By Tornike Kakalashvili
This article is the first part of a two-part series. The second part can be found here.
Youngsters from France, Italy, Spain and Hungary are talking about the problems which concern them the most.
Emeline Imari, 21, comes from Nantes. She speaks about the problems facing young people in France.
“I am a Psychology student but I don’t know if I will find a job at the end of my studies because employers require previous work experience and the big problem is that there are not a lot of Internship opportunities in my field and not only in mine. How can people who have just finished their university have experience? If we are applying for a job, just because we don’t have previous experience, we are ignored by all the employers.”
According to Emeline her fellow French youngsters are interested in just the problems of France, not outside it. For her it’s a serious trouble. “They feel sad just because their charger does not work, but most of them are quite indifferent about much bigger problems in our world. They just see France, France and nothing else”-She adds.
She names racism as another serious difficulty facing France today. Emeline thinks that this problem comes from the lack of education. “If you do not educate your child to be tolerant and open-minded, they could become racists”- she says.
Michel Buffeteau, 22, is from Pouzauges community of west-central France. He was studying wood construction. He thinks that the biggest problem for young people in his country is lack of direction. “For example when you are 18 years old, it’s hard to know what you want to do in your life”. As Michel says, many young people stop their studies before graduation because they do not like them. And after that it’s hard to redirect.
Michel agrees with Emeline’s opinion in terms of racism and he says that it is a still unsolved problem in France. “Many people are afraid of foreigners. Mostly those fears come from the media,” he concludes.
Federica Mari Bergonzi is a 26 year old gastronomy student from Pavone Canavese, a community in the Metropolitan City of Turin in the Italian region Piedmont. She thinks that the main problem in Italy is that it’s a place for old people not for the young.
“Italy is not a suitable place for young people in terms of work. If you are young and if you are trying to apply for the job, the employer prefers to conduct an interview with someone older. It’s like if you are older it automatically means that you have more work experience. But if they do not give the opportunity to young people to gain this experience, how can I succeed?” she complains.
Federica says that’s why a lot of Italians prefer to immigrate abroad, mainly within the European Union to find a job. “We call this problem ‘Fuga di cervelli’, which means Brain drain in English”.
She is pretty sure she will not spend her future in Italy. “We do not have enough opportunities. The government doesn’t invest money to create new companies”.
Another grave issue in her country is bureaucracy. As she says, you can spend one year waiting for the document needed to start your new job.
An additional difficulty in Italy is inequality between the Southern and Northern parts of the country and internal migration. “We have the best universities in Northern Italy and that’s why many people from the South come to study here. The North is an economic power and consequently there are main industries, businesses and companies, so many Southern Italians prefer to move to the North to work. I suppose the principal problem of the Southern Italians is that they do not believe in the potential of the South”.
“We have a lot of immigrants and it is true that the EU doesn’t help us much. If we are in a union, if we are all together, how can we split this problem between each country?”- She asks.
She also says that due to political correctness many Italians say that migration from diverse countries to Italy is not a problem but she is sure that it is a problem for them as well. “A country should not become too politically correct. It is bad for the country”- Federica says.
Most young Italians are leftists. The left side is very active. These days if you are right-wing, people look at you badly.
“If you say I am from the right side, people would say ‘Oh, probably your father is rich, you are selfish, you do not care about others’. And something like that”-She explains.
Federica believes that one of the major problems in Italy are the Italians themselves. “We always complain to ourselves. After going abroad you realize that Italy is not as bad as we think and also other countries have similar problems, but normally a classic Italian complains about almost everything”-She adds.
In Italy another difficulty is that there is a strong feeling of community, which mostly sees outsiders as a threat.
“If a foreigner or even an Italian, for instance, from Rome, goes to the village where there are 3000 inhabitants, the locals are afraid. They would look at you badly because you are not part of their community. We create such kinds of communities, especially in the countryside,” Federica explains.
Illustration: Johanna Hagström
Tornike Kakalashvili is studying Journalism and Political science at the University of Georgia in Tbilisi. Currently he is serving as a Young European Ambassador from Georgia to the EU neighbours east for the fourth consecutive year. For a semester Tornike was studying the European studies as an Erasmus student at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. In addition, he was an ESC volunteer in Leszno, Poland working for the local NGO in the field of non-formal education and intercultural dialogue. Tornike is passionate about international developments and acquiring foreign languages.