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An Expat Talks about Living in Milan, Italy

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Milan

How long have you lived there?

15 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

The Benvenuto Club, Professional Women's Association, Democrats Abroad, American Business Group and many other organizations as well as activities created for the expat community listed in EasyMilano, a bi-weekly free publication for the English speaking community here.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Although Milan's population is very diverse,there is still very little integration of other cultures and very little is known of other religions, customs, beliefs,etc... Most Philipinos, South Americans, Sri Lankans and Indians are employed as domestics and Africans and Arabs are very rarely employed by Italians at all. The Chinese population is self employed in either retail or restaurants. Other Europeans and Americans are generally accepted as equals, but never as a real part of the Milanese community.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Selling wholesale fashion is a very good possibility for multi-lingual residents as well as teaching English in the various language schools. Some expats have begun their own small businesses, such as an American bakery, but one never finds a job through classifieds (unless in EasyMilano) or by sending out a resumé. Personal contacts are the only way to get one's foot through the door for an interview.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

All of the above, but Milan is generally known for it's work opportunities and faster paced lifestyle compared to the rest of the country.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Learn Italian! The vast majority of Milanese do not speak English. Bring traditional yet elegant clothing (the Milanese frown on anything flashy or ostentatious) and expect the mentality to be conservative and somewhat behind what one would expect from a city as well known for it's industry, fashion business and financial center as Milan.

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