As she stands in front of the wall, ready to be photographed, Italian Lisa Scanu (18) tells about the tattoo under her left collarbone. The word zussen – Dutch for sisters – remembers her of her time in Costa Rica. It sounds crazy: a Dutch word for an Italian girl as a memory of her stay in a country where Spanish is the predominant language.
As a high school kid she stayed in Costa Rica for one year with a host family. As she felt her ‘host sister’ was a real one, she decided to honor this relationship with a tattoo. “I thought of the Italian version of zussen, but I doubted, thought my friends and family in Italy would perhaps find it a bit crazy.” She doesn’t have a real sister, only a younger brother.
Scanu tells about her mother’s Dutch roots: she was born and raised in the Netherlands. Twenty years ago her mother moved to the north of Italy. “Ik praat beetje Nederlands”, Scanu laughs. And what did her mother think of her tattoo? “She told me I was crazy, haha, but feels it’s my choice and my body. I’m the one who has to walk around with it.”
Scanu has often visited her mother’s birthplace Breda. In Maastricht she was only once before, “as a tourist”.
It was her mother who addressed several study programs in the Netherlands. “’You can learn about my culture’, she said.” Scanu chose European Studies.
Listening to the concert of the Tuna, a group of students dressed up in traditional costumes who sing Spanish songs, it becomes clear that her Inkom-group split up on day one. “Today [Wednesday afternoon] our mentor has to work, so we just visit some activities on our own”, as she points to a fellow group member next to her.
Isn’t there a way to come together? “We do have a WhatsApp group but the messages are written in Dutch. I hope it will be better organized next year.”
To confirm the prejudices about Italians – that they only like their own coffee and pasta: Scanu brought it with her.