Milan canal at night

Diversity in Milan

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CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. On this page, local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter at their location.
The information below is just a broad overview so if you have specific questions or concerns not covered here, please email We would be glad to have local staff share their perspectives, talk with you about accommodations, connect you with resources, and/or put you in touch with a program alum who could speak about their experiences navigating a program in this location.
No matter where you choose to study abroad with CIEE, our staff—all of whom receive regular and comprehensive training in diversity, equity, and inclusion—will be on hand throughout your program to provide advice, resources, and support regarding these issues.



Italians value dressing appropriately for various situations. Trends like wearing gym clothing or flip-flops to class, common among US students, are uncommon among Italian students.



Italy prioritizes safeguarding the rights of individuals with disabilities, promoting inclusion and accessibility in social, cultural, and occupational spheres. Milan, in particular, has made significant progress in ensuring the urban environment, tourist attractions, and transportation systems are accessible. Italy also has a strong tradition of mental health care. Neuroatypical students and those with learning disabilities can expect a supportive environment similar to that in the United States. Partner universities will accommodate students with physical and neuroatypical disabilities with advance notice and comprehensive documentation outlining their conditions and accommodation requirements.



Generally, Italians hold a progressive attitude toward gender roles and expectations, evident at legal, cultural, and social levels. This is especially true in larger urban areas such as Milan.



Italy and the United States share robust connections, particularly for students delving into their Italian heritage. Numerous individuals travel to Italy to reconnect with family and explore their ancestors' hometowns. In a reciprocal manner, many Italians have relatives in the United States and eagerly share their experiences with these students, fostering a vibrant exchange of cultural stories.



Milan is a diverse city where local families embrace a mix of Italian and foreign traditions. Unlike the U.S., where identity is often tied to birthplace or citizenship, Milanese people often connect their identity to family heritage. This has historically marginalized some minority groups. However, things are changing as more second and third-generation Italians with diverse ethnic backgrounds are increasing in number, contributing to a more inclusive cultural scene.



Italy, the historical heart of the Catholic Church, continues to impact various cultural traditions. Despite this, Italy also embraces diverse cultures and religions, with many Italians practicing faiths beyond Catholicism.



Italy demonstrates significant openness and acceptance towards individuals identifying within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. However, the nation still has progress to make in terms of legal recognition and protection for its LGBTQIA+ residents. Same-sex relationships are both legally sanctioned and widely embraced, with civil unions established as a legal institution since 2016. Nonetheless, same-sex marriage remains unrecognized by law. While anti-discrimination laws safeguard the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals in employment settings, formal legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity remain absent in many other areas. The vibrant city of Milan, renowned for its rich blend of arts, culture, and fashion, boasts a thriving queer community. The city plays host to Milan Pride, a prominent event drawing in 300,000 participants, and it also features an LGBTQIA+ Film Festival.



Milan houses seven major universities and provides services across the city catering to students on a budget. While on-site, CIEE staff can offer you valuable recommendations on saving money, suggesting cost-effective sites to explore and free activities to engage in.



While the USA government offers passports with an "X" gender identifier, it doesn't ensure entry or transit through Italy. Italy currently lacks specific policies, so entry may be denied.

Programs in Milan