My name is Simona Luddeni and I come from Aosta Valley – a small but very nice region in the North of Italy. My parents are actually from Calabria, and I was born in Aosta, but in reality, I have never felt to belong to anything except myself! “Citizen of the World” fits me better! I have started travelling very early and I quickly realised that I wanted to go away from Aosta. I had made several attempts myself on my own, then I met my husband and by mutual agreement we decided to move to Germany. We evaluated the quality of life in many different countries and we chose Bavaria. So we said good-bye to our valley, left for our future and Freising has become our new home.

My first year in Germany I had spent studying the language and trying to figure out what I wanted to do “when I grow older”….and one of those things was, as I realised, to write. I was also tired of hearing constant complaints from my fellow expats from Italy and I decided to start a blog – a different blog without comparison between countries and without judgement, but a blog about my life and my integration experiences told in a way that it should bring a smile onto people’s faces.

How did your integration process go?

In my case, not bad at all. I can easily make friends with walls (laughing – ed.) and here i have not found particular difficulties.

I understand you don’t like to make comparison between countries… But still what are, in your opinion,  the main differences between the two countries?

Many and in many areas. I can only speak of Bavaria – a small part of the country I am aware of. It goes without saying that things work here and on time. Crime is low, the quality of life is better, the bureaucracy is there, very inflexible, but less complicated than in Italy. The list is endless, but for me the main difference is only one: I feel fine and at home here!

Could you share with us your worst and best experiences in Germany so far?

The worst experience so far was when I had to go to a hospital in the middle of the night and i realised being an expat also often mean being alone, friends and family were not there in case of emergency… I was of course always aware of this aspect of immigration, but when it happened I really understood it 🙁

Great things happen to me almost everyday here… things that make me feel good and happy! at the end if you give a smile to somebody you always receive one back.

Do you think Germany is a multicultural society?

I can only speak from my personal perspective and about Bavaria, surely the immigration rate is high, you are able to see the multikulti “with a naked eye”. There are many second generation children of immigrants, who were born here and speak perfect German.

I do feel accepted, I have never had bad experiences. I do not feel foreign, I feel at home and at ease, even though my German is still not perfect. I probably transmit this feeling to people.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?

A phrase that I read the other day by Roberto Saviano: “A country where nothing seems possible is an unhappy country. And an unhappy country generates hatred towards everything that takes place.” Especially to young people out there, do not be influenced by the negative comments, do not be put off by those who say “you won’t make it, the world is small”. If you really want something, strive for it!

No country is perfect, but each of us has a place in this world….for me this place is Bavaria, for you it might be Spain, Italy, the UK… the most important thing is to feel good, and home is where you feel good!