Studying abroad, Tokyo, Milan, Vienna, Auckland, Zurich, Dublin

I'm an American looking to study abroad for my senior year (assuming Covid is over). Anyone have any input on the following places? 1. Vienna University of economics and business. 2. Keio University in Tokyo. 3.University of Zurich. 4. University of Auckland. 5. University College Dublin. 6. Bocconi University. Tokyo really sounds exciting to me, but I'm nervous it might be a bit too overwhelming as an American. Would love to hear any input on nightlife/party scene, difficulty of courses, and if any of these make for good exchange programs as an American who only speaks English.

Comments (11)

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  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Dec 29, 2020 - 1:28am

Milan is pretty sick, I was there about two years ago. I think it's got a really vibrant city lifestyle that less touristy than other Italian cities while still offering history and character. I didn't experience the nightlife much while I was there but from what I've heard it's better than Vienna and Zurich. Tokyo seems like it could offer the best nightlife just because it's the biggest city of those. Don't know much about Auckland, but have often heard it be compared to Vienna and Zurich for cost of living and entertainment, so it can be kind of quiet. I can see Dublin being better than Vienna and Zurich, but those two along with Milan will have good proximity to other cities in Europe which might be of consideration if you want to do some side trips on the weekends.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Dec 29, 2020 - 4:17am

While Vienna is a beautiful city, it's not where I'd want to study abroad. Pretty boring and quiet if you're looking for the typical study abroad party/nightlife experience.

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Dec 29, 2020 - 7:15am

I'm from one of the Euro cities you mentioned. I would highly recommend going to Auckland or Tokyo instead, although going to Bocconi would be awesome too. 

Tokyo would be an immense, once in a lifetime experience to fully immerse yourself in a completelt unique culture and way of life which will be so helpful for you later down the road. Auckland is a beautiful part of the world with a nice climate, quite diverse and a great place to study abroad (I'm told from friends who have studied there).

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Dec 29, 2020 - 8:48am

From the European ones, I'd go with Milan. Bocconi is the best uni from that group, no doubt, and Milan is the biggest city, with lots of things to do. Only deffect is CoL, but coming from USA maybe it's not that bad.

Dec 29, 2020 - 9:19am

I'd go Vienna personally, one of my favorite cities I've visited and my buddies who studied there had a blast. However, you could easily make the argument for any of them depending on what you want to get out of your time abroad.

The biggest benefit of studying in Europe is that you can travel easily and see a bunch of cities and countries, especially if you are in the EU/Schengen area, where traveling between countries is essentially the same as traveling between states in the US. IMO this will be an important consideration coming out of covid, as who knows what the travel restrictions will look like across the world. Vienna/Milan/Zurich are all pretty centrally located, so it will be pretty easy to travel around regardless. I only know one person who studied in Milan and it seemed cool, but assuming COL will be a factor Vienna would definitely be the cheapest, and I personally think it has more to offer than Zurich, which IMO is a pretty small city to study abroad in. Between Vienna and Milan depends what type of culture you want to experience, I enjoyed drinking beer and eating schnitzel/sausage, so Vienna is an easy choice. I could speak English to anyone I came across in Vienna, I assume its similar in Milan. As for nightlife, I can't really speak for Milan but I had a blast in Vienna, certainly more than enough nightlife to keep you entertained for a semester. Dublin is a great city and an interesting option if you are interested in seeing Ireland/UK in depth, only downside is it would be a bigger pain to travel elsewhere given that you'd have to fly, and its not in the Schengen.

As for Tokyo/Auckland, I have friends who had studied in both. Toyko is great if you are genuinely interesting in seeing Japan/Asia, if not you might not love it as much, and you'll be more limited to where you can travel. I've heard amazing things about Auckland, everyone I know who studied there loved it, and they found it super easy to meet friends and get looped into the social scene. They all got into some outdoorsy stuff there as well, which if thats your dig than you'd enjoy it, some absolutely stunning things to see there. They mostly travelled within NZ/Australia, which is cool to experience if you want to see it.

So really it comes down to what you want to get out of your abroad experience. I would say choose based on the city, not the school, as academics are really a second focus while you are there, its much more about having the experience. I valued ease of travel so I went with Europe, and Vienna was probably my favorite place I visited.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Dec 30, 2020 - 10:00am

Definitely Milan and Bocconi! Only downside could be that courses are more difficult, since it's a more academically focused uni

Dec 30, 2020 - 3:38pm

Every city has nightlife no doubt. If you really want to enjoy and have a good time, honestly you can do it at any of the places. It's just a matter of what you do. 

I would personally suggest Zurich and Bocconi. Bocconi is one of the best Unis in Europe and provides a good name on the resume - even if its just as a transfer student. I personally wouldn't want to miss out on going to another top school in Europe. Zurich as we know is home to Credit Suisse and UBS, so it would be a great networking opportunity for you if you ever wanted to move to Europe and work there.

Dec 31, 2020 - 1:01pm

All comes down to what you want out of your experience. Are you going to mainly party and have a great time? Do you want to travel to other areas? Be immersed in a cool/different culture? I've been to a few of the places mentioned my thoughts are:

Aukland: Lots of natural beauty and if you're into the outdoors, this would be the place to go. Haven't been, but heard New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries. If you were into hiking, camping, sailing, etc. I'd think this would be best. The city is a decently sized city, so I'm sure there's stuff to do, but I probably not the best choice if you're looking for nightlife, unique dining experiences, etc.

Vienna: Cool city, but more of a place to visit for a few days than to live. Unless you're into history or art in a big way. Pass for me.

Dublin: I think this one would be a great choice, no language barrier, easy to navigate, would be a ton of fun in terms of ability to go out and party. It's not as exciting culturally, but Dublin is a great city, still a ton to do and you have a good ability to go elsewhere in Europe. It's a pretty common place to study abroad as well and a place where a lot of students congregate. I liked Dublin much more than I thought I would.

Milan: To be honest, I didn't love Milan, but I do think it's a great choice for you, especially if you haven't experienced much of Europe. Milan is a very functional city in the sense that, it isn't quite as quaint or "european" as a Vienna might be, but it's basically just a big, European city, nightlife will be great, Italy has great food/coffee, you'll basically just get the feel of living and studying in a major European city. The reason I didn't like it (and this isn't a knock against the city) is that given I've lived in a few cities before, it wasn't that special. This one would probably be a slightly more cultural and unique Dublin. Perhaps a tiny bit tougher given the language barrier, but honestly, everyone in western Europe can speak al little english and it's good opportunity for you to pick up some language skills as well. Plus, Bocconi is well known.

Tokyo: Would be absolutely awesome, but will likely be a more challenging experience. The language barrier will be higher and unless you have a particular fondness for Japanese culture, I'd imagine this would be more of a cultural immersion trip rather than a I want to party and travel type of study abroad program. This one would indexer higher on cultural stuff and really being in a different environment whereas Europe, although different from the US, is still somewhat different. Asian cities and the lifestyle will be different. Up to you on what type of experience you want. 

Zurich: Another city I love, but I don't know if it would be great for study abroad. First off, it's extremely expensive, which no one else has mentioned. It's also a little more buttoned up than some of the others, can't speak to much of the nightlife, but the Swiss aren't necessary known for being bon vivants. It is beautiful and safe though. If you have a lot of money it might not be a bad option, but not where I'd want to spend ~4 months.

I'd go with Milan, Dublin, or Tokyo. Milan/Dublin give you a nice mix of stuff, while allowing you to travel all over Europe, which is honestly the best part of study abroad. Europe is also relatively easy if you're not an experienced traveler and you'll have a blast with all the weekend trips you can take. Plus, those cities themselves have a lot to do and are functional enough that you'll get a great experience of living in an international city for a few months.

Vienna/Zurich are great, but smaller and a little less accessible. Try to visit for sure, but wouldn't be my top choice.

New Zealand would be cool, but given it's location, you'd be sacrificing a lot. You'd have to really want to be somewhere different and have an appreciation for outdoor activities

Tokyo is my darkhorse. You'd have an amazing, but different experience. You might love it or you might find it to be a lot. If you've done a lot of europe already, this might be higher on my list. If you haven't, Dublin/Milan are lower hanging fruit in my opinion. Go explore the rest of Europe first and branch out from there. 

Good luck with the decision and enjoy your time. Study abroad is a great experience.

Jan 10, 2022 - 9:54am

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