“I arrived in Geneva from Portugal when I was 26 years old. It was very, very difficult at first. I struggled a lot. I applied for jobs with my social worker diploma, but as I had no experience in Switzerland, no one would give me a chance. So I worked as a nanny, as a maid in hotels, etc. Sometimes I couldn’t even make a minimum wage.
Later, my husband and I went through a difficult period without work. At the end of the month we didn’t know if we could buy food. Sometimes we had to choose between paying the bills or eating. I had to go to the psychologist and take medication because I had panic attacks. After that, things started to improve. I was able to get my degree recognized and worked as an educator with young children. I even opened a daycare centre ! If you don’t give up and keep going, you always manage to get something.
But this experience has had a profound impact on us. It made us reflect about what is important and whether it is worth living in a country like Switzerland which always require to have money. There are people who go through situations that we can’t even imagine. I believe that life is not only about going to work, coming home for dinner and going to bed. In Portugal, the salary is 4 times lower and people still have a happy life.
Anyway, I can’t stay for long in the same place doing the same thing! I was always passionate about being a doctor but in Portugal the competition was too difficult. But 3 years ago I finally started medical school in Argentina! The level of studies is exceptional there and you can live more freely than here. For the moment I am going back and forth, but my husband is ready to come with me once I’m finished. He follows me everywhere (laughs)! He’s Brazilian, so he knows what it’s like to have to adapt in a new country. I’m not afraid to go through difficult situations again and it gives me so much pleasure to discover new cultures. There are so many things to discover!”
(Rue de Lausanne | translated from French)