Sara – Living in France

photo LEOn

A story by Sara Marin

Country of origin: Italy

Destination country: France

In 2011, one year after my Masters degree, after a hundred of CVs sent and two internships I was surfing on the net and I found out a call for proposal for the Leonardo da Vinci Mobility published by Accademia Europea di Firenze.

I decided to apply, even though I wasn’t sure about the destination; I think in general I wasn’t sure about anything at that moment but taking part in another mobility experience, (I just had done an internship in Paris and one month of studying in London), was the only thing that brought a breath fresh air.

After being accepted I left for a three month internship in Bordeaux.  It wasn’t my first time in France, but as French people use to say: “France is not Paris and Paris is not France” so in some way it was a first step in a new environment.

Anyway, only the fact of leaving in group just added something to my experience. I met people with, more or less, the same expectations, the same willingness to travel and to discover a new country and, of course, the same problems related to the lack of opportunities in our country of origin.

I did my internship at Cap Ulysse, where I’m still working now as European Project Assistant. After three months of internship they made me a job proposal and I decided to say yes!

When people ask me why I decided to stay my answer is quite simple: why not? After the three month internship I had a job offer which, unfortunately, is not quite common in Italy nowadays but this was not the only motivation. Working abroad is something that has enriched my professional experience by acquiring new competences, autonomy, flexibility and independence but also my way of life. Being alone in a foreign country and facing everyday trials helped me to grow and, overall, to be more self-confident, which was one of my hardest challenges to face.

When I go back home, (because when you live abroad your country of origin will always be “home”), and my friends tell me: “you are so French now!” it makes me smile, because at the same time I think of my French friends who always tell me: you don’t even need to speak and we understand that you are Italian. My answer is: I’m European…with pride.

I would advise to all my friends to do a mobility experience, even if the majority of them just did it.  Perhaps, working in the field of mobility, I’m not being very objective with this!

So, it’s better to say that I would advise my friends and also myself not to stop being mobile because mobility is not only physical but it’s a state of mind. It has to have a positive meaning like discovering other cultures and living new experiences to keep our mind open.


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