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That special moment when you find a place where you truly feel welcomed
First name
Country of studies
Mobility destination
went on exchange in
Full text
Hey there, my name is Gabriel.

Like many other people emigrating into Europe and starting a new life, it was not easy.
At 18 years old I moved to Portugal to go to college.

The integration into the culture was complicated. Small towns are, after all, less receptive to foreigners.
As an "international" student, blending in wasn't smooth. The language isn't the easiest and the cultural gap was massive.

As I try to breach the gap between my fellow Portuguese students and me, the gap between my loved ones in Venezuela and I was growing.
That was very hard to process. I could never fully blend in Portugal nor I could fully relate to my loved ones anymore.

I belonged to none of those places. Nor to Portugal, nor to Venezuela. I thought I belonged nowhere.

But I was wrong...

Years after my arrival in Portugal I joined an Erasmus+ Programme for Computer Science students in, well, Portugal itself (yes, Portugal was hosting, that was quite unlucky). The programme invited Computer Science students from 8 different countries to team up and program video games.

It lasted 2 weeks.
Two weeks in which I was introduced to a new whole perspective, a new whole experience.

During these two weeks, I spent most of my time with the mobility students.
Turns out that knowing different cultures doesn't make you an outsider at all!

The international environment present in the programme was extraordinary.
Different people coming together, filled with curiosity and an open mind.
Where differences are not judged but celebrated!

It is hard to describe how incredible the experience was for me. How it helped me overcome my mental challenges and find my own identity.

Thinking about it, those two weeks became my stepping stone into internationalisation.
The door was open for me to engage in international programmes, volunteer for mobility organisations and make a life abroad.

After those two weeks, I started understanding what being a citizen of the world is about.