Roxana Marianela Calizaya is a 26 years old student of Social Work at the AP Hogeschool in Antwerp. She is in an Erasmus exchange program. Mary, as her friends call her, was born in Mendoza (Argentina). At the age of 22 she moved to Granada (Spain), where she currently lives with her boyfriend Andrea.
She is a brave woman who decided to leave family, friends and home, and look for a better life in a completely different continent. A migrant who has lived many difficult situations but always has overcame them with a smile on her face.
Why did you decide leaving Argentina?
I left because I wanted to study in an European university, but I also left because I wanted to visit the countries where my family was born.
How did you make your choice?
My mum was always telling me that I should left the country, broadened my horizons, because the situation in my town was not good enough for my future. I’ve always wanted to leave. I also met Andrea, my boyfriend, and we thought about moving to Spain together.
What was the situation of your country back then?
The economical situation wasn’t good and elections were coming. There was a change in the government and in the political system. I fortunately left the exact same day, so I didn’t witness the restrictions this new president implemented. Those measures affected many countryside families, mine also. Even though I left I suffered the consequences anyway.
Did you have expectations about Spain and Europe?
Yes, I did. I wanted to arrive somewhere where I could feel like at home, be part of the society and be able to start a good life there. What I wasn’t expecting was for some people to be so close-minded, but I didn’t really have problems.
What was the most difficult thing you faced?
Missing my family. This was a very important issue that I had. Back in Mendoza I used to live surrounded by my family members. We all lived in the same street, so we were very close.
For the rest, everything was okay. The language was the same and people in Spain were friendly. Probably if I had chosen a northern Europe country I would have feel isolated.
If you could turn back in time, would you take the same exact decision?
For sure. That was one of the clearest ideas I had. I was positive about it and I wanted to do it. Spain, Europe in general, was an opportunity to open the doors towards my future.
Nowadays, would you consider leaving Spain in order to move to another country with a better economy?
I always thought that after Spain I would have to move to a northern Europe like Germany, but currently I am not so sure about it. I like Spain and its people, it’s my home now, so if I finally make the decision of leaving, it’s going to be really hard.