Are you thinking about moving to Italy but aren’t quite sure how you are going to make ends meet? Or have you seen a gazillion episodes of House Hunters International and wondered, “Ok, but what exactly do they and other expats do?”. Or maybe you’re a curious soul like I am, and just want to know all sorts of random stuff.
Whatever it is, here is a list of some incredibly interesting and talented people that are making it work professionally in Milan, Italy.
Nissrine has lived in Italy on and off since 2007. During that time she’s done everything from work in the fashion industry to teach English and everything in between. (We met what feels like a gazillion years ago when we were both looking for an apartment in Milan.) After marrying her Italian man in 2011, she moved to Italy permanently. It was around that time that she started experiencing first hand how changing your diet can influence your health for the better. She decided to return to school to study holistic nutrition so she could help others do the same.
Nissrine is now a Canadian Registered Holistic Nutritionist and self-care advocate. She recently launched her business, HolisticNiss, helping clients eat well and live a more balanced life through private one on one consultations and whole food cooking lessons in Milan. Nissrine is also 1/3 of Healthy Happy Mi, a collaboration between two other international wellness professionals to bring holistic wellness and nutrition workshops to women in Milan. Their inaugural event, Time for Mi, on February 17th, is all about self-love and nourishing your mind, body, and soul. You won't want to miss it.
You can check out Nissrine and what she does for a living on Instagram @holisticniss and @healthyhappymi. Or you can contact Nissrine directly at email@example.com to find out more about her consultations and lessons.
Elizabeth is one part tour guide, one part copywriter and one part brand strategist. She began working in tourism in 2002 focusing on active food experiences. She led cycling tours of biodynamic wineries in Northern California before moving back to her home city of New York. After pursing a Master’s in Food Studies at NYU, she started a festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called the Food Book Fair.
Her expertise in events production and social media (and her wanderlust) led her to run the digital communications for the World’s Fair also known as Expo Milano in 2015. When she landed in Milan for the first time, she was floored by the beauty, innovation and food the city had to offer. She’s been leading food tours in Milan for the public since June 2018 and collaborates with Italian brands expanding in the US on digital PR strategies, marketing and brand communications.
Amanda is currently the Head of Communications of tech firm Mangrovia Blockchain Solutions, a systems integrator and software house providing consulting and development services to anyone seeking to understand or implement blockchain solutions in their business processes. Amanda’s adventure in Milan began 7 years ago when she was 25 years old. She had already graduated from university and had 4 years of work experience under her belt. Originally from Singapore, Amanda speaks fluent Italian, along with her native English and another 4 languages (like totally, kick butt, right!?!?).
When asked what surprised her most about living in Italy she replied, “As any foreigner who’s lived here can attest, the red-tape is a nightmare. And in spite of what some assume of Milan’s status as a cosmopolitan city, I can assure you that the international, diverse context of Singapore did not prepare me well for the prejudice (not just as an Asian non-Italian but as a young woman) I would face in so many situations, both in and out of a professional environment.” That said, she is happy she never gave up on herself nor on her Italian dream.
Her words of advice to anyone wishing to move to Italy “If you really want your life in Italy to take off, you’d better have some level of fluency in Italian and be prepared to not just accept, but appreciate your differences with Italians. After all, it just might turn out to be your leg up on the competition.”
Rhianna found herself in Milan mostly by accident. Back in 2016, she was told that she needed to have a couple of surgeries with long recovery times. Back then she was a full-time wedding photographer in her hometown of Perth, Australia, which meant that she had to stop taking bookings. Then her doctor decided to try a different approach, leaving her with a whole year off and nothing to do. So Rhianna decided to do what anyone else would in her position, move to Italy.
By February 2017, she had moved to Milan with a job and a visa. By April 2017, she no longer had a job because the visa was wrong. (Italy’s bureaucracy is infamous for a reason). Nevertheless, she felt so at home that she decided to make it work. Rhianna joined plenty of international groups on Facebook, went out to events and started teaching English privately to pay her rent. The first year was especially rough as visa issues loomed, but she worked through. Now, she’s getting back into photography, her one true love. She also works freelance as a writer (her second passion), Social Media Manager and Translator.
Rhianna says “The hustle can be tiring at times, but it’s well worth it. Milan is an amazing city - there’s always something to do, it’s small enough to walk from one side to the other, and there’s an incredibly supportive community of women from all corners of the globe.”
“Truly one doesn't know what tomorrow will bring” says Ken. In fact his life proves that he isn’t one to shun the twists and turns life brings. He met his other half, Bruno, a handsome Italian man one night at a bar in NYC, they went out the following day for brunch and soon started a long-distance romance. Ken lived in New York, and Bruno lived in Milan. As their frequent flier miles piled up, Ken decided to take a leap of faith and leave his family, friends, and job behind to move to Italy, barely 10 months after they met.
Ken spent the first few months learning the language and getting adjusted to the culture. As a graphic designer, it was fairly easy for him to find work in Milan. People valued his NY magazine experience. He worked for a few magazines (Uomo, D della Repubblica) and a graphic design firm. He also spent a number of years working freelance and “being a bit of a slacker” (his words not mine).
In 2012, Ken and Bruno found themselves underemployed, so they decided to open a flower design business. As Ken describes “While Bruno has always had a strong interest in plants, flowers, nature, and spatial design, I have a black thumb and can kill a cactus at 20 paces. The division of labor came naturally: my partner devoted himself to creating floral loveliness while I handled the graphics and balance the books.”
They have made great strides over the last few years with an esteemed list of clients like Versace, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Aveda, Christian Louboutin, Damiani, Rolex, and Pommery-Vranken. You can check out their floral masterpieces on their Manifesto Flowers Facebook page or follow them on Instagram at @manifesto_flowers_milano.
Fnan is a personal brand and image strategist. She helps corporate professionals and entrepreneurs build and monetize their reputation, personality and interests to build a career that aligns with their life purpose. (In fact, as those of you who follow me on Instagram know I’m currently working with Fnan to revamp my wardrobe, image, and post baby mojo...) Fnan is also a contributor at Forbes Italia, where you can check out her incredibly insightful comments into the Dolce and Gabanna debacle.
Originally from Saudi Arabia, but of Eritrean descent, Fnan moved to Milan more than 6 years ago. Her decision to come to Italy was motivated by interests in Italy and Italian craftsmanship. She made that dream a reality while finishing her degree in Finance at the European School of Economics. She hasn’t looked back since.
You can also check out Fnan’s videos on her YouTube channel, two of my personal favorites are on how color affects your image and on building a capsule wardrobe. Plus you can connect directly with Fnan via Instagram @fnan_teklay.