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Please tell me about Milan!

(6 Posts)
schmalex Sat 11-Jun-16 07:16:05

DH has been approached about an internal move to Milan. We have two DC aged 2 and 4, the 4yo would be going into reception this September.

Can anyone tell me about the schools? DH's work would pay for an international school.

Where do people live?

Is there a network of expats to hang out with? I would try to learn the language but don't have any Italian at the moment so I don't think I could work and I'm worried about being isolated.

Laptopwieldingharpy Sat 11-Jun-16 13:26:56

Lived in Milan briefly pre-kids. The most popular english medium school is ISM. Socialising through the school network is your best bet to settle. And with very small children, parents are generally quite involved. Local parents are also usually quite keen to mingle with native speakers and organise playdates. Win win to improve everyone's language skills.
I would say start learning Italian ASAP. Very lonly overall experience otherwise.
My husband worked there too for a year and even in an english speaking work environment, not speaking Italian is very isolating.
It is a beautiful language and fairly easy to learn. Very easy to strike a conversation in day to day life, most people will be patient and happy to help you.
The Milanese are quite provincial and it is somehow codified and reserved but Still very welcoming to expats.
Internations is a good forum to find social activities for adults woth fellow expats.
Anglo info usually have a good directory for settling in.

Izlet Sat 11-Jun-16 23:38:14

If you want a British Curriculum school there is the BSM. I have friends with children at the ISM and they have recently moved their eldest to the British school for secondary as, in their opinion, the teaching was a bit too soft and slow at the ISM and they weren't keen on the MYP. For small children it might be ok though, I have no experience at all at that level.

There are certainly networks of English speaking expats it Milan, one is the Benvenuto club but it is really for trailing spouses, if you intend to work at some point it may not be for you as most of their activities tend to revolve around 10 am coffee mornings or lunches. There was one I used to frequent occasionally many years ago (Hash House Harriers) but it's essentially a drinking club and at some point I realised I couldn't keep up and threw in the towel.

There is an English language magazine which has info and and useful links in English, including for accommodation and schools.

For learning Italian there are loads of places that offer lessons, plus there are a lot of schemes where you meet up in a bar for an aperitivo and swap language skills with a native speaker. If you have French and/or Spanish it shouldn't take you long to pick it up, and you would need to speak fluent Italian to get a job here, unless you teach English or work as a nanny.

Izlet Sat 11-Jun-16 23:50:18

Where to live? Most expats live in Milano 2 or Villaggio Paradiso (Berlusconi-built dormitory near Milan) or in central Milan, or else near the old Fiera. Some live outside in smaller surrounding towns, like Monza.

Milan is quite small and you can walk most places in a few minutes in the central area. If you do live in the centre, don't bother with a car, there is a congestion charge you will need to pay plus the parking is very limited. Your best bet would be to sign up to a car sharing scheme like Car2go. Public transport is efficient and cheap and will get you to most places, except for some of the more obscure suburbs. If you live in Berlusconi land a car is essential, however. Monza less so as there are frequent direct trains to Milan.

schmalex Mon 13-Jun-16 17:14:40

Thank you all!

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Thu 16-Jun-16 08:22:37

I don't think any of the MN Little Italy posters are in Milan, but also worth asking on there as I haven't been on there for ages, so there might be some now.

Worth finding out what school curriculum the international schools follow, as the Italian one is very different to the UK one. (ie nursery school is a lot more structured and although not obligatory, might as well be; this is why generally Italian kids starting school at 6 can already read and write, they are expected to have been taught at nursery etc)

My friend lives near Pzza S Babila and comments how expensive everything is. Obviously with an ex-pat package, things like housing I guess are covered, but general day to day things will probably be more expensive than the UK.

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