At only 18 years old she moved to England to gain a broader perspective on life and learn English. However, she was never able to return to the country she missed so much because of the lack of career opportunities.
Nara Pérez has two cultures running through her veins that, although similar, are still different. On the one hand, her Portuguese and, on the other, her Spanish. All it took was a trip to London in 2006 for her to realise that England was a country full of opportunities.
She is currently settled in Bristol, the English city where she completed her university degree and has a job related to her hospitality training, although this was not always the case.
When she first arrived in the UK, she had many obstacles to overcome. The first of these was the language. Her first year was the worst of all. She travelled from Spain to Scotland with a friend and worked there as a cleaner in a hotel.
When her contract ended, she spent her time travelling and spent all her money, which is why she moved to Bristol where her father lives. Once she was settled in Bristol, she started to study English, which meant she was able to get better jobs and go to university. It is true that Nara missed her native Spain but she was aware that she would not be able to develop professionally there.
“In England, the government gives you the opportunity to study a degree and then offers you work related to your studies, with a salary similar to that of any other worker”, she explains.
Life in England surprised her right from the very beginning: when the English invited her out to the cinema or to lunch or dinner, she had to pay for herself. They also respect queues in the supermarket, in the bank and government buildings, and abide by the country’s rules.
They also start sentences with “please” and end with “thank you”. There could even be another “thank you” in the middle of the sentence.
But what is the response to the peaceful acceptance of queues and rules? It is surely something she still has to learn by living there.
According to Nara, in Spain, if you did not come from a wealthy or well-known family, you could not go to university.
Furthermore, competent Spanish professionals leave the country every day to go to other places, where they are given the opportunity to develop professionally, as well as have a home and be able to start a family.
She also claims that young graduates in England are seen as an opportunity.
Companies can train them themselves, thereby teaching them the company’s strategies, which are handled with greater motivation, learning ability and adaptation.
Despite English companies’ preference for this type of worker, Nara tells us that she never noticed discrimination in terms of age, gender or culture towards those applying for different jobs.
When asked about missing her home country, the answer is clear: “If I had the opportunity to develop my career path in my native country, I wouldn’t think twice about going back”.
In her head and in her heart, if cities like Barcelona or Madrid opened their doors, she would happily go down that road.
In reality, England not only gives her the opportunity to pay for her home, to eat and to grow professionally, but it also grants her one of her greatest passions: spending money on whatever she wants. Nara still misses the sun and Spanish food, but, for the moment, her home is in Bristol. In the future, she is sure that she will return to Spain to continue her adventure and carry on learning and experiencing life.
(Translated by Rachel Hatt – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)