Studying Italian in Milan: Mónica’s story
Monica is an architect. She is happy to live in Milan with her love and to learn a new language!
Our chat with Mónica
Hi Monica! Tell us a little about yourself and your arrival in Milan.
Hello! My name is Mónica Raquel Lozano Sandoval but all my friends call me Monica. I was born in Mexicali, a city in the north of Mexico, in the state of Baja California on the border with the United States. I am twenty-eight and I am an architect. In Mexico I worked as a freelance architect and as a real estate appraiser. I arrived in Milan in January 2020, a difficult period for the events known to all but equally interesting.
Why did you choose to come to Milan and how did you find ELLCI?
I moved to Italy to live with my Italian boyfriend, after we met in Spain, during Erasmus 7 years ago. I chose to attend the language course of the Ellci school to improve my Italian and in the meantime have the opportunity to enter a new context for me.
I came to Milan on vacation in the summer of 2019 and I had already read about the Ellci school through my internet searches, so I took the opportunity to go in person to ask for some information. I found the teacher Dalila who was very kind and helpful in explaining their educational offer and the enrollment procedure.
Before moving to Italy, however, I had already begun to attend Italian lessons, in a course organized by a school in my city.
What was the reason that prompted you to leave and live in Italy?
The main reason was for my boyfriend, since we lived at a distance for some time, so we decided to embark on a new path together in Milan where he was already working. However, I have always been fascinated by Italy, especially for my studies as an architect which introduced me to a lot of Italian culture, art and architecture.
What documents are needed to live and study in Italy?
To study in Italy, being Mexican, to attend a study course lasting more than 3 months, I had to apply for a study visa from the Italian consulate in Mexico City. It was necessary to present: my passport, a letter of invitation that the school had provided me, proof of availability of accommodation in Italy, health insurance valid for the period of study requested and proof of the availability of adequate financial means (Bank account balance)
What was your level of Italian when you arrived? Did you have difficulty initially?
Since I had already studied in Mexico, I came to Ellci to start the course for level B1, when I arrived in Italy I was already able to understand the spoken language less thanks to the fact that I speak Spanish, a very similar language (but it is a pity that it is not just the same!). At first I was a little refused to speak Italian at home with my boyfriend because we were used to speaking Spanish to each other, but I soon got a taste for it!
Did you find any differences between the Italian course in ELLCI and the previous courses?
A difference that I noticed in the new lessons and that they explain everything to us in Italian (it is forbidden to use English lessons to explain). It seems like a bit of a tough technique but you soon don’t notice it anymore and see the results.
How has your life changed in Milan compared to your country of origin?
My routine has changed a lot due to the fact that I have stopped working (temporarily). I was used to working all day until 9 or 10 in the evening so I couldn’t stop for a moment! I arrived in Milan, I started attending the course and I felt a bit strange to be without the constant pressure of work. I can also say that it was a bit difficult not to be able to start the day with the typical Mexican breakfast (I was used to having breakfast with a salty meal) and replace it with a cappuccino and a croissant. In addition to these small habits, the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly changed the pace of life for everyone. For now, however, I am very happy. Obviously I miss many things, my family first of all, but I love living in Milan! I hope to soon have the opportunity to find a job as an architect, this will be my next challenge.
One thing you like about living in Italy and one thing you don’t like
My boyfriend is the first thing I like very much! The second thing, but no less important, is the fact that a short distance away you can find many places and cities to visit: cities full of art and history are within a few hours by train from each other. Where I grew up in America, the distances are completely different. I like people, I am lucky to have the pleasure of meeting so many kind people, Italian food (especially Sicilian) is unmatched.
Speaking specifically of Milan I have not found particular things that I do not like, but I have noticed that there are evident differences in the city between some well-kept, clean neighborhoods or with beautiful shop windows, trendy clubs and on the contrary there are neighborhoods a little more neglected and dirty, but I think this is a problem for all big cities anywhere in the world.
What would you recommend to those who are starting to study Italian and dream of living in Italy?
Persistence, will, determination, I think these are keywords. Do not stop dreaming big, everything in this life is possible, to achieve your goals, just dream, believe in it and want it very much. Whether for study, for love, or for work, whatever reason you have to go and live in another city, I assure you that it will leave you with great experiences.
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