Intern Abroad

Writing a Master Thesis in Milan

August 1st, 2022 | by


  • Management and Engineering in Technology, Innovation, Marketing and
    Entrepreneurship M.Sc.
  • Italy, Milan
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • March – June 2022


I am happy to share some insights on my time abroad in Milan, Italy. During that time, I conducted research on my Master thesis at Politecnico di Milano. I am solely responsible for the content of this report.

Prior to applying for the Erasmus+ Internship grant, there are several steps to be taken independently from the country or city you will be studying at. In my case, didn’t do an internship but wrote my Master thesis at a foreign university. Therefore, preparation included looking for interesting institutes or researchers across Europe, who have expertise in a specific field you are interested in writing a thesis in. A decent approach is to search for relating papers or studies, for example. After you have set eyes on a specific institute, I suggest writing a short research proposal. This includes 5-10 pages where you are explaining your motivation and your expertise regarding the specific research topic. Additionally, I suggest you write a short introduction to a possible topic that seems suitable as Bachelor/ Master thesis. Once you are in contact with respective researchers at the institute you applied for, you can start looking for an internal supervisor at RWTH. The overall topic of the thesis can then be “finetuned” between the three parties. From my expertise (I also wrote my Bachelor thesis externally), it shouldn’t be a big problem to find an internal supervisor as long as the external institution seems interesting! The actual application for the Erasmus grant is quite self-explanatory and convenient, so no need to further explain it in this report.

There is not much to consider before moving to Milan, as it quite easy to move around the European Union. However, when living in Italy you need to register for an Italian tax number. Just contact the Consulate of Italy in Cologne before the movement and they will send you a respective number.

Living in Milan
Everyone who has been to Italy before, knows exactly the Italian kind of vibe. And even though Milan is in the northern part of Italy, the so-called business part, you can truly feel this Italian spirit in Milan. Enjoy the food and all the Aperitivos you will have during your time abroad! Milan truly offers a lot of great restaurants, bars, and cafes. But don’t fall into the tourist trap and rely too heavily on websites like TripAdvisor and Co. Rather try out Pizzeria Assaje for an amazing pizza! Because by doing so, it can easily get quite expensive without the food actually being delicious. Thus, I suggest walking around the streets and absorbing the atmosphere. I am quite certain that you will quickly find a great place to eat. Especially, the district Citta Studi where the PoliMi is located offers great localities. But the great part about Milan is its great variety of districts that all offer other specialties. Navigli, for example, is famous for its many bars and the two canals that are filled with tourists during the day. In contrast, Porta Venezia is known as gay district and also offers great bars including a lot of clubs, whereas Moscova is rather a more expensive area where the wordl famous Duomo is also located. Other than that, almost every day you can find a lot of people gathering on public places. The infamous, Piazza Leonardo right in the center of PoliMi offers a great atmosphere with hundreds of students gathering every weekend and some DJs playing some music. Milan as the creative and fashion capital of Italy offers lots of intellectual places. Fondazione di Prada or Pinacoteca di Brera displays great art and amazing architecture. Many museums offer student discounts. Pinacoteca di Brera, for example, just costs 2€ per person.

© Jason Grüninger

Picture from the stands of the San Siro stadium (Inter Milan vs AS Roma) © Jason Grüninger

Other than that, the San Siro stadium accommodates both Milanese teams AC Milan as well as Inter Milan. So, plenty of possibilities of embracing the incredible atmosphere in this stadium while watching first class football.

In summer, Italians are usually driving to the seaside themselves. You should do the same because Milan is quite empty in August! On a side note, as you are not included in any official welcome days by the host university, I suggest writing the RWTH authorities and asking them to share your contact details with the other moving students from RWTH. In this way, you already get to know some people before going abroad and can discuss common difficulties.

Accommodation/ Transport
For accommodation I recommend using Housing Anywhere. In Italy it is common that you don’t get to know your flat mates before you haven’t actually rent a room in the respective apartment. In my opinion that quite weird, but it is what it is. Just don’t be surprised! Another surprise can come with the prices for flats in the central districts. However, I suggest embracing the opportunity and really getting the most out of your time abroad by staying in the cool districts like Citta Studi, Porta Venezia, Washington, Moscova, Navigli. Otherwise, you might have to drive quite long distances, specifically because the metro stops working after 1pm and you have to use buses instead. Regarding the transportation, get yourself a monthly metro ticket. You just need a picture and then can file for the ticket at one of the ATM offices in the metro stations. The ticket costs 22€ per month and also allows you to take buses. Riding a bike in Milan is no fun because of cobblestones, bad streets, etc., so better use the public transport. Safety is not an issue in the public transport. Just be careful when taking the night buses, but no more caution is needed than anywhere else in big European cities.

© Jason Grüninger

Lago di Como pictured in Lecco © Jason Grüninger

Around Milan

Milan is located in a great region. You are close to the mountains, as well as close to Lago di Como, Lago di Maggiore, and Lago di Garda. Enjoy some sun and take a dip at these destinations, it’s just an hour away from Milan by train!

Lecco, for example, is easy to reach and offers a cute little town at the stunning beginning of Lago di Como. I also went to Venice for two days, which is also quite close (3 hours by train).

© Jason Grüninger

Busy street on a sunny day in Turin © Jason Grüninger

Additionally, Turin is close by and is definitely worth a visit! An absolutely underrated visit is the city of Bergamo. Especially the old town of Bergamo is beautiful and definitely worth a visit.

I hope this report gives you a good first impression of your time abroad.
I wish you a wonderful time in Milan!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *