Every month, Pagine Ebraiche International brings to you an exciting story from one of the many Jewish Italians abroad, young hopefuls that left their native country for either professional or academic purposes. These interesting profiles might have left Italy to broaden their horizons, nevertheless they still feel very Italian, and try to bring that unique spirit with them wherever they go.
It’s yet another rainy day in Manchester, but – as Micol always says – you can easily get used to this melancholic weather as long as you have friends to hang out with and lots of studying to do.
Micol Tedeschi, 20, is a first year student of Genetics at the University of Manchester. She moved to England less than a year ago, soon after completing her high school diploma in Italy.
Born and raised in Milan, Micol decided to leave her native country for several reasons: “As much as I love the people I grew up with in Milan, the Jewish community is too small, and most of my friends left” she says, adding that neither her nor her parents see a future in Italy. “I love travelling and meeting new people – it really broadens your mind”. After a long decision process, she decided to study Genetics, a course of study that does not exist in Milan.
Exams are approaching and Micol is sitting in a study area with several other students. She takes a break from a heavy, thick book that seems difficult even from the laptop where I am video-calling her from, and starts telling me about her exciting new life in Manchester. “I mainly gather with two different groups of people: my classmates, who come from all sorts of places, and the kids from the Jewish Society, which organizes social events, Shabbat meals, etc.”.
Micol became quickly involved in the Jewish Society, and in the fall she was elected member of the Committee, where she now holds the position of Campaign Officer. Since then, the young Italian student has successfully covered the delicate and not easy role, which requires public relations as well as political and diplomatic skills. She loves her position because she feels like she is making a difference: “For instance, last October the Palestinian Society of the university organized a petition in order to boycott the Technion because of its development of weapons”. Micol took action and responded to the petition, raising the question of why was the Technion the only institute to be boycotted, whereas all the other universities that produce weapons were not addressed.
Often Micol misses her childhood friends, most of whom, like her, decided to leave their hometown to experience life abroad and expand their horizons. Although moving abroad has been a challenge, she would never regret it, as “It’s been the best year of my life, I’d repeat this experience a thousand times”. As well as studying and volunteering for the Jewish Society, Micol works for Genesis Leadership, a program for Jewish students around the country, and attends countless social events. In Manchester Micol found a place where she can freely spread the wings of the social butterfly she is, and nobody is going to stop her.
Even though she does not like the British food and their drinking habits, Micol is too busy to complain: she was recently one of the four students to be accepted for a semester in Sydney, Australia, among hundreds of applicants.
There’s only one thing that sometimes makes Micol want to book a flight home. Manchester might have a good university, a great social life, and extraordinary working opportunities… but it surely does not have artisanal pistachio nut ice cream!
When asked where she sees herself in a few decades, she confesses: “One day I hope to make alyiah”. But first, she plans on making the best out of her experience in Sydney. And I have a feeling she will.
*Simone Somekh is a student at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and writes as a freelancer for the Jewish Italian press.
Shirly Piperno, fashion styling and communication student at Istituto Marangoni, London, contributed reporting.