The Italian Dream in The US
Yesterday, January 28th, 2014, the Calandra Italian American Institute of New York hosted an event entirely dedicated to young Italian who moved to the Big Apple in search of a better future. Co-sponsored by ILICA, the panel “I Giovani D’Italia: Living Italy in New York,” drove into the new phenomenon of the “brain drain,” or “brain relocation,” as the Director of the Calandra Institute Prof. Anthony J. Tamburri wanted to specify referring to the words of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The migration phenomenon has marked Italy’s political and social history throughout the XX century. Even if society has changed because of globalization, which has improved the technological and communication sector, the reasons for leaving, economic crisis and unemployment, are pretty similar. However, both the initial and the new generations of Italian immigrants share the same dream: building a better future outside a country that right now is not able to guarantee one to them.
Four examples of young Italians who moved to the US to follow this dream were the panelists who yesterday discussed their experience as Italian immigrants in New York City:
Emanuele Tozzi is a young artist and musician and Italian attorney from a small town in the Abruzzo region who moved to the US in 2006. After a couple of years in Aspen, Colorado, he decided to come to New York City to continue his career in the music field.
“It’s a big challenge to try to bring my roots and the smell of my region into this country. But I have hope and I am here to persist in this dream I have,” says Emanuele. “ I love this country because it gives you a sense of freedom. I think New York in particular gives you the chance to discover yourself. It shows your fragilities and your strenghts. In my opinion, this is the biggest challenge but it’s essential to succeed in your career.”
Sofia Falleroni, from the Marche region, left Italy in 2005 and came to to the US to study. First in Boston and then in New York, her dream was to pursue a music career but she ended up being a real estate broker and she loves it.
“I feel American society stands on a very meritocratic system compared to Italy. At least people here give you an opportunity. Even though the competition, especially in New York, is very high, this pushes you to improve all the time,” affirms Sofia.
Gianpiero Pagliaro is a young manager from Cosenza, in the Calabria region. He moved to the US in 2006. After a year in South Carolina he moved to New York where he started his experience at the Italian American Chamber of Commerce and became also a member of the executive board of ILICA.
“ I just wanted to study English for three months,” says Gianpiero, who never thought he was going to stay in the US. But he changed his mind. “This is an environment in which you can still dream. And you find a lot of people that are willing to help you to pursue your dream.”
Federico Frangiamore is a professional golfer and a golf instructor from Pordenone, near Venice. He moved to New York last year. Golf has always been his dream career. Now he is teaching to both adults and children who share his same passion for this sport.
“I love the attention that this country has in regards to sport and most of all the activities that schools dedicate to it,” says Federico whose goal, as an Italian in the US, is now “to teach to Americans the Italian way to play golf.”
While sharing with the audience their experience , each of these young and talented Italian professionals exhibited their sadness when talking about the current situation of their country. For them, as for many like them, numerous things have changed in their life. The one thing that will never change is their identity, their pride of being Italian no matter what. And most important, as Gianpiero pointed out, they will never give up Italian food over fast food!