I am Patricia, from Portugal, the country with the best olive oil, the Porto wine, and Cristiano Ronaldo. I left Portugal in 2012. Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches, nice weather, and excellent gastronomy. However, the Great Recession affected it negatively as it did to too many countries, making it very difficult for young adults.
When I decided to leave my family and friends, I was 20 years old, and I had a clear expectation of what I wanted for my life in England. My plan was simple: arrive, learn the language, and go to University, all within two years. Maybe I was a little naïve. I ignored the reality of moving to a different country, alone, without any family members, to live with a friend from my childhood.
(Source: Home stratosphere (edited)
England was so different. The first shocking reality was the cold weather, then came the language barrier. Luckily, I had little cousins with whom I could practice my English. I managed to get a job in a cold environment factory, and body could not cope with it. I felt ill for a week. I worked in many factories and warehouses while studying ESOL to improve the English I learned during the first year.
My two years plan lasted six years. Only in 2018 I managed to get into University to study Biomedical Science. Almost eleven years later, I find myself here at PARCA, assisting students in the same position I was before. When I found out about the institution online, it felt just right. It was the perfect opportunity to give back exactly where I started. My road was difficult, but I persisted, and looking at my life now, leaving was the best decision I made.