Young Italian women attending schools in Switzerland
During the Sixties and Seventies, thousands of Italian male and female youths attended schools in Switzerland. They were born between the Forties and Seventies and belonged to what can be regarded as an intermediate generation, between the so-called first generation and second generation of migrants: they had neither the age nor the self-awareness of the former, but the majority of them had not been born in the Confederation, like the latter. Most of the younger ones attended Swiss schools, learning the local language and starting processes of integration. Others, especially teenagers, attended the “Istituti italiani all’estero”. The article is based on the analysis of the essays written by female students, preserved in the archives of one of the schools. The examination focuses on the specificities of the migratory experience as they emerge from the essays, and on the representations of the students’ country of origin and host country. The article shows the relevance of how the writers felt treated as women to their description of both Italy and Switzerland. Moreover, the selected material offers important insights into living conditions in the Confederation, particularly in relation to cultural consumption and free time activities, shedding light on the actual levels of integration achieved and the dynamics of integration.