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Lusophone-African: Immigrating Alone To The UK From Portugal As Teenagers

The mainstream perception of immigration often highlights middle-aged individuals struggling to make ends meet or in pursuit of their dreams in foreign lands to attain a better life. However, immigrants and their experiences come in various shapes and forms.

Several immigrants see the UK as their home. While some reside in the shadows of fear as they contemplate deportation or being unable to see their families permanently, others had until recently the power to just cross European borders and settle here. But what about those who left their homes as teenagers and haven't since then turned back, just like me?

I reached out to Ana and Shay, two Black Lusophone-African women who did just that - migrated to the UK as teenagers, respectively to Manchester and to London, both at 19. They discuss the impact immigration has had on them and their relationship with identity and belonging.

Shay describes, “Initially, I came to London to do my social security documents and bank account. The intention wasn’t to migrate, I wanted to set up a business. The business didn't happen because of hurdles along the way. 

“Once I returned to Portugal, I realised I wasn't doing anything with my life besides partying. The last straw was when I opened my fridge one day and only had half a jar of olives and wine to cook, not even good enough to drink!”