Migrants, Multiculture, Our People, Profiles, Uncategorized

Sandra Mendoza: Being creative in England

Sandra spent portions of her life in Peru, Spain and Germany before moving to the United Kingdom to aid her professional and creative development.

 

Sonia Gumiel

 

At 27 years old, Sandra considers herself to be the perfect age to live in a city like Bristol, a place that provides her with culture, art, events and dance, and allows her to meet people from around the world who share the same interests.

Sandra’s family history of migration begins with her father, a Peruvian doctor who emigrated to Spain when she was 9 years old.

Although he is a doctor, he did not have the high quality of life associated with his profession in his homeland.

Whilst Sandra, her mother and little sister continued living in their home country, her father came to Lima once a year to visit them. However, when Sandra wanted to begin her engineering degree, it was her father who decided that they should move to Spain, so she could start her studies at a university there. This decision meant that the whole family had to move to Spain.

Eight years of back and forth visits between Peru and Spain passed before the family lived with Sandra’s father again.

In Spain, Sandra was lucky to meet nice people, and she found it easy to adjust to life there.

Furthermore, she was given the opportunity to study in Germany for a year, thanks to agreements between Spanish and German universities.

Her experience in Germany could not have been better. She got on well with native Germans, which gave her an advantage in learning the language. In addition, a German company offered her work, but she could not take the job as she was not yet a Spanish citizen.

Sandra became a citizen two years ago. However, as she was not a citizen earlier, she lost the job offer, as well as 200 euros when her visa application to visit England was rejected twice.

After studying in Germany for a year, she returned to Spain to finish her degree and work in a munitions factory, something that she was not passionate about. Later, she was offered a job related to reverse engineering, something more relevant to her studies. But she could not pursue her other interests.

At this stage, she felt she needed a change, and thought one day: “Why not move to Bristol, England?”

She could not have made a better decision. The city gives her the chance to work and also do other activities, such as dance, so she can develop her creative and expressive side.

She arrived in the UK during the cold British winter, and went to live in Bristol, where her first job was in a washing machine factory.

During this time, she had an accident at work. When her bosses subsequently checked her CV, they saw that she was an engineer and offered her work that was more related to her degree, in the quality assurance department. While she was working at the factory, she received a call offering her a job in maintenance.

Sandra was more interested in this new job. This change meant that her experience became an opportunity to reach future objectives within the engineering field.  She says, “I don’t want to reach a higher-paid position without knowing how to work my way upwards.”

One of her interests is setting up a project related to water, electricity and other utilities.

Her life in Bristol is going well, although she has felt isolated from her English co-workers. She does not know if this is because she is Peruvian or because she is a woman.

What is certain is that, while she is enjoying living in England, she knows where she wants to live in the future. She wants to return to Spain, the country she considers home, where she enjoys the culture, the authenticity and uniqueness that the country offers.

(Translated by Zosia Niedermaier-Reed – Email: zosianreed.translations@gmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay

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