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international programs

Milan, Italy

program description



The City

Situated near the lake district of northern Italy, in a pivotal position between Rome and northwestern Europe, Milan has truly been a commercial, industrial, and cultural crossroads throughout history. Napoleon recognized its importance when he made it the capital of his Italian Republic in 1802. It was also in Milan where, in 313 AD, the Emperor Constantine granted freedom of worship to Christians. The world’s fourth largest church, a Gothic cathedral located in the Piazza del Duomo, was commissioned in 1386 and is today the architectural crown jewel of the city. Milan is also home to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and the famed opera house La Scala. Although nearly 80% of the city was destroyed in World War II, Milan was rebuilt and has since become a revitalized center of industry, commerce, and design. Milan rivals Paris as the fashion capital of Europe and the world. The city is the cultural and economical center of Lombardy, the wealthiest and most developed region in the country. Home to approximately 1.6 million inhabitants, it is a city of artistic, historical, and cultural richness. Just three hours from Florence and Venice and five hours from Rome, Milan is easily accessible by train to other major cities in Italy and Europe.

The University

In 1902, Bocconi University was established as a private institution with a generous endowment from Ferdinando Bocconi, a wealthy merchant commemorating his son who had disappeared in an overseas battle. Appropriately located in downtown Milan, the heart of Italian commerce, Bocconi was the first Italian university to grant a degree in economics. A century later, it is considered the top school in Italy for the study of economics and a leading European university for economics and business administration. Bocconi, which also has a faculty of law, is committed to education with a global perspective. In addition to its approximately 13,000 undergraduates, Bocconi hosts over 500 exchange students each year from more than 100 partner schools in 44 countries.

The Program

The Bocconi University exchange program provides BC students with an opportunity to immerse themselves in one of the leading universities in Europe, where they can take courses in economics, business administration, and law. A wide variety of courses taught in English are available. Students with sufficient language background may also take courses in Italian. Prior to the start of the academic year, students spend several weeks developing Italian language skills through an intensive Italian course. Following this course, students enroll in a minimum of four university courses taught in English or Italian.

Orientation/Academic support

Bocconi has designed cultural orientation sessions to assist exchange students in understanding Italy and Italian culture as well as adapting to the new environment. These orientation sessions take place during the Early Start intensive Italian course. Topics addressed in the past include “Cross-Cultural Management,” “Society, Economy, and Character of the Italians through Movies,” “The Italian Economy,” and “Fashion and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Approach.”
Two academic advisors are available to help exchange students choose their courses at Bocconi and are also available to offer assistance throughout the semester.
Students register for courses prior to arriving in Milan as directed by Bocconi.


For students wishing to gain practical work experience in Italy, internships (“stages”) within Italian or multinational banks and corporations can be arranged by Bocconi. Participants need to have some Italian language skills, which can be gained through a language course during the semester. Students may take part in an internship only during the semester/summer immediately following study abroad.


Bocconi offers housing in four private student residences and two other residences, which are privately managed. Exchange students are eligible to apply for this housing, but a limited number of rooms are available. Students who do not live in these residences live in off-campus apartments.


A group of Bocconi students formed a student organization called SEN (Student Exchange Network), which hosts social activities for exchange students throughout the semester. Other activities are also offered by the International Office at Bocconi, and may include a welcome reception and a specially priced performance at La Scala. There is also a small athletic center at Bocconi, which has facilities for weightlifting and aerobics.