Saving Southern Italy's Future: Stopping the Brain Drain

Tornare in Sicilia

My life experience led me to spend a decade in the UK, where I studied and worked.

Although I lived abroad for a decade, giving a boost to my career and building my family, I never forgot my roots and my connection with my homeland. So, when I decided to return to Italy, I chose to go back home: Sicily.

Embarking on my journey back to Sicily was obviously not so smooth, as I was surrounded by doubts and uncertainties.

However, thanks to my determination and a good dose of courage, I managed to overcome the initial perplexities and decided to take the big step.

That’s why, I decided to accept Chiara Crisci‘s invite to share my story on her blog, as my experience could help someone else.

Chiara is a Sicilian entrepreneur who has been living in the Canary Islands for years and has recently launched her blog titled ‘Tornare in Sicilia’ (‘Returning to Sicily‘) with the aim of giving a voice to those who want to return to Sicily, after a period spent elsewhere (either abroad or in another Italian region). How? By collecting the testimonials of those who have already successfully returned to Sicily.

Chiara’s motivation is to provide inspiration, encouragement, motivation and hope for those who would like to return to live in Sicily, but only see the disadvantages of this choice.

I share Chiara’s mission, and for this reason, I decided to accept her invite, opening up and sharing about my decade-long experience abroad, the motivations that led me to leave back in 2012, the hopes and uncertainties I had before returning, along with the (mainly) positive aspects of my return.

As Chiara mentions on her site: ‘The future OF our land, the future IN our land, depends on us.’

After all, returning to Sicily, or any other region in Southern Italy, can play an essential role in saving the future of the region and stopping the brain drain:

  • Creating Job Opportunities – one of the main reasons why young people leave Southern Italy is the lack of job opportunities. However, by returning to their hometowns, young people can create job opportunities by starting their businesses or working for local businesses. This can help to stimulate the local economy and create a positive impact on the region.
  • Building Community – by returning to Sicily, young people can help to build a stronger community. They can get involved in local organisations, volunteer their time, and help to create a sense of belonging for themselves and others. A strong community can help to attract more businesses, create more job opportunities, and make the region more attractive to others.
  • Sharing Knowledge and Skills – many young people who leave Southern Italy have valuable knowledge and skills that can benefit their communities. By going back home, they can share their knowledge and skills with others and help to improve the quality of life for everyone in the region.
There are in fact more and more projects, including South Working, aiming to improve the economy of the Southern regions of Italy, by increasing the number of people who work permanently remotely for employers located elsewhere. Why? To attract talent both among those who were part of the brain drain and among people who are not originally from the South.