GIOVENTU » Young Italians less open to the global work market?

Young Italians less open to the global work market?

Young Italians still dream of finding a job in Italy, are not so enthusiastic about learning foreign languages and relatively few study abroad. These are the results the study of the “Observatory on the internationalisation of schools and student mobility” of the “Intercultural Foundation”, in collaboration with “Ipsos” and financed by “Telecom Foundation”.

The Italian new generations are frightened by the globalised world and are too tied to the family and social context where they have grown up. All this, in short, results in them being less open to the global work market than their European peers.

The research institute “Ipsos” interviewed a sample of 2,275 European students and compared the results with the responses of 800 Italian students. More than a half resulted in having a closed attitude towards foreign countries, obtaining the lowest average score, while the best were Sweden and Germany. The questions were intended to measure the degree of internationalization of schools, student mobility, the perception they have of themselves, and the environment around them, regarding their openness to other languages and cultures, but only 20% of them proved to be really part of the global context.

The problem is cultural, the mental attitude. Italians perceive themselves as pleasant and sociable, in fact in Italy social identity and family relationships have a central role; while the Germans and the Swedes are more focused on their goals and believe in individualism as a means to success. 

The knowledge of foreign languages, English in particular, is another objective barrier to internationalisation. In Italy only 35% of young people claim to have a good level of English. Not to mention the average population, where it goes down even at rates between 5 and 7% . A different world compared to Sweden and Germany, where they are respectively 77% and 67% .

The causes are not to be found in the school curricula, but outside the school walls, where the relationship with foreign languages is almost non-existent in Italy. Italians don’t watch movies or read books in other languages. In Sweden and Germany, 85% and 52% of respondents see almost every day foreign language films. Italians wouldn’t have even the chance to do so because films and TV programs are all dubbed in Italian.


Nevertheless 89 % of the interviewed would be willing to work abroad for a while, but it is only a choice of necessity because they do not have a job. In short, only the economic crisis internationalizes young Italians.

Giulia Lombardo

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