FELICE Patri has recently completed the equivalent of an HND in economics from his college in Bari.

He met The Herald during a break from peeling potatoes for customers in a Glasgow city centre venue.

For him, the move to Scotland is about financial independence.

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The 19-year-old said: "My parents are in the jewellery business but they could not afford to give me a job. During the summer I worked as a lifeguard just for accommodation and food, but it meant I was doing something.

"I recently finished my economics course and came in the top 20% but finding work in southern Italy is almost impossible just now."

Mr Patri was offered work in Scotland, where he has been for the past three weeks.

"Leaving my family has been the hardest thing, definitely", he said. "But I like Glasgow. I even like the work that I do. It is very important for me not to have to ask others for money and to support me. I have that independence. I am staying in a flat with someone from Florence. It helps save money.

"Right now, I'm thinking I'd like to stay for as long as I can. The language is hard. I learned some at school, but more in the last three weeks.

"I'm prepared to do whatever work is there to keep me independent. I can keep in touch with my family through Skype and my friends are waiting to see how things work for me before thinking about following me over."