Three months ago marked the beginning of my Welsh adventure; my challenge to define ‘espresso’, embrace Welsh rugby, pin a daffodil on my jacket and learn some Welsh words.

Thanks to the Leonardo Da Vinci programme, after sending off my CV and getting an interview I was packing all my things into a bag not exceeding 20kg.

Before I knew it I was in Wales, or Cymru, if you prefer. The Leonardo programme is a European funded programme which supports mobility by organising work placements for graduates and school leavers, giving them the opportunity to gain experience working abroad.

There were two things I was looking for before leaving: the personal experience and the professional experience. I’ve had them both.

My goal to improve my basic marketing skills and my interest for equal opportunities took me to Chwarae Teg, a charitable Welsh organisation focused on helping women to broaden their horizons, build their confidence, make the best use of their skills and have truly rewarding careers.

And I’m a career–minded woman! But the organisation doesn’t work with women alone. Chwarae Teg is developing a real “culture” where women and men can be equal, without stereotypes, trying to give new generations the possibility to grow up in gender–aware environments.

This experience is helping me not only develop my marketing and networking skills, but is also helping me to become more aware of the issues and barriers that women face.

That was more than enough to get me on the move. Working abroad can challenge you in ways that you never thought possible. But it’s the way you react and adapt to these challenges that decides if you can become a better person or not and your host family and company have a crucial role to play.

It’s incredible when you are far from home, but you feel at home and a part of a team. The concept of team-work is important at Chwarae Teg. This way of working encourages variety of tasks, autonomy, responsibility and social contact that is essential for a foreign student. Since the first day here, I haven’t felt like ‘the intern’ and I’ve received all the training I needed.

I found a flexible environment, motivated people who work to achieve a goal and believe in their job, who are creating and supporting a Wales where women are really achieving and prospering- I’m conscious how far we are from achieving this in Italy.

Thanks to the European social fund, this organization is becoming a landmark for this country. The launch of their Agile Nation project in 2007 has been such a success story.

This experience is helping me not only develop my marketing and networking skills, but is also helping me to become more aware of the issues and barriers that women face.

We are now trying to make more of women’s skills and abilities to benefit families, communities and the Welsh economy.

Gender stereotyping remains a problem with women under-represented in many sectors in different areas of Europe. But the difference Chwarae Teg is making in Wales demonstrates that change is possible.

Almost three months after I first arrived, I feel immersed in the company. Being exposed to a new language and trying to make the most of my placement in such a short space of time can be incredibly energy-absorbing, but thanks to my team, I’m gaining confidence each day.

During my work-placement I’ve been involved in different marketing activities including social media which I’ve learned is an increasingly prominent means of networking and communicating; both essential components of a marketing career.

I learnt that the only constant in social media is change! Moreover, I support my team to create content for the website, research activity, organisation and promotion of events and I also participated in conferences to represent the organisation.

I really enjoyed our meetings over a coffee, where the best ideas came out. It’s unusual that here the management involves you in the development of ideas, whereas at work in Italy I had to simply follow the manager’s directions. Working together in this way, we can achieve more.

This is the key to building up a more creative and productive working environment!

I would like to personally thank my team, but all staff of Chwarae Teg, and all of the other companies and organisations that each year give students the possibility to ‘grow up’ abroad.

Today in my country it’s not so easy to become an adult, secure a good job and start a life of independence. I’ve decided to start a new life in UK. Yes, in UK. I hope to return to Italy one day, but not now. I’m happy and satisfied and I’ve just obtained a job contract!

The Leonardo programme certainly achieves the objective of raising a European citizenship.

I have relationships with people from different cultures now and this is a great way to better understand who you are.

I don’t know what the coming months will bring, but if they have as much to do with the way I’ve been working and the people I have been meeting here up to this point, then I say: Come on!