Why Italy

I chose to do my exchange in Polytechnic of Turin (Polito) in Italy because the University has a great curriculum offered in English and it also happened to perfectly match my study plan. Italy was a totally different world for me. There are so many ancient Churches in every Italian city and they are seriously everywhere. Turin itself has around 13 Churches. Authentic Italian gelato is simply addictive and winter season does not stop you from having them. Italians also take their time during meals. They usually have courses in their dinner meals and it ends with a cup of tea or coffee in which I got used to eventually. I have learnt to drink coffee as well after staying in Italy for six months (Me and coffee just did not mix when I was in Brisbane).

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University & Culture

I was situated in Turin, the former capital of the country, during my exchange. The city is not a very touristic place which amplified my interest in the city as I wanted to get a feel of the Italian culture more. Turin is surrounded by the Alps dividing France and Italy which is a truly spellbinding scenery from the city. Polito is a respectable and competent University. It is known as the best University in the city of Turin (Just what I heard from the public). Its ties with the Engineering industry is also impeccable especially in Mechanical and Electrical. In my experience, the education system is not very flexible and slightly unorganized compare to QUT. Lectures are not recorded unfortunately and they have much longer classes. Hence, they basically do more workshops than individual study. One of the things that I miss the most is the University mensa (canteen)! Not only due to its cheap price but also because of the serving content. They offer different menus each day and the food is just superb.

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One of the main reason why I love Italy is because of the food and of course the travel. Italy is quite small which makes travelling very convenient. Cities can easily be reached by public transport such as buses, trains (Train system in Italy is simply amazing) and of course planes if you are rich enough or if you don’t like extended journeys. But hey, long journeys can be good as well as you get to see small towns and unexpected sceneries on the way.


In regards to accommodation, my host University assisted me through recommendations. I stayed in a student-contained building. Majority of the students in the accommodation area went to my University as well and I was able to develop great friendship with some of them. Each room accommodates 3 people (1 single and 1 double room) and the flat is quite modern compared to the ones in the centre. All bills were also included on the monthly payment so it was less to worry about.


I studied major subjects as part of my study plan during my exchange which was not a very good idea as it required extensive amount of work. It was an amazing challenge overall though. My subjects were taught in English which was great. The classes were much longer compared to QUT the main communication with the Professors are done also in class. They don’t really use email or make announcement through the website. Though I am still grateful that I was able experience a different education system and it made me appreciate the resources available in QUT.

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Polytechnic of Turin is Italy’s oldest technical university. It is known as the best and most prestigious University in the city of Turin. The University is also well known for international students due to its courses fully thought in English.


In regards to finance, I budgeted around twelve thousand dollars which was slightly less than my actual expenses. This is mainly due to travelling around Italy and other European countries. I used Qantas cash card and Virgin visa card which were really helpful. You can access your account to see how much you have spent on withdrawal fee it also saves all your transactions.

The cost of living in Turin is significantly lower compared to Brisbane. Accommodation rent is paid in a monthly period and is certainly more economical. Average weekly groceries is about the same in Australia while eating outside is definitely much cheaper in comparison to restaurants in Australia. The public transport in Turin also offers a monthly or 10-month ticket valid for bus, trams and metro which makes transport expenses cheaper in the city. Overall, I can confidently say that the cost of living in Turin is considerably lower than Brisbane which was a great advantage for me.

Italy Itself

The bureaucratic inefficiency of Italy was probably the biggest problem I have encountered. The paper works that a non-European student needs to complete is almost endless. In the end, you just have to prioritize the main requirements. Italian culture was very different to Australia to some extent. Some small shops close at 1pm-3:30pm for lunch or a nap. Paying for waiter services in Italian restaurants and cafes was also mandatory. It took me a while to get used to this one. Returning or exchanging an item is very rare in Italian stores. Pickpockets is quite common in Italy. Oh well, it’s all part of the experience.

A typical Italian breakfast is a cappuccino and a croissant, forget the typical bacon and egg of Australia. One thing I suggest is to befriend with the locals, they can certainly help you with the systems of the city. Also explore Italian culture with other international students as it helps with the culture shock and you can also hear about their new experiences in the city.

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A must have item on exchange is of course a camera and a huge memory. Capture every moment of exchange and don’t shy away from taking way too many photos.

Also, don’t forget to put the camera away and just enjoy the moment and scenery. No photo can ever match something that is captured by the eye.

A general travel tip is don’t forget to consider every possible transport – some bus, train or plane companies offer cheap tickets so don’t forget to check their websites frequently. Keeping an open mind and a positive attitude also go a long way too.

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Going on exchange has significantly change my views in life. I have seen and experience things that are way out of my comfort zone and it certainly made me more aware of myself. I feel much more motivated to succeed both academically and professionally. I am definitely more confident now with all my experiences of living out of my comfort zone and dealing with people’s attitude and their perspective in approaching things.

I recommend Student Exchange Program as it is a great way to challenge and to find out more about yourself.

I will never forget the precious memories that I have had and certainly the people that I came across with.

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