Was Milan what I expected? Not a chance. Is that a good or bad thing? 100% a good thing. My entire life I’ve grown up in Dagenham, East London. I’m so used to the city I don’t even question the structure and layout of other cities. When I first arrived in Milan, I really expected an expansive London-like feel. But it really was not that; it was more of a hybrid, a mixture of city and beautiful culture. My first look at Duomo stunned me. It was truly beautiful and when I first arrived there was an orchestra playing, so the mood seemed so very Italian to me.
During my stay, I was able to live in a studio apartment not far from the main area. On any regular occurrence this would have been a financial hindrance. However, the Turing grant gave me the financial flexibility to live not far from the campus or the main city. This opened exploration opportunities and the ability to partake in things I enjoy.
I’m a massive football fan and I was able to watch 3 matches in Italy: one in Torino and 2 in Milano. The Torino match and the first in Milano were part of an international competition so I was able to watch the best of France, Belgium and Spain competing. This included world class talent such as Kylian Mbappe, Kevin de Bruyne and Karim Benzema but also my favourite player Cesar Azpilicueta.
The other match I was able to watch was a Champions League match between AC Milan, and Liverpool. I support Chelsea, so to cheer against Liverpool felt amazing, especially when ex-Chelsea players scored. The atmosphere was electrifying. With the first two fixtures, full stadiums were not allowed yet, but at this point, it was a packed house. AC Milan may have lost the fixture, but it was truly enjoyable. The greatest competition in club sport in one of the great football cities – it didn’t disappoint.
Milan gave me everything, I even caught the snow on one occasion and I’ll forever be truly grateful for the city. Hopefully one day I’ll come back and show other people just how beautiful the city really is.
What a city, what an experience.