Elisa, an Italian girl who came to Nevers in September for 4 months to study one trimester in Lycée Raoul Follereau. She is from Italian-Korean-French family but she is not really feeling belonging to a certain country. 17 years old girl with principles and her very own point of view. We talked about her school in Nevers, Korea, why it is important to travel and what she would like to change in the world.
Where do you come from and what have you been doing before coming to France?
I come from a small periferic town called Garbagnate milanese, near Milano, 20 000 people are living there. Most of my time I spend in Milano now, cause I study in a high school there. It is a bigger city so you meet more people from different countries and you have more things to do. I go to museums, cinema with my friends there.
By which program did you came to Nevers?
It’s popular in my school to do one trimester of studying abroad. So I said why not to do this in France! My aunt lives here, so she helped me to find out which documents I need to fill and in general helped me with this proccess. I send the documents to my school and to school in Nevers and that’s all. It was not very difficult. I would say I had a bonus as my aunt could contact school in Nevers directly without writing long e-mails.
Tell me about your multicultural family!
My mom is Korean, every summer we go to Korea. When I go to Seul I have to change my way of speaking to people, my way of doing things. They have other codes, cultural rules. People are more respectful to older people, they respect the hierarchy at work, everywhere. They are not very “touchy” as Italians, they don’t often even shake hands.
They are also quiet conservative, regarding the women and LGBT rights. Koreans are really back on this. Even people in their thirty’s – fourty’s. It seems like developed country but in their minds they are still a bit conservative.
But generally korean people are very nice and gentle when you talk to them.
I have been in France before, because my father is half Italian and half French and we have a family house here. But going to schools in Nevers is quiet different experience then just visiting relatives in France.
Would you call yourself more Italian or European?
I don’t understand people who are very nationalistic and calling themself true Italians because their parents are from Italy. I’m not that attached to Italy. I don’t even feel european, I don’t have this feeling of belonging to Europe. I don’t feel a nationality.
But after I came here, I realized that there are some things that I have in common with Italians. But I can’t explain this, I just feel it. But it doesn’t change my mind about the fact that I don’t really feel Italian.
Nevertheless, when I hear people saying some bad things about Italy I feel not offended but it bothers me a bit.
When you just arrived here, how have you been welcomed?
I am in a class where people are one year younger than me, maybe because of this they don’t have a lot of curiosity to other cultures. Not all of them for sure. But sometimes they don’t even ask where do I come from, even though they can hear my accent. I would immediately come to the person and ask that if I hear she/he is foreigner!
But I have a friend here, which helped me a lot during first weeks. He saw me being alone so he tried to helped me.
Teacher have been really nice to me. It is cool they don’t try to consider me as a sranger they incorporate me in class right away. But sometimes I would need some more explanation about a subject as I am not from here. But I like it, it is better like this.
What are you going to do when you come back to Italy?
When I come back I will finish this school year, one year after I will pass final exams. Then, I will go to high school and get a degree. After I will think about university. My dream is to work at “Médecins sans frontières” or at emergency. But medicine studies take a long time and I am not sure it is for me. I also thought about journalism, because I think I am quiet curious, I like to ask questions and I know few languages. But it is just a thought.
What is your favorite spot in Nevers?
River side is very nice to walk. Town center is quiet pretty too. My favorite place is a shop where they sell Moroccan sweets – I love that! The best pizza in Nevers -café L’envie! It tastes like Italian!
Why do you think it is important to travel?
First of all – it makes you understand – there are not only your reality, there are other places, people, way of thinking. It opens your mind, it gives you other perspective about you yourself and the world. If you travel – you break the wall around you, you learn something new from other people. You have more opportunities, you can learn new hobby which might become your job after. Travelling – is the best things you can do in your life.
If you have an opportunity to drink with any person in the world – who it would be?
I would talk to Jesus, Aristotle. I have a lot of people in my mind. Also Kurt Cobein, David Bowie, Sting. People who have big mind and did important things in their life.
If you could change something in the world – what it would be?
I’d like that people stop believe to all what others are saying, especially politicians. People should stop concentrating just on their problems and ignoring all the things around. For example, people buying a lot of medicines but they don’t see the whole thing – all the pharmacy industries which push you to buy expencive products.
Also about a gun possession in USA – people think just about their own case, they want to protect themselves. But they don’t see the whole situation with a lot of gun shooting in schools etc.
I’d like people have a consciousness about general origins of things. People have to stop thinking with categories like “I am right and they are wrong” but see more complex and general picture.
With internet you can check everything, you can increase your cultural knowledge about whatever you want. But also you have to be carefull with things on internet which are not true.
People are not very concerned about what is happening around, they just care about their own thing cause it is easier and you don’t have to think a lot.
Huge thanks to Elisa for an interesting talk and wish her just keep going and stay curious, no matter what!
Pictures are given by elisa