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Finding A Sense of Community in Milan

Finding A Sense of Community in Milan

Moving to a new city can be both exciting and daunting. One of the most challenging aspects is navigating the culture and finding your place within its community. If you’re an expat looking to find your footing in Milan, Italy, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of opportunities to meet other expats through language exchanges and social clubs who can help make the transition smoother. If you choose to send your child to an international school, you will already have a built-in support system, making the transition much easier.  

Challenges of Living in Italy as an Expat

If you’re thinking of moving to Italy, Milan is a great city to consider. But like any move, there will be challenges. Here are some things to keep in mind when living in Italy as an expat:

1. Language barrier. Unless you speak Italian, you’ll likely face a language barrier when moving to Milan. While many people in the city do speak English, it’s not always easy to get some tasks done. This can make things like finding a job or an apartment difficult.

2. Different culture. Italy has a different culture than many other countries, which can take time to get used to. For example, bureaucracy in Italy tends to be bewildering and overwhelming which can be frustrating and time-consuming. Simply mailing a letter at the post office can take up to 20 minutes!

3. Cost of living. Milan is one of the most expensive cities in Italy, so your budget may need to be adjusted accordingly. From groceries to rent, everything tends to cost a bit more here than in other parts of the country.

Despite these challenges, living in Milan can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The city is full of history and culture, and there’s always something new to explore. With a little preparation, you can make the most of your time as an expat in Italy!

Trying to Fit in as a Foreigner in Italy

As a foreigner in Italy, it can be difficult to try to fit in. As expats, we want to belong yet also celebrate our own heritage. However, there are ways to make the transition easier. One way is to seek out an expat community. There are many clubs and associations in Milan that cater to international residents, and they can be great resources for information and support. 

An excellent way to ease into life in Italy is to learn as much about the culture as possible. This means not only learning about the food and language, but also the history and customs. By understanding more about where you are living, it will be easier to feel at home. The best way to do this is to make Italian friends. Join a group, a dance class, church or a volleyball team. Find an activity or course where you can find like-minded people, it’s much easier to make friends with common interests and values. 

The American School of Milan offers not only education but support for new families in Milan.

International School Community Life

If you are in Milan with your family, consider sending your children to an international school such as the American School of Milan (ASM) which has students from over 50 countries. The school not only offers support and education for your children but the Parent and Teacher Organization is a pillar of support for new families. When you first arrive in Milan, you may feel a little lost but being part of a multicultural community can help you find the resources to face the challenges and know that you are not alone. 

When ASM was first founded over 60 years ago, it was called the American Community School. This spirit and sense of belonging are alive today in the tight-knit group of families who have come to Milan to experience life in one of Europe’s most stylish and cosmopolitan cities. Activities, concerts, holiday celebrations and sports events take place on the 9-acre campus. Group excursions exploring all that Milan has to offer, from world-class museums and restaurants to the hidden gems of charming neighborhoods. They also have strong community service programs, not only to teach students civic education but to give back to the local community and host country. 

You can learn more about the American School of Milan or schedule a visit on their website here.

Finding an expat community in Milan is not a difficult task. With the right resources, you can find a group of people who share similar interests and experiences as you. Whether it’s through online forums or local meetup groups, there are plenty of ways to network with other expats in the city. And once you’ve connected with others, it makes for an even better experience exploring all that this dynamic city has to offer! Sign up for the Easy Milano newsletter for updates and events in our community.

Article by Celia Abernethy for Easy Milano

First published on 24 February 2023

Last updated on 27 November 2023



Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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