From the bustling streets of São Paulo to the charm of Porto, BBD Software Engineer Lucas Moraes shares the highs and lows of the immigration process, the wonders of discovering a new city, and just how vital it is to find a sense of belonging in a warm and embracing community.
“Everyone has their own personal preferences – favourite bands, TV shows, or a list of dreams they aspire to achieve. Personally, I’ve never been that kind of person. While I do enjoy music, I can’t claim to be a die-hard fan of any particular band, TV show, or sport. But, there has always been one thing I’ve longed for – to live abroad, to immerse myself in different cultures, and to meet new people. This burning desire is what motivated me to embark on this incredible journey.
“For most of my life, I lived in São Paulo, a bustling metropolis with a population of over 12 million people. However, at the beginning of 2021, I made the decision to move with my girlfriend (now wife) to a quaint countryside town. Our life there was pleasant, I must admit. Though the city itself lacked amenities like a small shopping centre, we would often drive out on weekends to visit our loved ones—though not always, as we also had to take care of our two beloved cats at home.
“As we all know, the year 2021 was marked by the devastating impact of COVID-19. The pandemic hit hard, particularly affecting my wife, who works as a dentist. It was during this challenging time that we made the decision to search for job opportunities in specific countries, and that’s when I discovered my place here at BBD Portugal.
“The news of successfully completing the technical assessment and interview filled me with excitement. My wife and I celebrated briefly, but the reality quickly set in – we had to prepare ourselves for the arduous steps that lay ahead.”
The moving, the bad, and the ugly
“The entire immigration process was utterly exhausting. Nevertheless, we had to gather a multitude of documents for our visa applications – documents for me, for my wife, for after our arrival in Portugal, and even for our cats. Remember, we have two of them.
“Besides the documents, there were countless other matters to attend to. Did we need to buy warm clothes for the winter? What is the local culture like? Where can we find an apartment to rent? Which neighbourhoods are the best? Is there a reliable public healthcare system? Immigrating to a new country is no simple task; it entails a myriad of things to research. All of this was compounded by the logistical challenges of the move itself – buying necessities, packing, and selling belongings. It was a whirlwind of unique chaos.”
Porto, Portugal, and life abroad
“As I settled into my new surroundings, I took the opportunity to casually explore what Porto had to offer. Each time I left my Airbnb to sign a document or search for an apartment, I was captivated by the beauty of the old buildings adorned with Gothic architecture or similar styles.
“Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, with just over 200,000 inhabitants. But remember, I used to live in São Paulo with its 12 million residents? For me, Porto offers the infrastructure of a big city while exuding the charm of a smaller one. Need to go to the beach? No problem – just hop on a bus, and you’ll be there in 25 minutes. Downtown? Same story – catch a train and you’re there! Everything is connected and the streets are clean and secure. It’s definitely the best place I’ve ever lived.
“Adapting to a new country’s culture can be a challenge for immigrants. However, thanks to the long-standing history between Portugal and Brazil, the transition to Portugal wasn’t as daunting. While there are certainly differences, especially in culinary traditions, many similarities exist. In Brazil, a typical restaurant dish includes rice, beans, protein, salad, and French fries. In Porto, you’ll find a similar spread in most restaurants, minus the beans. However, you can still purchase them at grocery stores or seek out Brazilian stores for items less commonly found. The Brazilian community here is thriving.
“Although there are familiar tastes, it’s essential to fully immerse oneself in the local culture and be open to trying new dishes. As for me, I wholeheartedly embraced every traditional meal I could!
The role of a (good) company
“When immigrating, having supportive bonds and a sense of belonging are crucial for feeling at home. BBD has played a pivotal role in this aspect of my journey. Right from the beginning, David Xavier made me feel welcome, whether it was over our morning coffees when I had yet to be assigned a project and was still in Brazil, or his invaluable assistance with the immigration process and providing information about Portugal and Porto. Upon starting my project, I met other awesome BBDers who made me feel comfortable and truly part of the team, like Tiane Erwee. Despite working remotely, the company culture has a profound impact on our lives and contributes to our overall well-being.
“Although our team in Portugal is still small, we make it a point to gather when we can. These meetups present great opportunities for face-to-face connections and to strengthen our relationships. They allow us to exchange ideas, share experiences, and foster a greater sense of camaraderie within the team.
“I’m immensely grateful for the opportunities that BBD and Portugal have given me and my wife. The chance to collaborate with talented people, immerse ourselves in a new culture, and contribute to a meaningful project has truly enriched our lives. The decision to embark on this journey was undoubtedly the right one, and we’re excited to continue our personal and professional growth in this remarkable country.”