I bet one of the significant complaints expats have about living in Italy is something that isn't talked about too much but it runs rampant through the country, sometimes almost undetectable in quick glances or whispers- racism. Unfortunately it is still very much an issue in many Western European countries (as well as North America), although I must admit that I notice it much more here in Italy than I ever did in Canada. Not sure if it's because I'm on the other side of the fence now as an official immigrant to a country, but through observation I've realized that Italy is a tough place to be for new-comers and non-Italians. Integration into Italian life is challenging and it's only in the younger generations that it is becoming more common to see groups of friends that are mixed races and mixed couples. Of course, this is all generalisation and I have also met many Italians who are open and welcome multi-culturalism with open arms. Italy is just stuck in that phase where ethnicities band together for the most part. This could be the cause for why I feel a bit lost at times being non-Italian, yet I don't technically identify strongly with the Chinese immigrants here and I've only just met my first Canadian this past week. A true Canadian at heart, it pains me to see things like the graffiti above or hear sideways references to immigrants. I suppose this comes from the fact that Canada has become what she is because of immigrants, immigration was and still is the root of our society. In Italy, it's a different story but it doesn't make it acceptable either.
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Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned writer and wine drinker from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.
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