Milan is the industrial, commercial, and financial center of Italy and a leading global powerhouse. The city is synonymous with cutting-edge fashion and design, and it is filled with the world’s premier fashion and design studios. It is also an important location for multinational corporations and banking interests, as it has the third largest economy among EU cities. Milan welcomes people from around the world, with one sixth of its population being foreign born.
The city of Milan presents a harmonious fusion between stunning historical monuments such as the Milan Cathedral, cutting-edge fashion in the upscale fashion district of quadrilatero della moda, internationally recognized music and performance in noteworthy theaters, and the Porta Nuova financial district teeming with powerful executives.
Milan’s positioning in northern Italy makes it an excellent jumping point to anywhere throughout Europe, not least some nearby Italian treasures such as the Italian Alps, Lake Como, and the remarkable canals of Venice.
SAI offers various host school options in Milan, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. We offer two school options with a design curriculum at Nuova Accademia di Belle Art and Domus Acadmy, as well as a liberal arts curriculum at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.
Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA)
NABA was founded in 1980 and is the only design school in Italy accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education. The school is located in the Navigli area of Milan, and uses 12 buildings to provide exceptional equipment and studio space for its 2,000 students. NABA instructors are world-renowned artists, professionals, and designers working in Milan. NABA’s teaching method stresses cultural, theoretical, and practical aspects of design and seeks to put students in constant contact with companies and professionals.
NABA subscribes to the philosophy that creativity is best cultivated in an international atmosphere, and welcomes students from around 60 different countries. It is among the member institutions of the European League of Institutes of the Arts and the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, which consists of members from over 800 international art and design universities. Students studying abroad at NABA at the undergraduate level have the option of taking subject-intensive or free elective programs. At the Master’s level, students join one and two year MA degree programs.
Domus Academy (DA)
Founded in 1982, DA is considered one of Europe’s top design schools, offering Master’s and Pre-Master’s programs. Recent industry publications proclaim DA as one of the world’s top three design schools. DA is a member of CUMULUS, an association of European design schools. Winner of the Compasso d’Oro, Italy’s most sought after design award, and with a distinguished list of past lecturers such as Ettore Sottsass, Philippe Starck, Gianfranco Ferré, Neil Barrett, and Ron Arad, DA has always been a true pioneer of “Made in Italy”.
Instruction at DA centers around a “learning by designing” methodology, in which students solve real-life design problems under the guidance of distinguished faculty. Beyond teaching how to design products, DA courses approach design as a complex, challenging activity, which directs the form and the meaning of industrial production, basing aesthetic and social visions with cultural consciousness.
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC)
Cattolica is a private research university, founded in 1921 and is the largest private university in Europe. The university has been granted five stars by QS Stars, a global university rating system and students come from around the world to attend, in addition to Italian students.
Cattolica hosts over 27,000 students per year and is located in a beautiful 8th century monastery, renovated by Bramante in the 1600’s. The school is an integral part of the local community of Milan. The bustling streets around the campus are full of cafés, restaurants and shops. Yet hidden discreetly within the school’s perimeter are picturesque gardens and courtyards, all of which add to the unique ambience and study environment. Study abroad students at Cattolica join others from around the world in free elective semester and summer courses offered in English across the liberal arts curriculum.
Students studying in Milan enjoy daily life in a dynamic, modern, international city. In addition to exploring Italy’s rich design heritage, students are challenged to develop their own creative voices and to explore new ideas, approaches and methods in the bustling city. Milan has many hidden gems: apart from the discount designer outlet stores, there are ample opportunities to discover the Italian dolce vita (sweet life) in the many outdoor cafés around the city. Since Milan is a large city, students find themselves using the efficient public transit (metro and buses) to get around, including getting from their apartment to school. Nightlife is abundant in Milan, not just with the thousands of restaurants and cafes but also clubs, shows and performances.
Milan’s geographical location allows easy access not only to all major Italian cities, but also to major European centers; the Swiss border is less than an hour away. Students can ski in the Alps in the winter months and enjoy Lake Garda, Como, and other famously beautiful Italian lakes in warmer times.