“I have been a migrant for a long time. I first gave up my job in Italy and moved to work in Scotland, because I wanted to improve my English. Then I lived in Northern Ireland, and Spain. And now in Brussels. I wanted to learn more about the European Union, so I came here to study for a Master’s degree on the topic. I always wanted to see how things outside Salerno worked. I wanted to grow and be independent.
I deal with many different cultures in my daily life and at work, so over time, I think I’ve learned to be more diplomatic, understand more and not judge so much. Ultimately I think migration is about learning.
I have been in Brussels for a while – six years in fact. When I first came, I didn’t feel like I was moving to Belgium, I was moving to the capital of the European Union. But once here, I really liked it. Brussels is great and really international. What I don’t like here is the bureaucracy, and how it is very often not working. But then again: that helped me appreciate Italy more. I always thought only there did we have problems with these things. Turns out that’s not the case. When I experience something in a new environment that I don’t like, it helps me appreciate my own country.
I’m Italian, but also European. I feel at home, where I live. Wherever I move, I always take two things with me: my tea mug and my English grammar book. It’s from 1994 and like my bible.
My next move will be to Germany, to live there with my boyfriend. But first I need to get better at German. I always want to be able to communicate with the people in the country I live in. I would not feel comfortable if I wasn’t. To me it is also a sign of respect for the country I’m moving to.”
This is a story by Christine Strotmann