Interview with Emmina in Milan
Date of Interview: September 21, 2007
Area of Italy you live in?
Let us know a little about yourself?
I am 27 years old, English, and have been in Italy for around 5 years. I work as a Commercial Analyst in Milan, and live with my boyfriend, Luca.
Why did you decide to move to Italy?
I first set foot in Italy at the age of 16, and within about 2 hours of arriving, had decided that I wanted to live here! I fell totally in love with everything about the place, and as soon as I got home, I began learning Italian, eventually studying it at university. Following graduation, I found a job working for a Tour Operator in Sardinia, where I stayed for 3 years. The rest is history...
What type of process did you go through to be able to move here?
With the new regulations regarding EU citizens (as of April 2007), the 'Permesso di Soggiorno' is no longer required. I had to apply for it when I was studying in Siena, and apart from the fact that I had to go back to the Questura 3 times, it was surprisingly easy. I am now resident in Milan.
What problems did you run into during the initial process and how were you able to fix them ?
EU citizens who are employed, take note: When you go to apply for residency, you need a copy of the 'Lettera di Assunzione' which your company sends to the provincial government when they hire you. This is a new rule, and regards the fact that you no longer need the permesso di soggiorno. This was my only major stumbling block!
How long have you been here?
Almost 5 years
What type of adjustment problems have you had?
To be honest there are certain things that you just never adjust to - the lack of customer service, mind-boggling bureaucracy (most public officials don't even know the procedures, so how can you?!), people seeming to be rude everywhere you go (they're not - it's just that Italians can come across as abrupt if you're used to a 'Have a nice day' culture).
What do you wish someone had told you before you made the leap?
Go with the flow... There are certain situations and attitudes that will never change, so you just have to learn to live with it.
What inside secret could you pass on to others looking to move over?
If you are looking for work and it is proving much more difficult than you imagined, it's NOT YOU. The work situation in Italy is complex, and lack of success in finding a job is not necessarily anything to do with who you are or what you've achieved. Don't be disillusioned.
Do you have any disappointments, things you thought would happen but haven't for whatever reasons ?
It is disappointing that you have to make the choice between earning a good salary and living a good lifestyle - but this is not necessarily particular to Italy. If you opt to live in a gorgeous countryside farmhouse, unless you are very lucky, you will probably have to make lots of financial sacrifices. Likewise if you choose city life, you might feel like you are missing out on the 'bella vita'...
What has changed about you since you have been here ?
Living in a country that is not your own gives you a completely different perspective on life. I feel that I have picked up many cultural 'habits' that my friends and family in England find strange e.g. cappuccino is for breakfast, NOT after lunch or - worse - after dinner!
Do you think that you will stay forever?
I don't know. If I do, I think we will probably move away from Milan and look for somewhere with a better all-round quality of life.