"I'm originally from Colombia, but now I live in Switzerland. I'm based in Geneva, where I work as a beauty consultant while also studying French. Before coming here I lived in the USA, which is the first place I went to after leaving Colombia at 21. Originally, I moved because of insecurity and a lack of oportunities back home. My first impressions were that people in America were respecful; it was easy to find a job, open a bank account, get an ID. But I think with Trump's ideas things have changed, and now people don't have to be respectful towards others.
Now that I am in Switzerland, I view my presence here as an opportunity to bring my knowledge and share my points of view in this new setting. To me, being a migrant means doing whatever you have to do in order to follow your dreams, and that is what I am doing now. There are often obstacles to overcome, including racism and negative stereotypes. But I think it's worth it to do anything you must to follow your heart. Those in the host country can play their part too: please smile and make an effort to help others, a tiny gesture can mean the world for the others!
I miss Colombia sometimes, especially my family, the food and the weather. I set up an Instagram business distributing handicrafts from home, which is one way I maintain a link to my country. But in truth home means happiness and peace, my perfect space. This is something I can find anywhere."
This story is brought to you in partnership with The Refugee Cultural Festival, 2017 edition. The festival was launched to encourage small, local actions to embrace diversity and support those forced to leave their homes due to war, famine and climate change. Learn more about the festival and donate by clicking here.