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As regular readers will know, Moving to Portugal is all about our move from rainy England to sunny Portugal and our experiences of settling in to our wonderful new country. This week, inspired by one of the comments on last week’s blog post, we thought it would be fun to turn everything on its head and look at the opposite perspective – what things are like for a Portuguese expat living in England.
Kat, her parents and her eldest sister moved to England in 2004, when Kat was 13. Here’s what she has to say about the experience:
M2P: What were the main reasons for the move?
Kat: There were a few different reasons. Firstly, my middle sister was living in England with her partner at the time. My mum wanted to be nearer to her, so that was the initial thought. Then there was the reason that my parents wanted to give me a better education. Out in Portugal education can be very expensive, paying hundreds of euros every year for books and the other things associated with school. If it hadn’t been for me, they say they would never have moved, so I owe them all for that, as I had the best education I could have asked for.
M2P: Did you find it hard to learn the language? How long did it take you?
Kat: Learning the language was a bit daunting. For the first few months I didn’t really talk much in school – I was more taking it all in and learning it. Surprisingly, however, I remember understanding a lot more than I expected.
M2P: What was it like starting school in England when up until the move you had been educated in Portugal?
Kat: School was fun. Weird to begin with because we have different holidays (no half terms in Portugal), and there is no uniform in Portugal either, so that was a bit weird. But I loved school so I found it all good.
M2P: What do you like most about living in England?
Kat: England is home. I grew into an adult here, I am used to the language, the system, how everything works. I can’t pinpoint one specific thing about England, coz almost everything is good – MINUS THE WEATHER. That irritates me, I like sunshine so much, and England doesn’t get much of it.
M2P: Would you ever consider moving back to Portugal?
Kat: Moving to Portugal? I don’t think so. Extended holidays maybe, but actually living and working in Portugal… I wouldn’t (unless I was offered a job that paid me millions hehe!).
M2P: After so many years in England, do you consider yourself to be more English than Portuguese?
Kat: I am both. I will always be Portuguese. I don’t think it matters how far away you are from your home country, you still carry your roots with you. Portugal is my darling home and I have to go home almost every year. But, I also consider myself English, because England has provided me with so many opportunities that I am so thankful for.
M2P: Is your diet mainly English or mainly Portuguese?
Kat: If I am at home with my family, the diet is Portuguese. If I am with friends or my partner then it will be English. Although I love the variety of foods that England offers, from English to Indian, Chinese etc. I just love ALL FOODS. I get good variety here.
M2P: What do you miss about living in Portugal?
Kat: I miss the sun, the beaches, the clear skies, the hotness, the pace of life. I miss my family and just generally relaxing without a worry in the world.
So it seems that wherever you move from and to, there are certain parts of your culture that go along with you and certain parts of your new culture that you quickly embrace. Thank you Kat for taking the time to speak to Moving to Portugal and providing us with the opposite perspective 🙂
Image credits: Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Rob Herring