“I was eight years old the first time I boarded a plane to travel alone out of my home island Sardinia. Since then, I have never stopped moving around.
I visited Estonia the first time in 2004 when I took part of an international youth exchange. I made very good Estonian friends and I liked the country a lot. From the very first day of that trip I thought that one day I will come back for longer.
In 2009, my university closed the program I was about to graduate from. I had to think of new priorities, goals and future for myself. In the same week, I got a call from an Estonian friend who proposed to me to move to Estonia for a year to work as a volunteer for an NGO dealing with youth mobility projects. I had one day to give the answer. I consulted my parents and after half an hour I decided I was going to leave everything behind and move to Estonia.
I was supposed to stay in Tallinn for only one year, but then I met the person that today is my husband, I found a new job, I created a good network of friends, studied Estonian and really felt at home. So I never moved back to Sardinia.
I was very lucky because I already had some Estonian friends before moving to Tallinn, but I have noticed that sometimes it can be very hard to integrate in the Estonian society. First I thought, it might be because of the language, but then I realized that it is the life in the city that keeps the barriers between people, foreigners or not. I know many foreigners who didn't speak a single word of Estonian, but went to live in little villages and they have integrated perfectly. Eventually and with time, they have also learned Estonian.
In my view, if people have the chance to meet, talk and get to know each other in an informal way, this is the best way to integrate in a new environment and create communities where borders between locals and foreigners disappear.
Estonians ask me often why I have decided to live in Estonia. I have many reasons, but now that I have been away for a while, I have come to the conclusion that I want to live in Estonia because I feel safe here to build a future and a family the way I wish.
During the last five years, I have worked in the field of migration. I have met many people who have been forced to flee from their homes due to war or persecution. Some of them have lost everything and probably won't be able to go back home whenever they wish like I can. The reasons for migrating may be different, but in the end, we are all the same in our search for happiness and a stable and safe life.”