From Local to Global and back!

I was born  in Naples, one of the most contradictory cities of the Mediterranean area where beauty and ugliness, joy and desperation are the same face of a coin. I grew up here, took my degree in Political science here and started my professional career.

I have always combined a love for journalism and communication with a strong interest in youth policies and education.  So after my degree I started to work for a little agency which is involved in lifelong learning projects as well as writing  for an important local economic magazine as an expert in this field. I was happy thinking about my bright future, thinking that I was only at the beginning…

While all my best friends started to leave Naples, looking for a decent job and a different lifestyle, I believed that if we want to change something we have to start from our own environment even if the challenge is very hard to achieve.  So I proceeded with my plans, taking an interesting  job at the main Italian public administration agency and I believed that I was moving in the right direction to reach my personal and professional goals. But suddenly this project stopped.  I didn’t know what to do next and so I started to send hundreds of applications forms often without any answer.

Then this was my significant turning point, I lived this moment with a lot of doubts, fears and insecurities. My feelings were like as I was losing my professional identity.

During the bad times I  have often thought about leaving Naples like my friends and joining them somewhere in Europe, because my confidence in changing things in my local area was going down and down…so for this reason I started to look for something to do abroad.

I forced myself  to find a way that could lead me into a new and motivating professional field and looking at my skills I found it in my first love, journalism. But I  quickly understood that this field was not simple and above all not well paid especially in Italy! I spent a lot of time surfing on the internet using all my sources and looking for some opportunities. Finally I discovered an international group of students in journalism, FEJS, that organized every year in a different country  their assembly and I decided to apply for the next event in Zagreb, Croatia.

This was a special experience that gave me a renewed self-confidence. I realized that I was able to do my job also in a foreign language, that I had the good skills to work in international group.  There I won the first prize for the best article, about unemployed young people and all their problems,  and above all I met a very interesting network of people and experts in investigative journalism.

Meanwhile, when I came back to Italy I was employed as an expert in Policy Mainstreaming and a scouting consultant for an innovative local Public Administration project about educational best practice in the Campania Region, called “Scuole Aperte”, that I had applied for before my Croatian experience. This gave me the confidence that I could continue to work on the projects that I have always believed important and that I could really make change in my local area.

Starting from this moment I strengthen my personality and my professional profile, because even though I was very happy to be part of this innovative project that was involved with education in my region of origin, I  nonetheless, after my experience of the lack of opportunities, decided to continue my investment in “mobility” and my curiosity about how to develop my skills in an international framework. For this reason  I  have in the last few years had the opportunity to participate in  and meet many youth networks that have developed suitable and creative initiatives in different fields. During this time I have been creating a strong and pioneering personal network.  And this is my big satisfaction, because I feel connect at a great youth networks that can offer me a chance to make real connections, and gain insights from people I’d never have a chance to interact with.

This wonderful experience with my local environment, Scuole Aperte,  is  now finished, and  we are in the middle of the economic crisis and it is not easy to find a paid job. So as you can see I consider my “transition” still in progress. Every project for me has been a new challenge, as it is for many young people. I believe that the key to achieving a good transition is not to give up, but to continue to stay true to your objectives. I have always believed in the power of the network and in the sharing of experiences in informal contexts. This has helped me to stay in touch with different groups of young people and be inspired by their activities. Using new technologies and a big dose of positivism, I have continued to work and to initiate new collaborations, such as with the Cafebabel community, Indigo magazine, European Youth Press and Youth Press Italy, EJC and the European Youth Forum with which I’ve been collaborating as a correspondent for YO magazine since 2009. Thanks to EYF I have had the opportunity to report, analyze and deepen my experience, from different perspectives, about European youth, about the problems restricting them and their splendid spirit of initiative.

Thanks to the value of my international experiences I also learn that I’m would continue working as consultant in policy mainstreaming using my skills in journalism, new media and relationship.

I grew up isolated, but my present and my future is connected. I grew up unable to have substantial interactions with anyone except a small circle of family and co-workers but now, I earn the right to interact with just about anyone. I already took a first step, something that challenged me to think differently every single day.

Growing circles

Hey Irene,

thank you for sharing this very well-crafted story. I’ve been in Naples very briefly and from the little time I spent there I got a sense that there are some deep tensions and dynamics that are hard to understand as an outsider. The issues tied to recognition/ acknowledgement of non-mainsteam skillsets and interests is a burning one and it was one of the things brought up at a recent workshop I was involved in in Berlin and perhaps looking through Mozilla’s program for their upcoming festival in London might offer some inspiration?..

Growing circles

I really enjoyed reading your story, Irene!

This Summer, I learned about spiral dynamics. I was explained that non-mainsteamers move in spirals (instead of going in a linear tangent). When forced by life conditions, they adapt to their environment by constructing new, more complex, conceptual spiral models of the world that allow them to handle the new problems.

I was also told that althought the spiral way is much richer in experiences, it takes more time to reach a destination.

When I stopped feeling bad about my spiral development, when I accepted myself – my choices, my past, my odd professional experiences – barriers dissolved and positive changes started emerging. (Self) love is a very strong force.

progress so far…

Hi Irene,

How are you and how’s the job hunt going? If you are on Twitter, @Thornet often posts interesting links relevant for people interested in the intersections between journalisms and social change.//Nadia

the familiar music of your story

Ciao Irene!

One of the reasons why I’m enthusiastic to be part of Edgeryders is the possibility to meet people like you.

I’ ve read your story and it has remanded to mine own

I left Sicily with great sufferance because I love my island, I don’t know why so much, but I couldn’t study what I wanted. Now I’m studying and working doing back and forth because my work for me has a sense and a utility only if it can generate something positive for my home. This mobility gives the possibility to create a network that can inspire and help to not lose the energy.

I think that you can understand what means leaving and working in a difficult territory because Naples and Catania aren’t so different and then I absolutly share your view “if we want to change something we have to start from our own environment even if the challenge is very hard to achieve”.

Edgeryders give me the possibility to live an important experience: I will speak in the miniconference of March about the mobility and the challenges of turning knowledge into income.

I’m reading a lot of missions to look for the main themes and the most important focus about this issue.

This is the reason why I read your ride and also the reason why I’d want to read your article celebrated by FEJS. It is possible?

have you other materials to suggest?

thanks for sharing your story and I hope that you want continue with other missions.

Dear Alessia, congratulation for this exciting chance!

Of course the article it is available for you… let me know your email adress and I’m going to sent it to you.

all my best


Thank you Irene!

my email is

I think that your contribute can be very important for me and others Edgeryders so, when you can, write much more about the project “scuoleaperte”, about your ongoing projects, your back and forth from global to local.

I’d appreciate it!

Alessia thanks! Unluckly last months were a bit hard for me…I I had some health problems and I had to stop most of my activities…but I have a good mood about Edgeryders community I believe in this huge project and in the value of this network…In the next days I’m going to upload other information about my previous experiences, in order to enlarge the experiences that can help you and everybody interested in it!

Have good time  and succes at the conference, I’m always beck and call for you and the other edgeryders people.

The familiar music of your story comes back: some months ago I had some health problems and the forced stop at the beginning was a torture, but then it has revealed a good chance ( as I write in my Share your ryde).

I hope you can recover your energy as soon as possible and I’m sure that you’ ll re-start with a better aware of who you are and what you want.

my best wishes


Feeling better?

Hi Irene,

sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. I was wondering what had happened and whether you were ok but was unsure as to whether sending you an email would be an imposition…

I feel better now…

Nadia, it’s very nice to hear this word from you… Luckly the worse it’s over and I quikly recovering my full energies :slight_smile: and I can’t wait to close the gap of my absence…

un saluto

Ciao Irene,

… sono Samantha … volevo salutarti … questo pomeriggio sono dovuta correre via … ho letto la tua storia di cui mi avevi gia’ raccontato qualcosa oggi … mi piace molto la frase con cui chiudi …  mi farebbe davvero piacere restare in contatto con te … e sono curiosa di leggere gli articoli che hai scritto … a presto spero …