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Alessandra, London

Who are you?

My name is Alessandra and I am a positive and fun loving person who loves writing, photography and travel.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

Originally from Brazil, I decided to move overseas almost 10 years ago. My first destination was Melbourne, Australia, then I moved to California in the USA, where I continued studying International Business. I am currently living in London, UK, and I have been here for almost 3 years now.I decided to move overseas as I always thought that the world has a lot to offer me, and that by living in one place I was missing out on the learning experience that we get when we connect to different people, explore new places and leave our comfort zone.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The first real challenge was learning how to adapt to a different environment and better communicate with people. My English language skills weren’t as good as I wished and had trouble expressing myself. The second biggest challenge was feeling homesick and missing my family, friends, and everything that was natural to me. The third one was questioning my decision of abandoning a comfortable life in my home country, and my capability of making it in another foreign one by myself.

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How did you find somewhere to live?

During the first time I moved to a new country, I had accommodation set up for me through the university. The second time I moved, which was to the USA, I had a friend who was already going to college there so we moved in together.

Are there many other expats in your area?

The expat community in London is probably one of the largest in the world and the majority of my friends are expats like me.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

I have a good and respectful relationship with the local people, but I find it hard to get into their circle of friends if you are not dating or married to a local person. It is definitely the first city I lived that I have trouble making real friends with the local people.

What do you like about life where you are?

What I like about London is the diversity, the choices you have for food and things to do, the ease of travel, and the general feeling of safety.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

There are very few things I dislike about my expat life because I don’t think I would be happier living any other way. But the main aspects to it is when you are always seen as a foreigner and the fact that there are generally more obstacles to everything that we want to do in the new country, whether it be getting a job that we want or opening a bank account.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

The biggest cultural difference is how people are open to each other. In Brazil, everyone seem to talk to you and have a friendly manner when approaching you. Here in London, it takes longer to make friends and people are not necessarily interested on getting to know you.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I really enjoy the variety of cuisines that London has to offer. I also love the drink options it provides, whether it’s alcoholic or healthy juices. There are many great restaurants and you can always find the ingredients that you are looking for when you cook as well.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

I would say that the journey is not normally easy and that you will face many challenges along the way. But you have to remember that everything is worth it as you will learn a lot from this experience and it will definitely make you a better person – hopefully a real citizen of the world.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to become a successful travel and expat blogger and writer and help people out there on their expat journey, as well as share tips and travel pictures.

You can keep up to date with Alessandra's adventures on her blog, An Expat Diary, and on Instagram.

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