"I came to Switzerland as a student, to pursue my PhD in Molecular Biology. I had to leave Italy because there were no opportunities in my job field, so migration was essential to my livelihood. Unfortunately, it is true that several places in the world have become hostile to this part of the human experience, and many migrants experience hatred and discrimination when they try to do what I did.
I have always tried to help migrants feel welcome, by trying to know and hang out with them, sharing my life experiences and listening to theirs as well. I have also supported organizations that help migrants. It's a journey that involves leaving your beloved ones, mixing with different cultures, crossing paths with people completely different from you and learning from them; but they have to learn from you too. This is the only way to make racism disappear. We have to respect each other, accept the differences that divide us, and fight against any laws that would discriminate against a certain group of people.
For those who find themselves as newcomers in a city where people aren't used to or receptive to new arrivals, I would say no not be discouraged by racist people, because eventually, you will always find nice and good people in every country. Still, those living in the host country have a duty as well. Do not sit in your house being afraid of migrants - go out in the streets and talk to them! You will realize that they are human beings like you."
This story is brought to you in partnership with The Refugee Cultural Festival, 2017 edition. The festival was launched to encourage small, local actions to embrace diversity and support those forced to leave their homes due to war, famine and climate change. Learn more about the festival and donate by clicking here.