Moving abroad will be the biggest decision I have ever made at least until now and it also was my best decision.
Whilst some people eager to leave their parents and, some of them, look forward to discover new countries, cultures and habits living abroad, I always wanted to avoid that. I have always imagined myself living in Portugal, where I could visit my parents regularly and I even used to talk to my brother about how we would go to each other’s houses every Sunday for a family dinner with our kids running around, playing together and us being the gorgeous family that we are.
Then, I graduated and quickly I became aware that Portugal had nothing exciting for me as a newly qualified staff nurse. The lack of jobs was surprising and the pay rate was embarrassing so although I struggle to accept, the reality was that the opportunities in my own country were almost unexistent and if I wanted a better present and future, I had to move abroad. And so I did.
On the 7th of October 2013 I was packed and ready get the flight to Manchester, followed by the train to Blackpool. I was not excited – I was scared. I didn’t know what I was coming for because I had never traveled abroad. I also did not know when I would come back home to see my family and that really gave me a lot of anxiety. But, I was up for it and having my boyfriend with me at all times was such a blessing and a great support!
Now, three years and fourteen days later, I guarantee you that leaving my home and country was the best decision I have ever made and here is why.
Personal Growth & Development Life experience is what makes you grow as an individual and with me moving away at 21 years old, I can say that now with almost 25 I have grown much more than I possibly would if I was still living with my parents. Suddenly, I have to sort out my bills, make sure I pay everything in time, look for houses to rent and stuff that I never had to deal with. And although there is Skype and Facebook where you can be connected with your loved ones at all times, sometimes you don’t want to worry them and so you try and sort everything on your own. That was me.
At some point, things got bad at my first job and I also had to deal with it without worrying my family and that involves keeping a lot to yourself. It can drain you and even drown you. But I managed to get out of that place and bad time of my life and move one. That was a learning process for me that I will never forget.
Money. I am not going to lie and I am sure you agree – most of the people who move abroad do it for the money. Not because they want to be rich but because if they stayed at their own country, they wouldn’t even have money for food. I wasn’t that bad of course but if I wanted to start saving money asap and be an independent women, staying in Portugal wasn’t going to give me that. Moving to the UK gave me the opportunity to earn a better wage that allows me to pay my bills without any worries and still save money for my future plans whilst also doing one or two trips a year to new places. I have visited a couple of cities that I would probably never visit if I was working in Portugal. It is the sad reality.
Independence. By the time I was 22 years old, I had been in the UK for a month and was close to leave the accommodation provided by the nursing home I was working at and rented my own flat. Then, I applied for a new job and moved to a rented semi-detached house closer to my new workplace. So, at 22 years old I had my own place, I was living with my boyfriend and I had control of all my actions and responsibilities. This sounds as exciting as scary but it was/is such a great experience. Living with my boyfriend was always so easy, we get along really well – hence why we have been together for five years, maybe!
Opportunities. If you are someone who is career focused, moving abroad will give you so many opportunities, at least here in the UK. So if you want to progress and grow professionally, there are chances that you will get that whilst moving abroad. Portugal is now so limited that it takes everyone’s motivation. Although I am still a Band 5 (staff nurse), I know that once the time is ready and if I work hard, there will be opportunity for me to be more and better and this might be the one best thing ever about moving abroad.
Multicultural. NHS is full of people from everywhere and so is the UK and I absolutely love that. You know so many people from dozens of different countries and you discuss your lifestyle habits, ideas and thoughts and I think that is so interesting. You don’t need to travel too far to know about other cultures. I personally work with people from Philippines, India, Italy, Spain, Romania, Greece and many other places and it is always such a nice experience to get to know them.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to come and work over here not only for these five reasons but many others that I could spend days writing about. It really affects me when I hear people complaining about minimal things and saying that they want to go back to their country when there, they would never accomplished what they have whilst living in the UK. This is a country of opportunities and we need to appreciate and be grateful for that.
Yes, I do want to go back to Portugal one day because I want to be able to help my parents as they get old and be close to my nephews once my brother and sister-i-law have kids because that is me – not only career but also family focused and actually, there is nothing more important to me than family.
So I know that I will go back to Portugal one day but all these years that I will spend in England will always be reminded as one of the best times of my life.