Who are you?
My name is Gloria, and I am Italian, bubbly and a travel lover. I am 25 years old and living in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Scotland about seven years ago. I decided to study and get my undergraduate degree here to master my English and have more opportunities, but I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. At that point, I was fresh out of high school and very eager to try something new.
How did you find somewhere to live?
When I first moved, I managed to spend two weeks in a hostel whilst looking for a home and a job. Living in a hostel was fairly easy, and I did not have any issues. I was lucky to be living there with my partner, as we had each other, which made the transition a little bit easier.
Finding a place was harder, because I had no previous references from either English-speaking employers or a landlord. Thankfully, I was able to pay six months’ worth of rent in advance and secure a place with my partner. You can look for accommodation online or visit estate agencies. I did all my research online (every time I moved flat) and never had problems.
I had no previous working experience, so I remained open minded. My first job was in the care sector, working in a care home with elderly people. I loved the experience and decided to study social work at university. Thankfully, prior to Brexit (back in 2014), applying to university as a European student was fairly easy here in Scotland. I got accepted and moved close to Glasgow to complete my studies.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Scotland has lots of expats from everywhere in the world. There are big communities of Italians, Spanish, French, Polish, Turkish, and South Africans. Edinburgh and Glasgow, the two main cities, are very multicultural.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
When I went to university, I was the only foreigner in my class, and I was able to build good relationships with locals. Scottish people are extremely welcoming, and this is the main thing I have always loved about living here.
What do you like about life where you are?
I like feeling integrated and part of the community. I love that I can try different jobs and don’t have to feel “stuck” in one to ensure financial security. Jobs are given based on meritocracy, which is not always the case in Italy. Scotland is definitely my second home; however, I do miss Italy as well as my family and friends.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
The only thing I am not a fan of is the wind/rain, which is predominant throughout the year.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
I have always been pretty good at adapting to new places and have never found major differences in cultures. The biggest cultural difference I found is food. I definitely rely more on takeaways here than fresh, handmade meals. Life here is also high paced, which is a bit different from what I was used to when living in a small town in Italy.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Anyone thinking of moving, whether for economic reasons or pleasure, DO IT! You will regret if you don’t take action.
There are other Facebook communities to receive support from, before and whilst moving to the country of your choice. I’d recommend doing a bit of research before taking the plunge. Also, set some money aside for emergencies. This will save you from disappointment.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to travel and live in different countries along the way, including Italy, Spain, Greece and Bali. I started an online business last year, and I’m loving it!
You can get in contact Gloria on Instagram @gloria.gelati.