Paulo is Brazilian and works as a concierge in London, where he’s been living since he arrived eight years ago from São Paulo.
"The message I would give to my younger self or to anyone thinking to leave home for a foreign country is: get ready. Study hard and learn the language if want to have the best chances for success".
What do you consider your nationality to be?
Can you tell us your story as a Foreigner?
I arrived in London eight years ago from San Paulo. I followed my brother who came here to work and to learn English. I came for the same reasons, he went back and I am still here eight years later.
What do you enjoy about living abroad? What benefits you?
I came here to find a better life than the one I could get in Brazil. Back home I was a gym instructor but I didn’t have many opportunities for my future, the job market is hard.
Do you remember any personal challenge in adapting to the local culture?
When I came here with my wife, we both didn’t speak any English and my brother helped me to get a job as a glass cleaner in a bar in the West End. The language was the toughest challenge. Now I work as a concierge and work is better, there is less pressure and no boss who constantly tells me what to do.
Was there any particular encounter which helped you, personally or professionally?
When I came I had none except for my brother.
How did you learn the language? Did you take any classes?
I took an English course when I arrived but it was tough with the long hours at work. I try to read a lot and I love watching the tv series “Prison Break”.
How is your work usually received by local people?
I usually get along with everyone here although sometimes the language can be a big obstacle.
What message would you like to share with British people who don't know your work yet?
Being a foreigner is not always easy. You are often the target to many prejudices and expressing yourself can be a challenge and many people don’t have the patience to listen. The message I would give to my younger self or to anyone thinking to leave home for a foreign country is: get ready. Study hard and learn the language if want to have the best chances for success.
Anything you would them to know about your country of origin?
Brazil receives a lot of negative press and it has a reputation of being a dangerous country but I don’t think it’s any more dangerous than here. Also, foreigners are welcomed with open arms and people are extremely friendly.
What are your plans for the future?
No plans yet, probably staying in London for a few more years. Maybe getting a second job to afford for my two-years-old daughter. Raising a kid in London is expensive.
Where is home?
Brazil, I will go back some day.
Any words/ideas you associate with Foreigner?
Unfortunately the word Foreigner comes with a negative connotation. Even I, as a foreigner, fall prey to the general stereotype sometimes. I know there is much more to being a foreigner than what many people think and that’s why we need to change this perception.