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650 kmfrom home
"Change is inevitable, whether you seek it out or it comes to you."
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"I'm an international civil servant, currently working in Geneva. When I was 22, I left Italy for France, where I went because I wanted to study abroad. When I first got to France I noticed that there were a lot of stereotypes about Italians, and I couldn't reconcile these with the ideas I had about myself. There was also a language barrier to overcome. But I kept my head down and made the most of my experience there, which taught me that I would be just fine if ever I decided to travel further. Eventually, my journey brought me to Switzerland.

On a basic level, that is all migration is: looking for better or simply different opportunities to develop oneself and follow your path. When I go somewhere, I bring my skills, knowledge and vision of the world. This is what keeps society, and life, interesting. Now that I am on the other side, my message to both those who choose to go and those who welcome them: be open and curious — change is inevitable, whether you seek it out or it comes to 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

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