The final hours at Bocconi
My study abroad has come to an end. On December 20 2019 I took my last final exam. I am still uncertain of what my grades were for all 4 exams I took, but I am proud of my work. I am very proud of myself for going to highly ranked business school in Italy, and I took business courses in Italian. It was a very challenging experience at times, and I did have my moments of feeling overwhelmed and like a failure. As I mentioned, I did not feel very good about my management exam. I came out of that exam feeling I failed. There was a moment when I was walking home that I just wanted to cry. I felt stupid, like I had completely missed the mark on everything I read. It was a difficult moment and I did not take it very well at the moment.
However, after sitting and thinking about the situation I was in, I realized I should be proud. No matter what happens with that score, I was one of a few foreign students taking classes in a foreign language. All the other friends I made that were also Erasmus students, were taking all their classes in English. I only took one class in English. This isn’t even my second language, this is my third language. Maybe I should be more worried about the outcome, but I really tried my absolute hardest. I went to every lecture, I read all the materials required, and I studied until the last second. There is still doubt in my mind about my score, but I have finally come to terms with not letting this define me. I shouldn’t have felt stupid after my exam, because I am not stupid. It just wasn’t my day.
School ends, Holiday starts
There is something about finals season that always gets me down. I have noticed this pattern that I always think less of myself around this time. I’m always tired and I often get sick. I usually suspect this is out of stress, but that shouldn’t be happening every finals season. However, the feeling of a weight being lifted off my shoulders, always feels amazing. Every time I turn in my final exam, I feel like I can breath again. That was no different while abroad. In fact, I think it felt even better being in Italy because I had such a difficult time at times. As soon as I exited the examination room I took a deep breath and smiled. I listened to my current obsession of music (Shawn Mendes and Fleetwood Mac) and walked home.
Once I arrived home I got right to picking up my mess. I had books and notes laying around the house. It was time to clean my space and get into the holiday spirit. My roommate and I decided to go out and just enjoy the city, maybe do some shopping. I remember that day very clearly, because it had been a few days since I had genuinely felt happy. For almost three weeks I was miserable and tired and stressed. On Thursday 20 December 2019, I was happy again. Not only me but my roommate was also herself again. We both had a bit of a rough time and we kept trying to keep each other up. We could finally enjoy the Christmas celebrations around the city, without feeling like we’re wasting time.
One Last Exploration
With the end of the semester, it meant a lot of the people I was used to being around were going to be gone. This included my roommate. She has an early return flight. I am staying a little longer in Europe to spend some much needed vacation with some friends. I would have loved for her to stay and continue exploring with me, but she has to return home. For her last full day in Milan, my friend Erica, Alondra (my roommate) and I explored Milan one last time. First item in the agenda, visit the first Starbucks to open in Italy. Starbucks opened back in September, which I was lucky enough to witness. However, I had not gone in because the lines had been ridiculously long to even enter the establishment, let alone order anything.
We obviously could not leave Milan without checking it out at least once. It is absolutely nothing like the Starbucks back home. This is massive and oh so fancy. Before entering, there are guards at the doors regulating entry to the establishment. The front display is decorated with Christmas decorations. Upon entry, if you ignore the amount of people, the first thing you are greeted with is this giant machine. The coffee roasting machine is in the center of room catching your eye right away. There are two stations on the right and left of the entrance. In the back you can see a bar like area, and at the corner of your eye you catch a glimpse of a big mermaid statue mounted to the wall. This was truly like no other Starbucks I had seen.
Let’s keep Talking About Starbucks
Now that I have painted a brief picture of the display, lets get to the coffee and food. I have to admit that it is very pricey. Compared to other establishments that sell the same products as Starbucks, it is a little higher in price for the same quality. However, it did not really bother me that it was a little pricey. It is a one time trip and I am aware they are basically charging me for the locations and the decor. I’m a business student, I know their intentions and it’s a very smart play if I do say so myself. Back to the food. My friends and I decided to have lunch their because we were all starving. We settled on pizza. I do have to say the food was delicious.
Starbucks smartly partnered up with Princi a Milanese bakery. They provide all the pastries and other foods used in this Starbucks. When I say it’s worth the price, I absolutely mean it. It was very delicious and I do not understand why I was so surprised. A part of me, the cynical part, really thought this would be a bad idea. A Starbucks in one of the coffee capitals of the world? Ridiculous. However, the company did not implement the same business model to Milan because they are aware of the coffee culture in Italy. The coffee itself was very good. I had a cold brew with burnt cinnamon and a little bit of ginger ale, mint and lemon. Not the typical menu option you would see back home. Overall, good marks for the Milan Starbucks.
A sad Departure
Lastly, I would just like to wrap up my experience abroad. I came here really excited to learn and explore and grow. Thankfully, I accomplished all those things and more. To say my roommate and I came here being friends would be a lie, we barely knew each other. But after this experience and living with her I can now confidently say we are great friends. Without a hesitation in my mind we are friends. My experience here would have been completely different without her and for that I thank her. I know I will see her back home when we start school again, but saying good bye to her was extremely hard. I didn’t want her to go. She is my companion in this chapter of my life and when we finally had part, I tried my hardest not to tear up.
Like all good things, our experience had to come to an end. I will still see her and talk to her regularly, it will just be odd to go home and lay in bed at night without talking to someone about nothing and everything. Now, it is time to move on. Time to enjoy what little time I have left in Europe before I have to return to the States. If saying goodbye to my roommate was that difficult, I know departing Europe in general will also be hard. I have made a life here and it will be hard to leave it all behind and return to the life I had before coming. The independence I experienced felt so great, and it will be hard to return home and go back to living with my parents. Even if it is for only a year until I graduate.
Enough sadness. I still a little less than I month left in Europe and I am happy to report I will be enjoying my small vacation time before having to return home. I can’t thank everyone enough for making this such an enjoyable experience. Not only the people I met abroad, but also all the aid that FEA gave me. I couldn’t have possibly afforded this experience all on my own and I am grateful for all your help. This has really changed me as a person and it only confirms that this is what I love to do. Traveling and experiencing these types of experiences are what I am meant to do with my life.
I also surprisingly, found the business area in which I see myself working in. That being marketing. To that I thank my marketing professor for making this subject so interesting. I can now finally say I will specialize in marketing, specifically in the creative sector. I say specifically in the creative sector because my professor really highlighted that it is much easier to be a marketer if you are passionate about your sector. Therefore, the creative sector is my passion and I want to pursue that as a profession. Parting is such sweet sorrow, but it is time to say grazie e arrivederci.