Melinda Willis

Melinda Willis (TAMPEP, Turin): At the time of her fellowship, Melinda was studying for a Master’s degree at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. She was the 2004-2005 co-editor of Praxis, the Fletcher Journal of International Development.



A Little Help From My Friends

11 Jun

I didn’t need a visa to come to Italy, but I did need a residency permit to stay here. Within 8 days of arrival, I was required to report to the local police. I was prepared to find the office, show up and say, “Hi, I’m here.” Well, there is actually a bit more to it than that and TAMPEP helped me figure that out. They told me I needed several documents, which were a little more detailed than the passport and a smile I was going to whip out.

At the immigration office, Rosanna’s sister, Sonia, led me around and helped me fill out the papers. I am now the proud holder of permission to stay in Italy until the end of August, replete with the customarily awful passport photo stapled to the upper right-hand corner.

Throughout the experience, I was so grateful for Sonia’s help and knowledge. She knew exactly where to go and was a familiar face to many in the halls. I don’t pretend that the process for getting this permit is anywhere near comparable to that for obtaining more permanent residency status. But if something even this simple could be daunting, what must the asylum process be like?

As I saw other migrants waiting in the halls, I wondered whether they had anyone like TAMPEP helping them through, or if they had to figure everything out on their own. When TAMPEP assists someone in understanding Italian law and gathering countless documents to obtain legal residency, they strip away some of the anxiety. It’s a little bit of help that goes a long way.

Posted By Melinda Willis

Posted Jun 11th, 2004

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