Having grown up in Brazil, Nayara came with her parents to the UK to experience a different culture, to look for a place where she could learn more, where she could grow. What she found was London Met and the rest, as she says, is history.
I grew up in Brazil, but moved to London 13 years ago with my family. My dad had his own business, my mum was a teacher. So for her, knowledge is power. My mum was always the kind of mother that would come home and read something. There were always a lot of stories and a lot of books around the house. She was always like: “women who read can talk about anything.” It just came to a point where they wanted to try something different and allow us to experience a different culture as well – that was the idea when we left the country.
London is open-minded. I think it’s something that is very unique to Londoners to have that mentality of acceptance and this level of open-mindedness. I feel like I have the freedom to express myself and to live my life here so I guess that’s what makes me a Londoner. I hate stereotypes. I even wrote a whole dissertation on implicit bias! There is this pressure in Brazil on young girls and women to to look a certain way, a frame that you should fit in. What I love about London is that there is no frame. However you feel about yourself, as long as you're happy, that's okay. We accept that. I remember the first time I moved here and I saw this woman with this bright green hair. If you have green hair in Brazil, people will look and point. Here it’s normal, it's just the colour of your hair!
I come from a place in Brazil that is so hot all year long, I remember when I got my first scarf I was so excited because I never had to wear one back home!
Camden market holds a really special place in my heart. It’s the energy and the diversity. I feel like it’s one of those places in London where people can truly, and they do, express themselves without feeling judged.
I was looking for a place, as someone who wasn’t born here, where I could learn more, where I could grow. I heard about London Met and I discovered this huge community of people from all over the world, and they seem to be so happy. The rest is history!
London Met was so supportive. Honestly, I do not remember a time when I had to reach out to one of the lecturers and they were not available. It always felt very inclusive – walking about in the library, you would look around and see this diversity of people. There was someone from Portugal, there was someone from Italy, someone from England, there was someone from Poland, but also you know, there is diversity in the way that they dress and the way that they express themself. Meeting other people is not about right or wrong, it’s about learning and acceptance. London Met really feels like a place where everyone could belong to.
Psychology is everywhere. Even if you don't go to university, life still requires a little bit of it, understanding human behaviour and interactions. Some people who have never gone to university would make for amazing psychology teachers. It's about understanding people, having respect for them, and understanding how to regulate your own emotions so people feel comfortable around you. I always ask myself how can I become a better human being? How can I make my parents proud? How can I be a role model for my younger sister and for people who work with me?
When you're dealing with people, you have to understand that they are going to be different from you. And that's fine. I did some work experience abroad in Sri Lanka shadowing psychiatrists in the country, visiting psychiatric facilities. It was completely different from anything I had ever faced. We learned how they approach people who are addicted to drugs, the stigma in the country and how religion fits in to it all. You really don't know anything until you've spent some time with people. You've heard their stories. You understand what they do. Why they dress the way they dress, why they talk the way they talk. That's something that I brought to every encounter, every job interview, to the people that work with me, to the clients, to every other job that I've had.
I mean it when I say that London Met holds a special place in my heart, I had a wonderful academic experience, thanks to the support of the university team. I will always cherish it.
"Meeting other people is not about right or wrong, it’s about learning and acceptance. London Met really feels like a place where everyone could belong to."
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"I believe that with education, you can do great things. It doesn't matter where you're from, as long as you have that, you can change the world."
"To me, London Met symbolises change because that's what it did in my life. You can do so much more than you thought you could."
"I've always felt London Met has a very unique feel and brand to it. It's not your typical big university. It's a community university – there’s a really good atmosphere to it."
"Meeting other people is not about right or wrong, it’s about learning and acceptance. London Met really feels like a place where everyone could belong."
"London Met – it doesn't just provide you with academic lessons. It also teaches you life lessons and about different cultures. I think it's so important to go to a university in London because you get to learn from other people too – we're all from different walks of life."
"What I see here is everyone being really welcoming and there's a sense of community which I've never seen at any other institution."
"Being here has shaped many of the things I do and I am grateful to the University and a number of good people I have worked with at London Met for that."
"It is the place where I’ve met some great people who I consider friends. People who share difficulties, struggles, disappointments. Situations that brought us together. I met lecturers who believe in me and keep pushing me to achieve the very best of me."
"As an alumna, London Met means the gateway to the path that led me to realise my passion for social work, to go on to become Principal Lecturer, Head of Social Work and to make a difference to students who come to social work education from diverse backgrounds. Students like me."
"Once I got into a classroom of students, I fell in love with helping them to believe in themselves and to change their practice with young children. I never thought, 20 years ago, that I'd be teaching at a university!"
Nils Perez Codesal
"London is a place for me where I could grow in the best way possible. I felt so much more comfortable just being myself."