The photos collected in our digital exhibition showcase life stories of young individuals who have moved to Portugal from diverse corners of the globe, spanning beyond Europe to countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Timor-Leste, Brazil, Venezuela, and more.
The stories address three main questions:
– The significance of the photo in their personal journey, highlighting the challenges they or their families encountered during their move to Portugal, as well as their achievements or milestones since migrating.
– Their feelings about discussing their homeland with family members.
– Their aspirations to either return to their native country to live or visit.

We’ve preserved the authentic language and style of the stories to ensure their genuine representation.

I shared this photo. It reminded me of when I left. My family gathered in this place, we said goodbye with affection, took photos, hugged and cried together. It’s been two years now, and for the first time in my life, I am living alone, away from my family. So that photo means a lot to me and I’ll never forget it.


I have good communication with my family, especially my father and older brother. I feel very comfortable when I talk to them, we shared moments of happiness and sadness. I miss them!


One day, I’d like to visit my country, I’m hoping for next year in the month of July.

Your life can fit into two suitcases, but only the material possessions. In my heart, are all the experiences, anecdotes, love and affection of my family. The most significant challenge has been the language, which, although similar, is still a challenge.

Nostalgia, sadness.

I intend to visit my country and my family often.

The challenges we face, like language difficulties, because we usually speak our own language/Creole, but we try to capture new environments, to increase experience.


I was happy because they can tell me what happened during Portuguese colonialism and the invasion of Indonesia.


Yes, I want to visit my country next year.

Leaving my family behind and packing everything I could into a 25 kilo suitcase to start a new journey, within which I encountered many difficulties such as the language, the climate, the culture, the rents (very high), but within all things, I found kind people who helped me with job recommendations, addresses, and taught me how services work. Thanks to them I was able to start working and move to a very quiet area with good neighbours.

Nostalgia, enthusiasm, sadness, hope, I miss them so much!

Yes, I want to go there again.

The challenge of flying away, starting from scratch in a new country, with a new language.


Affection, faith, hope.


I’d like to visit my country.

The photo represents the first Christmas I spent physically away from my family. I wasn’t alone or with strangers, but it was still a moment that brought me to the realisation that I was away from my family.

It wasn’t, and isn’t, an easy process. But over time, as you achieve your own successes, you realise that the sacrifice is worth it. Since I left my country on my own five years ago, I’ve done things, met people and travelled to places I never imagined I would.


A little nostalgia and longing. But also relief for managing to stay away all this time and counting.


Just to visit (to savour the food).

This photo was taken the day I came to Portugal. I think the biggest difficulty I had when I moved was not having all my family here. Another difficulty was adapting to the Portuguese culture, because although Cape Verde and Portugal have many things in common, they still have many cultural differences. As far as achievements are concerned, I think there are many. Since, being in a more developed country, I was able to get a better education, go to university and clearly here in Portugal my family is able to have more financial stability than we probably had in the past.


I feel happy and proud, because even though I’m no longer there, Cape Verde is where my roots are and where most of my family is, and proud because more and more Cape Verdean artists and culture are being recognised by the rest of the world.


I have no plans to move back to Cape Verde, but I want to go there on holiday whenever I can.

The photo I chose is of a shirt that means a lot to me. Firstly, it was a present I received from my mum, so it’s a memory I have of her, since she and my family stayed in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Additionally, this shirt is an African garment that reminds me of my country’s culture through its colours and pattern.

One year and two months ago, I came to Portugal on my own with the aim of studying and finding a job. I’m taking a vocational course that will allow me to complete my 12th year of schooling and get a job or go to university.


I miss my family very much.


I would like to return to São Tomé and Príncipe with enough knowledge to improve it in socially and economically.

This is a photo of my cat Vitória. Vitória has accompanied me throughout my journey as a migrant and has been present on all the journeys I’ve made between France and Portugal.

I was born in Portugal and moved to France with my parents when I was four.

When I turned 14, my parents decided to return to Portugal and I came with them because I’ve always loved this country.


I love Portugal and I realise that my journey has allowed me to gain emotional responsibility and maturity. However, I do miss the moments I spent in France.


I intend to return to France since the economic situation in Portugal is complicated.

This is a photo of my French passport. Although it’s been expired for a few months, I’ll always keep it because it was the last French document I used before settling in Portugal.

The biggest challenge when I arrived in Portugal was mastering the Portuguese language and I still have some difficulties.

I was able to integrate easily into Portugal and the world of work because I had already come here on holiday as it was my parents’ country.


I feel what I felt when I lived there, a lot of hustle and bustle. That’s why I settled in Portugal, a quieter country away from the stress of the city.

I don’t want to return to France.

This photo was taken when I was on Jericoacoara beach. I chose this photo because it’s a beach where I often went with my parents. It’s a very beautiful beach, full of life during the day but also at night, with magnificent sunsets. This photo makes me miss my country very much and reminds me of the times I spent there with my family.

I came to Portugal with my parents, who chose this country because it belongs to the European Union, has a higher level of security than Brazil and has the same language.


I miss it a lot. For me, Brazil symbolizes Unity and Love between the people we love.


I don’t intend to return to Brazil to live there, just to visit.

This key ring has a sentimental value since, a few days before I travelled to Portugal for good, it was given to me by my brothers who said: “it’s so you never forget the country you come from and that made you who you are”. Although my parents are Portuguese who emigrated to France, my brothers and I were born and raised in France. They stayed and still live there with my parents. I came to live in Portugal because I got a job here after doing an internship in Portugal.

The hardest part was adapting to a different mentality when I got here, namely the role of women in society, since I grew up in a big French city and came to live in a Portuguese village.


I miss my parents, siblings and friends who stayed in France, but I manage to visit them at least once a year. I often say that I’m Portuguese by blood, but French at heart.


I have no plans to live in France again, so I take the opportunity to visit whenever I can.

This photo was taken at Milha beach. It’s an important place for me because that’s where I celebrated my 17th birthday. I used to go there with my friends and my three brothers, whom I miss very much.

The hardest thing for me was adapting to the (colder) climate.

I’ve been here for 3 months because I had my parents here, but my 3 brothers (younger than me) stayed in São Tomé and Príncipe.


I really miss my three brothers.


I don’t intend to live in my home country again, just visit.

This photo was taken in a place where I often went for walks with my friends and my father during my free time. The picture shows the CHUR city river.

The adaptation wasn’t hard since my father is Portuguese and we always spoke in Portuguese. Additionally, I know the Portuguese culture. The only difficulty was writing in Portuguese because I wasn’t used to writing.

The positive thing about Portugal, when compared to Switzerland is that the school doesn’t focus strictly and solely on grades, success and the future. In Portugal, human relationships are highly valued, as well as the affection between teachers and students, which is also important for any young person studying.

The downside is that it’s more difficult to be financially independent in Portugal because salaries are low and flats, cars, etc. are very expensive.


I miss travelling by train and admiring the beautiful landscapes.

I also felt safer in Switzerland than in Portugal, but maybe that’s because I’m not used to it here.


I’m well integrated in Portugal, so I don’t intend to return to Switzerland to live, just to visit.

My first day here was on the 11th May. On the 12th, I rested and, on the 13th, I went to pray a little in Fátima.

I enjoyed going to the church in Fátima.

I’d like to go there again.



I miss my family.

Yes… yes, but I’m still looking for work to earn money for my family. When I have some money, I’ll come back.

I really liked to visit Fátima when I came to Portugal.


Longing because he’s so far away. And I only see him through a mobile phone.


I just want to visit and save money to give to my family.

I chose this photo because my dream is to be a footballer and it was in Switzerland that I started playing the sport, at the Praz Séchaud Sports Centre. I also play football here in Portugal, but it was in Switzerland that it all began.

The hardest thing for me when I came to Portugal was reading and writing Portuguese. I knew how to speak because my parents taught me, but I couldn’t read or write properly.

I’ve only been here a few months, I’m not 100% integrated yet, but I’m doing a professional course and I like living here.


I’m very proud to be of Portuguese origin (my parents’ country) and I appreciate the country’s culture and landscapes. However, Switzerland was the country I grew up in and I left friends there, so I miss it too.


My dream is to become a footballer. It could be here in Portugal or in Switzerland or in another country, so I’m not sure yet if I’ll return to my country of origin.

There are so many.

I’m enjoying tourism.

Longing, a lot of longing.

I miss my family.

I would just like to visit.

I chose this photograph because it symbolises my country. It’s a cultural icon that forms part of the landscape of Rio de Janeiro. From up there, you get a beautiful perspective of Rio de Janeiro. I chose this photograph because I was there with my grandparents who stayed in Brazil.

I came to Portugal because it’s a safer country, with better health conditions and greater purchasing power. The language is practically the same. I went to a vocational school to be better prepared for professional life.

I miss my family and friends very much.

I am not thinking of going back to my country of origin to live, just to visit.

The bag represents my trip to Portugal. The biggest challenge was getting used to the cold and it was also a challenge to learn the language of the country that welcomed us. One of the achievements or successes was joining the “you decide” project – E9G and being in a Football Club (NDS). I’ve always liked playing football and joining the NDS has allowed me to develop that potential. Another achievement is that we now live in a house with better conditions.


I miss my friends and my culture and I miss living closer to my religion. For example, in Guarda there aren’t any mosques.

Of course. I would love to go there on vacations.

This photograph translates love. My parents decided to come to Portugal 20 years ago and this picture was taken when my grandparents came to Portugal to visit us. Back then, both me and my sister were children, by that reason we didn’t feel much. But it was different for my parents, the adaptation more difficult. Problems with distance, nostalgia and xenophobia were some of the obstacles they faced. Nowadays we are very happy in Portugal and we hope to go to Brazil soon.

I really, really miss it.

No, unfortunately, but I always go to visit.

We went to Macedo de Cavaleiros when we arrived in Portugal, we liked it. The church of Macedo de Cavaleiros is very big and beautiful. Now I want to go to that church points to “Bom Jesus do Monte”, in Braga.

I really miss my country.

It depends, I work here so I can have money. After 6 months, I will visit my country and my family.

When I arrived in Portugal, I really liked the church of Santo António, in Lisboa (Lisbon).

I really, really miss my country.

Not to live. I would only like to visit.

When I think about Switzerland, I remember the Cailler Chocolate Factory. I used to live near the factory and could smell the chocolate. When that happened, it meant that the next day it was going to rain. I came to Portugal because my grandmother is diabetic and needs someone to look after her.


Longing. I don’t have a preference in countries, but I do miss the food there. In Switzerland life is better.

I intend to visit. About living… I’m still not sure.

This bracelet is the oldest object I have brought with me to Portugal, and it holds a connection to my home country. The word ‘Gwanda’ is a combination of the names of the island of Guadalupe, where I was born and lived until I was 10 years old in 2012. Relocating to another country is a part of my family history. My grandparents were born in Portugal and emigrated to France, where my father was born. Due to professional reasons, my father relocated to the island of Guadalupe, which is a department of the French Republic located in the Caribbean, where he met my mother. I lived on the island until 2012 when my parents decided to move to Portugal. Prior to this move, I had never been to Portugal and did not speak the Portuguese language, which made adjusting to this new life challenging. Over time, however, I grew accustomed to the idea, the climate, and the food, and now I feel at home here.


I miss the weather, the beaches, the way of living and accepting the lives of people, the food, the joy of the people.


Yes, I would like to go live again in my home country after I finish college.

It’s a picture of a beach in Luanda, the city where I was raised. I’m here for 6 months now. Coming to Portugal has always been a dream of mine, with hopes of better future prospects. My parents agreed and allowed me to come here. I arrived with a friend who is also from Luanda. Portugal offers many opportunities compared to Angola, and the language being the same made it the most suitable destination. The hardest part was leaving my parents and learning how to live alone as an adult. I’m discovering that living away from my parents’ home requires a different perspective; I’m learning to manage my budget, compare prices, among other things. I came here to study and intend to go to college.


I’m very proud of my country, which is very rich in culture, gastronomy, music, landscapes and I really miss my family, mostly my parents.


I don’t pretend to go back to my country to live, but to visit and kill the nostalgia.

It’s a photo of a typical Angolan dish: chicken moamba.

I’ve been in Portugal for five months and I really miss the food of my country.

I came to Portugal to study because I have my father here, but I miss my mum, family and friends and everything that reminds me of my life there, such as the food and the beaches.

I miss my country.

I think I will go back to Angola to visit my family, but not to live there again.

São Tomé is a wonderful island with beautiful beaches. This photograph was taken at Boca do Inferno, which reminds me of how happy I was when I visited this place with my family. This photograph represents the beauty of the fantastic landscapes of my country.

I came to Portugal to study four months ago, I traveled alone by plane, I was full of fear but everything went well.

The most difficult part was the fear I felt coming to an unknown country, I learned to ask when I don’t know something or need something, and mainly to be attentive to everything around me.


I miss my family and friends immensely as well as the climate of my country.

I don’t think I’ll go back to living in São Tomé, but of course, whenever I have the opportunity, I will make a visit.

I have a special bond with the island of Mozambique; it was there that I spent my parents’ final moments.

I speak with enthusiasm about Moçambique. I like to share with others the beauty of my country. Living by myself is a challenge. I had to adapt to being independent and be aware of the obstacles that I would face. However, my dream was always to study abroad.


My mother wants me to stay here [Portugal]. She doesn’t want me to go back, because it was always my dream to study abroad. When the opportunity came, she was the first to encourage me, taking care of everything to make it easier for me to come. The rest of the family, however, would have preferred that I stayed. For sure, I have plans to visit my country again. However, I don’t intend to go back permanently. The idea would be to spend my vacation there.

The landscapes and culture of São Tomé e Príncipe are a mark that I carry and won’t ever forget. It is the garanty that my country will always be present in my mind. The adaptation in Portugal wasn’t hard. I came here to study and I nowadays live alone. Despite the challenges of living by myself, I know that with time I will get used to it.

I miss my homeland, because it was where I was born and raised. It’s where I know most people.

I have great appreciation of my country and wish to go live there again in the future.

This is a photograph of a beach in São Tomé e Príncipe. It has great meaning because I liked to spend time there with my friends, my cousins and my mother. It is also a photograph that makes me sad because it reminds me of the moments I spent there and which I miss.

Sadness and longing, because I really miss the food, the weather and the beaches of my country, besides my friends and family.

I came to Portugal to study and get a good job, which is why I don’t intend to go back there to live but only to visit.

São Tomé e Príncipe is an incredibly beautiful place, full of wonderful fruits and other important riches. When I think about São Tomé, the landscapes come immediately to mind, and I miss that unique scenery. My adaptation to Portugal was easy.

I really miss my country.

Although I intend to stay here, I wish to go back to visit my home country.

This photograph represents the beauty of my country, with its beautiful landscapes and magnificent beaches. I came to Portugal alone, leaving behind my parents, siblings, and extended family. I arrived to study and attend an IT professional course some time ago. After that, I went to college, and now I intend to return to my home country because I want to make improvements there while leveraging everything I learned in Portugal. In my first years in Portugal, it was hard because I didn’t receive much news about my family. However, I was warmly welcomed in Portugal, and that helped shape who I am today.

I really miss it: the gastronomy, landscapes, but mostly the people, particularly my family.

Yes, definitely. I’ve acquired enough knowledge to go back to Timor Leste and help in the economic development of my country.

This photograph represents a dish from Timor Leste. While there are many typical dishes in my country, I could only include one photograph. This was one of the dishes my mother used to make when my family came for lunch. I miss those moments dearly. I came to Portugal to expand my opportunities for finding a better job. I have taken a professional course here, and I hope to return to Timor Leste one day.


I really miss the people I left there, the environment, the way of living, the food, everything…


I would like to go back to my country and live there again, but I don’t know how thing are going to be here from now on.

I chose this photograph because it represents the working people of Timor Leste. I came to Portugal to study and expand my competences. I took an IT professional course, and now I’m attending college. My family stayed in my home country. I was well received in Portugal, but, of course, my country will always be Timor Leste. Despite the difficulties my country went through, the people are hardworking and fighters.


I’m very proud and I really miss my country.


Yes, I intend to go back to Timor Leste and use the knowledge that I aquired here in Portugal to improve the living conditions of the people in my country.

It represents the suitcase that we’ve brought with our belongings. The challenge was the language.

I feel good.

I still don’t know if I will live there again.

It was the last picture I took from my house window, the day before I emigrated. We had to restart our lives, go back to high school, without any knowledge of Portuguese, and face a total change in the weather conditions. I think the hardest part was finding our place. As for accomplishments: my parents opened their own bakery, and I’ll finish my Nursing degree this year 🙂 . For someone who didn’t know if she could even finish high school, I think I turned out pretty well.

Longing, sadness, pain, anger.

Yes, I would like to visit my country again.

It’s a photograph of the Morena beach, located in the city where I was born (Benguela, in Angola). When I think about my country, my friends come to mind. I keep a photograph that shows us all together, a record of the time when we grew up side by side. The recollection of them is engraved in the memory of my home country. The adaptation to Portugal came with some challenges. In my country, I had all the support from my family, but now, it’s just me and my brother, which makes things more complicated. He is in the job market, while I dedicate myself to my studies.


The joy fills my heart when I think about my homeland. However, it was by coming here [Portugal] that I experienced a significant growth. I learned stuff that should’ve taken more time to assimilate if I was still there. I became more independent by leaving my comfort zone.


What makes me want to go back the most is the people, not just the place itself. The connection lies in the relationships with the people, mostly my family. That’s the true reason that would motivate me to return. However, the decision to return also depends on the opportunities presented to me. If I am offered more opportunities for growth and development here, I am willing to stay. My plan is to continue my degree in mechanical construction design and re-enter the job market. After that, I intend to pursue a college degree.

When I think about my country, the image of the sea comes immediately to mind. The landscapes are incredibly beautiful, with great waters to bathe in. São Tomé e Príncipe is a beautiful country, where I was born and grew up. I decided to come here to study and to find better life conditions. If the education in my country was similar to Portugal’s, maybe I would have stayed there. The economic situation isn’t the best, but still, it is a special place for me.


Longing. I really miss my country.


Although I came here in search of new opportunities, I plan to visit my country. As for living there again, I’m still not sure. The experience of leaving my country was amazing, especially because I had never traveled by plane before. My family supported me in my decision to come here but always encouraged me to consider the possibility of going back home.

I keep São Tomé e Príncipe in my memories through countless pictures. Before I left my homeland, I took a lot of pictures there in an effort to preserve special moments. Me and my family explored tourist places and enjoyed the beaches, recording each experience in videos, knowing that the distance would keep us apart for a long time. The decision of leaving meant a leap out of my comfort zone, a journey that, in time, revealed my personal growth and the true essence of my being. I discovered that I’m resilient and brave in the face of cultural and social changes that I faced in a new environment. The first few months were challenging, but with time, I was able to adapt. It has been almost a year since my arrival, and now, looking back, I realize that the initial challenges were overcome. Here I feel like a good representative of São Tomé e Príncipe. I represent a community that rarely emigrates. Of my seven brothers, only one is here in Portugal with me; the others have chosen to stay back home. I preferred to stay, despite the differences in both countries. What is easy here can be a difficult task there. Compared to Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe presents a lot of economic adversities. Although I miss the proximity of my family and the warmth of their affection, I believe life here is better.

The economic reality in São Tomé and Príncipe is challenging, with high unemployment and an unstable dependence on tourism, fishing and agriculture. The lack of means to survive leads many to emigrate, especially young people, who seek opportunities in European and American countries.
My family, which has always worked in agriculture, faced heavy and complex challenges. Local agriculture is unorganized and lacks large industries. Emigrating became a necessary choice for those seeking a more stable life.

Although I don’t currently entertain the idea of returning to live there, at least not in the near future, perhaps I’ll consider it in 30 years’ time. Coming to Portugal was life-changing. I’ve grown and discovered more about myself. I’ve learned to be independent, to face challenges, and to deal with my emotions. Each day lived is an exciting journey, albeit one filled with challenges.

This change has allowed me to have new experiences and has shown differences in people’s behavior. While in São Tomé, we greet each other with ‘Good morning’ and a smile on the face, here this custom seems to be lacking and nobody cares about random appearances. People here show remarkable patience, and they received me well. In contrast, the cold climate doesn’t match what I had in mind. The adaptation, despite the initial fatigue, turned out to be positive, since I came here with a clear objective: to study and earn a degree. I faced challenges, but as I made friendships in school, my experience improved. The quality of life here is remarkably good, and I don’t regret my decision to come. However, I often miss my grandmother. Although I have both parents here, they aren’t yet settled. Today, if I needed to relocate again to another country, I believe I could adapt. São Tomé appears in my mind as a paradise with spetacular beaches. The Governadora beach and the Morro Peixe beach are very beautifull. I miss a lot of things, from the typical dishes to the relaxing moments on wlaks and parties with friends. About the future, I intend to go back to visit São Tomé, but to live there again… only time will tell. For now the answer is uncertain. If I made a lot of money, I would go back to my country.

This photograph shows the city where I lived for 14 years! My adaptation was very fast. When my parents decided to come to Portugal, I was scared about how that total change in my life was going to be. I had worries about how I was going to make friends, how my day-to-day was going to be, how my friends and family were, and how I was going to deal with leaving everything behind! Nowadays, I still think about the life I left in Brazil, and I miss a lot of things that stayed, but I’m well used to that change now! I have made a lot of friends already and had many successes here that maybe I couldn’t have achieved in Brazil. I remember that on my first day of classes, right when I arrived in Portugal, I arrived during the lunch break, afraid of how my arrival was going to be. I faced a lot of people waiting for me, curious to know about my life in Brazil! On that day, I was well received, and it was something that took the fear out of me getting used to everything new that I was going to do! Thanks to the friendships I made, I was able to adapt to this new life.

Longing. I really miss my country.

Only to visit, not to live there.

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