Voices from Abroad

Graduate Student Blog: Ashley Grand in Milan - Part 2

by Ashley Grand
MBA student Ashley Grand shares her experiences studying abroad at SDA Bocconi.
Greetings from Italy! Despite the seasonal chill, visitors do flock to Italy over the winter months to experience something quite special – Carnival season!
Of course, nowhere in Italy (or even Europe) is more renowned for its Carnival than Venice. Venice is an easy trip from Milan – only a couple hours by train – and, in the early days of Carnival, the city is not as congested as it will become later. I was lucky enough to attend the opening ceremonies, which included a floating parade of gondolas on the Cannaregio Canal.
Two figures in capes and dresses appear to float atop a gondola, surrounded by a purple glow, during Carnival in Venice.

Two figures shake large objects that resemble jellyfish, illuminated in blue and green light, during Carnival in Venice, Italy.
Venice is incredible to explore on any occasion – the entire city feels like a floating maze. During Carnival, the crowds are sprinkled with masked tourists and locals decked out in full costumes. Of course, I couldn’t resist getting a mask myself!
MBA student Ashley Grand wears a shiny gold mask while standing in front of a waterway lined with buildings in Italy.
Back in Milan, I’ve been having a great time with my classmates! I went on yet another fabulous outing hosted by a Bocconi student organization – the Motor Club’s corporate visit to Maserati! The factory that produces Maserati’s quattroporte model is located just outside of Turin – another beautiful northern city that’s only a short trip from Milan. We were given an amazing tour of the assembly line where we witnessed virtually all the stages of production. It was my first visit to an auto factory, and I was amazed at the precision with which the workers (and their robot counterparts) assembled the cars. Unfortunately, no one offered to let us do a test drive.
MBA student Ashley Grand stands next to a white Maserati car while visiting the Italian automaker's facilities.
February is also the perfect time for a quick trip south, where the weather is more like spring. Rome is only an hour-long flight away, and I spent a weekend exploring my old stomping grounds where I had spent a summer once in college.
The white stone dome of the duomo in Rome—the city's primary cathedral.

Stone figures are etched into the stone surrounding Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy.

A collection of Roman ruins in the city of Rome, Italy.
Aside from being a truly Eternal City (not much had changed in the eight years I’d been gone), the best thing about Rome is the food! There are three types of pasta that are native to Rome and that every visitor absolutely must try – carbonara (bacon and egg), cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), and amatriciana (tomato and bacon).
A close-up of a dish of carbonara pasta sprinkled with cheese and served in Rome, Italy.

A close-up of a dish of cacio e pepe pasta served in Rome, Italy.

A close-up of a dish of amatriciana pasta served in Rome, Italy.
Of course, spring weather is the perfect excuse to always be walking around with some gelato (as if I needed an excuse).
MBA student Ashley Grand walks down a stone street holding a cone of red gelato while studying abroad in Italy.
Until next time!