1. Before leaving: what you left behind, what you were looking for.
Numberless artistic, literary, cinematic, journalistic accounts and important sociological, anthropological, psychological thoughts have described and analyzed the symbolic complexity and the thick emotion of the migrants’ experience. The Italian proverb chosen as title of this section intends to suggest the contradictory feelings knot associated with the choice of leaving one’s own land, where the fundamental childhood and youthful experiences have been lived. At the same time it wants to point out the difficult, insecure balance between what one misses and what one hopes, between what one leaves behind and what one brings with him/her (sometimes with funny misunderstandings: for example, a central-American young girl once told that, since she wanted to keep something of her own land within herself , she spent her last night before leaving for the far away Italy eating …mandarins!) [read more]
Within the Portal it will be possible therefore to find all the material dealing with this issue, both in the interviews and the study cases section and in the documents one.
We will summarize its main aspects here:
- The motivation. Why one leaves. The reasons behind the choice to migrate: economic, political (wars, persecutions), study or strictly personal reasons.
- The decision. How and with whom one decides to leave. The choice as an autonomous and personal decision or as a consequence of a confrontation with others (relatives, friends, work or school mates, etc).
- The moment of departure. The migration emotional outcome. What one leaves behind: the landscape, the social environment, one’s own family unit, the local traditions, the linguistic community, one’s own ties.
- The baggage. What one brings with him/her: memories, objects, feelings. The personal papers. The mother tongue, the origin culture: religious belief, education, previous experience of the world, material culture (technical skills, food culture, etc.)
- The travel experience. The different methods: ways and means of transport, papers, legal condition (regular or illegal). The relationship with people during the journey. The impact with the new country: welcoming people (relatives, friends, “fellow villagers”, staff in charge, police, no one).
- Migration as a “temporary solution” or a “permanent condition”? In most of the cases migrants are leaving with the hope of returning home but sometimes, because they don’t have better options in their country and if they adapt rather well in the host country, they decide to remain – people in 20s and early 30s being more likely to stay permanently in the host country. Also, sometimes migrants decide to return because they can not adapt in the host country. It depends on migrants’ personality, situation and general circumstances they have occurred in.