Case studies Sara: Seize the day
Sara: Seize the day
Sara: Seize the day

Sara: Seize the day (6)

Motto: To have more chances presupposes to be able to choose.

Demographic and biographical Characteristics

Sara is 18 years old. She lives in Italy since she was born. Her mother is British and her father Italian. She attended school in Bologna and since her childhood she has been spending the summer holiday in England. She speaks very well both English and Italian. Some years ago her parents decide to separate and now that Sara finished the compulsory education her mother wants to go back to New Castle from where she comes. Sara likes spending time with her friends, especially to go to the cinema or to do shopping. She has a lot of friends both in Italy and in England and when she is in one of the two countries she is always in contact with the friends of the other country by phone, skype and chat. She is not interested in anything in particular but only in her professional career of beautician.


Educational and transitional pathways:  

Sara attends the vocational school to become a beautician. After 5 years she graduates and now she wants to go to work in order to be independent to choose where to live, because her parents asked her if she would like to live in Italy or in Britain. She knows very well British and Italian culture but after school she spends some months to do nothing, only reflecting where she really wants to start working. She is only sure that she wants to find an employment, despite her parents try to convince her to keep her vocational training before working.

At the beginning she is against her parents but thanks to the opinions exchanged with friends and peers she accepts the idea of a further training in order to be a specialised beautician.

In order to decide what kind of specialisation and where she would do it, she starts surfing on the net to select the best opportunities either in Italy or in England. Her parents help Sara to gather information through all contacts they have with “Vocational Training Office” in both countries. At the same time Sara is in touch with her English and Italian friends in order to listen to them about the different opinions and ideas concerning her situation. She speaks with them a lot in order to understand where she wishes to stay for the following years and months. Despite of all information she is very confused because she doesn’t like to choose a country between the two ones. After school she takes the decision to go on holiday with her friends because she needs to keep a gap from her family which is giving her too many opposite inputs and suggestions. During the holiday Sara has the opportunity to reflect with her friends and understand what she likes to do at the professional level before selecting where. During her holiday Sara also understands to consider the opportunity of two countries like an important chance for her future and not like a worried situation. At the end of her holiday she realizes to be very lucky because she has possibilities, which a lot of her peers cannot have. She changes her attitude and starts exploiting this situation like a chance for her life. Surfing on the net by herself and with friends Sara realises that she wants to be a beautician able to work with hi-tech machine in the field of cosmetics. She also decides to take contacts with the British and Italian Vocational Training Office directly without the mediation of her family. At the end Sara decides to attend an on-line course, which lasts two years with the opportunity to have two stages, one in England and another one in Italy. In this way she feel free to live where she wants and to move everywhere she likes. After two years of training she decides to focus her energies on looking for a job basing her choices on the opportunity to increase her experience and knowledge, not only considering her family and friends.

Motivations and Strategies:

Sara is interested only in her professional context but she wants to go to work after school because she wants to be independent of her parents’ situation. She doesn’t want to follow the suggestion of her mother or father concerning a specialisation because she is afraid and sad to decide and choose a country between the two. Indeed for her it means to choose between her father and her mother. She wants to have an employment to be free to stay where she wishes. Despite of this confusion, the motivation for her professional development is the unique guide for Sara.

She only adopts the strategy she knows: to exchange ideas and opinions with her friends and peers of both countries in order to see different points of view. She also surfs on the net to select the best opportunity for her professional development, once she has understood and accepted what her parents suggested.

Sara adopts another important strategy: She goes on holiday with her friends in order to keep a gap from her family for a while. She understands that she needs to decide by herself and not to please her parents. She looks for information alone when she understands that to be independent of her family for the decision-making process is more important than to be it economically.

Ad hoc learning scenarios

The family context was a fundamental learning scenario for Sara. Here she learnt two languages and the knowledge of two social cultures. She also learnt to live and adopt herself in both countries and have two groups of friends (British and Italian) who have different point of view about professional and personal life. From her family Sara received different inputs and suggestions in order to develop her future. The intergenerational and intercultural context of her family provided some important aspects for Sara’s growth.

Then the vocational school was the most formal learning context because thanks to this educational experience she developed her professional passion.

In this story the most relevant learning scenario was the group of friends and peers. Thanks to them Sara learnt to have the courage to follow her wishes and she also rose her awareness about her decisions. In order to be in touch with the friends from England and Italy she increased her e-skills by using of skype and MSN, social networks and surfing on Internet to look for needed information suggested by all peers. Her e-skills developed as well as she could attend an e-learning course like the best solution for her needs and requirements.

Support Services used

The family supported Sara all time, providing her different solutions and information related to the training opportunities both in Italy and in England. However she received the best support by her groups of friends who helped Sara to reflect on her situation in terms of opportunity for her life. They supported Sara to find out the courage to make her decisions on the basis of her wishes and not to pleasure her parents.

The web 2.0 tools played an important role for her because she could get informed about some possible courses in which she was interested. Then the Internet allowed her to be in contact with her friends and peer to share and exchange experience and opinions. This was an important detail for her in order to decide how to face the situation.

She also received an important support by the Vocational Training Offices because they selected the information that she needed to have.

Learning type

The most present learning type is that of non-formal learning: Either in family or in the group of friends Sara learnt a lot at all levels. Thanks to her parents she learnt two different languages and also the abilities to live in different contexts and countries. The continuous exchange with her parents who come from different cultures allowed her to be used to have intergenerational and intercultural relations. Only through her groups of European friends she understood the richness of her situation. 

Self-learning by sharing: Sara used all her abilities, competences and skills to understand and learn by sharing experiences with her peers. She had a lot of benefits thanks to the contacts with different friends who live in different cultural environments. 

Formal learning together with e-learning: Sara attended the vocational school to become a beautician and this experience was really important for her, because she discovered and developed her professional passion. At the beginning she was sure to go to work but then she understood that a further vocational training would have been fundamental to have a better employment and future. Thanks to her e-skills she achieved new and updated professional competences to have a better enter in the job-market. This opportunity was offered by the e-learning course, which was organized with a blended approach: some lesson on line and two stages directly in work-environments.

Information and Communication Technologies

Sara is an expert of ICT, especially to be in touch with all friends around Europe. She learnt by herself and she is used to call and chat trough skype, MSN and social networks. She also can use wiki-platform and other web 2.0 environments.

After her e-learning course she learnt to have some interaction with other learners always through Internet. She took part in audio meetings and virtual conferences.

What she suggests for G8WAY is to offer information about the vocational and e-learning courses in Europe in order to explain the different vocational training systems, which all European citizens could use to improve their professional careers.

She highlights how the comparison among European training opportunities would be a good chance for the European young citizens in order to move from a country to another one to find the best solutions for their life.