The first and second-year students at the International Medical School at the University of Milan have classes and labs in a building called LITA, which stands for Laboratorio Interdisciplinare Tecnologie Avanzate (“Advanced Interdisciplinary Technology Laboratory”). It is a large, biomedical research facility, in the town of Segrate, right near the border with Milan.
We, the first-year students, have all our classes scheduled to take place in one classroom, on the ground floor. It seats about 50, but there are currently just under 30 of us, so it is a comfortable fit; there is room to spread out papers. The professors rotate and come to the classroom. Nearby is the office of the IMS program secretary, an extraordinarily nice person who helps us with all kinds of administrative questions — particularly when we are confused about some aspect of life in Italy, or need help with the language.
LITA has a cozy little library for studying, which is open late. Many students go there after classes. If you want to study very late, or on Saturdays and Sundays, the University of Milan has a number of libraries open in the city center. There are a few different university library systems, which, combined, are able to lend out many, if not all, of the textbooks that we need for our coursework.
During our class day, we usually have about an hour for lunch. Sometimes, in this hour, special seminars take place, that we can attend, at the LITA auditorium. As an example, this week, a researcher gave a talk on cancer proliferation. However, we also use the lunch hour to relax, socialize, and discuss what we are learning during the rest of the day. Much of this occurs in the LITA Mensa, the cafeteria.
The lunch menu costs 5.70 euros, which buys you an appetizer (for example, risotto or pasta), a main dish (meat and vegetable), bread, and dessert. Alternately, you can go à-la-carte. So far, the food has been quite satisfying. The servers, who are friendly and sweet, joke cheerfully with some of us international students, as we attempt to order in Italian.
LITA is scheduled to be our home for only two years. After passing the exams of the second year of the IMS, students are to go on for four years of clinical study and practice. The current plan is to have us do this at the Luigi Sacco teaching hospital, which is located in another part of Milan.
Erik Campano is a consultant to the English medical school of the University of Turin and doing a Master's degree studying artificial intelligence applications in global health at the University of Umeå, Sweden. He completed his Bachelor’s of science in Symbolic Systems at Stanford University, and then he worked for about eight years as a radio news anchor, before moving to biomedical scientific study and research at the University of Paris and Columbia University. His goal is to develop AI technologies for international emergency humanitarian aid organizations like Doctors without Borders, and to combine medicine and journalism. Erik grew up in Connecticut, and is a citizen of the United States and Germany.
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