Starting a new life in Portugal is a big change. Some people move abroad for a new adventure, to explore the unknown or to immerse themselves in a new culture and language. Others may have the luxury to move abroad due to a new job opportunity or to finally enjoy their retirement in the country of their dreams. Yet others decide to immigrate for very simple and necessary human needs like a better quality of life and safety.
In today’s Expat story we interview Camilla of @nobrecamilla (Instagram), a Brazilian who relocated to Portugal seeking what some of us may take for granted- a safe haven, good quality of life and the opportunity to reinvent oneself.
WCIL: What is your country of origin?
Camilla: I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
WCIL: What country do you currently live in?
Camilla: I am now living in Portugal
WCIL: What made you want to start a new life in Portugal?
Camilla: I was looking for a better quality of life in a safer country.
WCIL: Do you feel a sense of “home” now in Portugal? Or will Brasil always carry a stronger sense of “home” for you?
Camilla: My home now is Europe. I plan to go to Brasil only on holidays nowadays.
WCIL: What did it feel like when you finally decided to move, buy the tickets, etc?
Camilla: The very first time I crossed the ocean I was super happy, the idea of living in a “1st world country” just amazed me. I wasn’t sad about leaving- it felt like the right thing to do.
WCIL: What were you most afraid of about life in Portugal?
Camilla: I was sad for leaving my friends, I knew it was real life knocking at my door.
WCIL: What did it feel like when you finally arrived in your new country?
Camilla: I was glad to see my parents (who were already based here). I had not seen them in over a year so it was wonderful to reunite with them in our new country. I also felt like I had the chance to rest and reinvent myself in the countryside.
WCIL: Did you have any contacts or friends in your new country?
Camilla: I have some Brazilian friends now who were in the same situation as me. Prior to that, I didn’t know anyone other than my parents who had moved here before me.
WCIL: How did you support your new life in Portugal?
Camilla: Luckily my parents were already based here, so they gave me all the support. I could not have made a life in Portugal without them.
WCIL: If you had to look for a job there, what was the experience like?
Camilla: It took 4 months to find a job. It was a tough part of life in Portugal. I was starting to feel down as I didn’t think it would take so long but I finally got it through Facebook searching.
WCIL: How was your day-to-day life in Portugal?
Camilla: The first months of life in Portugal without a job were difficult and I felt incredibly restless. My routine was exercising, writing, and painting which to some people may sound like a dream day. Yet for me, It was too calm and therefore difficult to enjoy. I thought about giving up and going somewhere else all the time.
WCIL: What was your experience like with the locals?
Camilla: Life in Portugal is good now. It’s kinda difficult to make friends with groups that know each other for a long time, so I’m usually friends with the Expats.
WCIL: Did you or have you been homesick and if so, how did you manage it?
Camilla: I still get very homesick. It can be a challenge to get over it. I try to do the things I love the most to distract myself. I go out to explore and talk to other people. My full life in Portugal helps, I’m always trying to fill up my bucket list.
WCIL: What have you learned about yourself in this new life in Portugal?
Camilla: Life in Portugal is taught me many things. I learned that money is very important but I’m not making that a priority in my life. Moving to another country totally opened my mind for basically everything- to accept people the way they are, to be kind to strangers and to stand up for myself. I was extremely shy as a kid, but this life changed that. I am an introvert-extrovert who loves to be alone but at the same time, I love to make new friends and enjoy my life to the fullest.
WCIL: What would you say to anyone considering an international move or a life in Portugal?
Camilla: Look for a place that you love. If you don’t like where you are, consider a move! It’s never easy but it will be worth it if you want to. Best of luck!
Are you Interested in a Life in Portugal?
Check out our blogs on how to get residency and citizenship to start your life in Portugal.