My name is María Verónica Laya, I was born and raised in Venezuela until I was 13 years of age, and then I moved to Canada where I received my high school education as well as my bachelor’s degree.
Upon completing my studies in Canada, I decided to travel solo around Europe for 5 weeks in April of 2018. I travelled all over and visited over 25 cities in 6 different countries. This is when I met Porto for the first time.
It was a city that I had heard of and seen pictures of, but never imagined it would become my home that following autumn. As soon as my travels were over and I was back to work, I knew I was missing Europe. Thus I began planning my big move across the Atlantic.
At this point, my family thought I was insane. However, they encouraged me to pursue my studies and work experience abroad. After some thorough research and a few emails with faculty members of different universities around Spain, Portugal and Italy. I found a program I was interested in at ISCAP, P.Porto.
Fast-forward to two years later, and here I am, about to finish my Masters in Intercultural Studies for Business at ISCAP.
Moving to Porto was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The city is beautiful, full of scenic views and history. The people are warm and very hospitable, they all made me feel right at home from the beginning. The gastronomy is a little different than what I was used to, but nonetheless, it is great. Not to mention we are only 20 minutes from the beach.
When I’m not catching up with friends at a lookout point or at a bar in city center, you could probably find me at ISCAP, either studying or eating “panikes” at Bar do Tio. ISCAP is a bustling place, you never know who you’re going to bump into, but everyone is welcoming and friendly.
Moving to Porto by myself has been in itself a teaching lesson. I have learnt how to speak Portuguese, how to be independent, manage my own financials, cook new things, deal with other cultures, and be able to establish in a new country. Most importantly, Porto has taught me that no matter how busy life might be , we must learn to relax and have a beer or a coffee.