get to Trento from Milan it’s not necessarily tricky but it does take one subway ride, and two trains. The journey is approximately 2.5-3 hours in total. On the trains, they have luggage areas for larger pieces of luggage, and racks overhead for the small pieces. MAKE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR LUGGAGE IN THE APPROPRIATE LOCATION. I did not and got a lot of dirty looks. ☹
When I arrived in Trento I received my room key and a map of the campus…along with a very confusing pamphlet containing recycling information. THAT’S IT. You are very much left to your own devices. When I arrived, we did not have access to Wi-Fi, we were not informed about the customs surrounding the shared kitchen, where the laundry was located, how the bus system worked, or anything about our courses. Luckily, on my first night here I met an Italian student who shared a lot of much needed information about the location of places and how things worked.
I received a welcome week schedule before I arrived and knew I had to be down in the city center for all our activities. However, I had no idea how the buses worked (or the fact you buy bus tickets at tobacco shops, yes you read that right). In another stroke of luck, I ran into another student who knew his way around and we made it to the orientation session. The orientation session was of minimal help. During the session, we were told about additional services (library card/gym card) but the university provided no information on our specific courses. I would recommend e-mailing the administration separately, before you arrive to get course schedules. Stay on top of the administration, and beware of opening hours because they are limited. Oh, and be prepared to be old. America is the only place (so far) that requires a bachelors degree + a 3 year juris doctorate to practice law. Every other person from a different country that I have spoken to only requires a bachelors or masters of law!
My first week in Trento I got lost walking around Trento every single day, multiple times a day, took the wrong bus (for quite awhile), butchered any Italian I tried to speak, and had zero idea how to get out of the grocery store (you have to scan a receipt before the gate will open).
BUT…despite all the crazy…Trento is breathtaking. The city is gorgeous, and the students I have met here are warm and welcoming. Somehow, I earned the honor of carrying the blue-tooth speaker during our campus tour, and although it was INCREDIBLY embarrassing I met a lot more students because of this incident. Never in my life have I met so many individuals from so many different countries… Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, Poland, Finland, Czech Republic, Portugal, The Philippines, Israel, Netherlands, Germany, England, Ireland, Canada, Italy, and many more I’m sure I have yet to meet.
Even though we come from all over the world we are all experiencing the same things. The story about getting stuck in the grocery store…that happened to at least two other people I’ve met. One girl, while sharing her stories, put it really well… “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” when these things happen. Culture shock is real but it happens to everyone. If you ever travel or move to a different country instead of stressing about not knowing the language or looking ridiculous you truly just have to stop, take in your surroundings, embrace the situation, and remember that everyone else is experiencing similar situations and feelings. Despite being a clueless American (the only American), I am SO grateful for this experience and excited for classes to begin tomorrow!
(On a different note, here are some pictures of Milano+ My New Home. Enjoy!
Duomo di Milano.
View From My Room.
Becoming one w/ the Milano pigeons.
Even the word “law” sounds better in Italian. 🙂 —University of Trento Law School