Photo Credit: IOM/Tiago Figueiredo
"I felt the need to leave Brazil as soon as I finished my undergraduate studies. In Portugal my academic experience became much richer because I was out of my comfort zone. I began my master’s degree last year, and now I am doing an internship in communication while also working in a kiosk to meet my expenses. I think my choice to come to Portugal was influenced by two of my great friends who happen to be Portuguese.
I only knew Lisbon from what I used to hear in history classes at school. We did not listen to Portuguese music or watch Portuguese TV shows. My vision of Portugal was based on the old Portugal. When I arrived I was very surprised. Lisbon was such an open city with people from all over the world and places that I did not expect to see here, such as the LX Factory for instance. I expected to see places like this in Berlin, but not in Lisbon. There is a really good mix of cultures. I found a “Brazilian Lisbon” and an “African Lisbon” that I did not even imagine existed. I came without knowing what to expect and believing that even if it did not work out it would still be a good experience. I had an open mind and I was ready to accept opportunities as they came.
During my first week at university, I struggled to understand what teachers were saying. It was a shock to me. I had a teacher in Branding Management who used to joke a lot during the classes. People would laugh and I remember laughing too without having a clue what the joke was. I think it is because of the language’s music/sound in Portugal compared to Brazil. As time went by I got used to the differences.
If I had to leave Lisbon, I would miss its beautiful viewpoints and its simple way of life. I like the simplicity and the way people value the small things of life, such as sitting at a viewpoint with a glass of wine and you're good for the night! Those who did not experience living in a violent context do not value safety enough.
I feel like a migrant because I was confronted with all the difficulties that a foreigner meets here. In addition to the difficulty of finding a job, I had to go through all the necessary and complicated bureaucratic process to legalize my stay here.
It is difficult to replace the feeling of being at home. I love Lisbon, but it will never be the place in which I was born. It is a different feeling, not better, nor worse; itis just a part of the experience of migration. Those who take the initiative to leave home are open and receptive to a new culture and new ways of living. In general, young people are more able to welcome foreigners. There is a lady in Alfama who usually sits on one set of stairs close to my house. For me, to be able to speak with her is the best. She may not know this but I always try to make the conversation as long as possible to absorb and experience the culture and people who surround me."