The Grid was a large part of my personal transformation that came from living in Milan, first as an international student, then as a young professional. Writing for The Grid offered me a chance to work with great people who always had the patience to work through my articles and English, which helped me grow and improve. It pushed my limits and made me discover aspects of Milan that I didn’t know— aspects other international students didn’t know about either. I have a lot of respect for all those who contribute their writing to The Grid, and especially for Renee, is doing such an amazing job at keeping the website working and growing.
I started writing for The Grid in June 2013 while I was still studying at Politecnico di Milano. I was still living in the “university bubble” as an international student who didn’t know her way around Italian Milan. This was one of the reasons why my blog topics at the time were mostly related to situations and projects I noticed around campus.
Then came a big change and turning point: graduation. “Where do I go from here ?” I wondered. While I was trying desperately to move out of Milan, which all my friends rushed to abandon after university, I found myself trading lives. I went from living the university life to entering the Italian world. And so, what were meant to be “just a few months of figuring out my way” turned into the beginning of a new era. I moved from the university campus to another international part of the city, no longer a student but an expat.
So much has changed since I moved to Milan, but especially since I moved to my new neighborhood. The language that I speak, the way I move around the city, the way I view the city, but most of all, the way I live life in the city. My blog post, "Milan: A City of Different cCities" expresses the way in which I see Milan.
Through language and daily routine, I have finally managed to see what Italian culture is all about. I have had the chance to learn more about Milan's industrial past and the stories behind Lenardo da Vinci's legacy in this city. Milan is a mix of cultures and places. It is not your typical Italian city. It does not have typical Italian architecture or people. From Via Padova to Paolo Sarpi, to projects that completely changed the skyline of the city, Milan surprises in so many ways.
Italians are sometimes amused by a foreigner's point of view, so perhaps they will find it amusing that I have lived here for 4 years and still feel as if I have lived in two different cities. Milan has much to offer and many identities. It can mean many of the same things to those who live here or pass through, and yet at the same time have many different meanings for an individual. I know for me it will always be a place I like to call my "home away from home."
Thank you to The Grid, Renee, and the editorial staff that made this wonderful experience possible!
Credits: Images by Alexandra Serbana. Data linked to sources.