Smart Girl Stories

Latina Hustle: Chasing Dreams In London

Hey girl, have you seen the news? Latinas are taking over London, well, not quite taking over, but they are definitely making a bigger mark than ever before.

Packing their bags, translating diplomas (fingers crossed they’ll accept them!), and jetting off to experience the exciting, and opportunity-filled world of London. Buckle up, because this isn’t just a trend, it’s a movement, and I am here to tell you why.

Back home in Latin America can be, well, let’s just say limiting. We’re talking limited job options, and a frustrating gender pay gap. Plus, who wouldn’t want to chase some serious personal growth in a global city like London?

Latinas Are Resilient

Latinas are resilient. They’re fighters, hustlers, and unafraid of hard work. They’re conquering the lingo, building boss-babe networks, and bringing their unique flair to the city. Furthermore, they’re starting businesses, rocking the job market, and showing the world what Latinas are made of.

They are enriching the city’s cultural tapestry, bringing fresh perspectives, and maybe even introducing them to a killer salsa recipe or two. This isn’t just about them chasing their dreams, it’s about making an impact and showing the world that Latinas are a force to be reckoned with, one sassy accent at a time. So yeah, London’s calling, and they are answering loud and proud!

London, like a giant, cosmopolitan playground, is bursting with opportunities and bursting with, well, people! But don’t get me wrong, it’s not all fish and chips and tea parties. Navigating a new culture and that whole nagging language barrier can be a real struggle. Finding a flat that won’t break the bank is another adventure in itself.

The Challenges of Undocumented

In almost all Latin American countries, it’s legal to stay in the UK for six months with only a passport. This is particularly a long time to stay in a country without going through a bureaucratic visa process. Six months could sound very tempting for people looking for opportunities, and as the price of the pound is considerably high, earning money in pounds and sending it back home where you can spend it in your local currency looks like a real deal.

However, the reality for some Latinas in London isn’t always rosy. Research suggests a significant percentage may be undocumented. This lack of documentation could expose them to exploitation, forces them to live in the shadows, and makes finding stable work and housing incredibly difficult.

Scouring social media groups filled with Latinas in London, I discovered a vibrant network where they create communities to support each other. These groups offer everything from job hunting advice and childcare recommendations to simply finding someone to hang out with. It seems that many women from Latin America start their journeys in London working as cleaners or sitters, and most juggle at least two jobs.

Beginnings in London

Julieta is a 28-year-old Colombian woman, whose story serves as a representation of the struggle of Latin American women in search of better opportunities in London. She was just 19 years old when she arrived in London in 2010. Armed with her Spanish passport, she took advantage of the fact that London was then part of the European Union, allowing her to enter without additional requirements.

The first job she had, was as a cleaner, a necessity due to her limited English at the time. Despite the challenges, She determined to build a new life for herself in this bustling city. Julieta worked hard and diligently, quickly improving the English level and opening doors to better opportunities in other fields.

Struggles and Triumphs

Over the next few years, she faced many challenges and obstacles. However, she also experienced great joy and success. She worked as a cleaner for about a year, then took on a second job as a hostess and cashier at a bar in Soho despite her limited English. She managed to stay in that job for 6 months before returning to cleaning.

After a year and a half in London, she returned to Colombia only to have her daughter in the place she will always consider her home. Once her daughter was born, she returned to London and started over again working as a cleaner in hospitals, then as a runner for 6 months. Until she found a job as a cashier, which she held for 3 years.

During this time, she tried to enter university three times, but for various obstacles, she couldn’t make it. First, the English level wasn’t high enough. Then, problems with the application process. Finally, she wasn’t accepted into the program she actually wanted.

Despite setbacks, she persisted. And after three years in Spain trying to get success having the language on her favor, she returned to London where she worked as a runner for a month upon arrival. Following this, she was offered a managerial position for four months. Seeking rapid educational opportunities, she enrolled in a dental nurse course, which guaranteed employment upon completion. With determination, she paid for the course and secured a dental nurse job just two weeks later, marking a significant success and presenting a promising opportunity for her career growth.

Julieta’s story is one of many. Latinas in London are building a future, overcoming obstacles, and enriching the city with their spirit and resilience.

Women are flexing their power all over the world, and this time, London seems to be the stage they’ve chosen.

Read more powerful stories by bold journalists on our Inspiration page, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

Jessica Burgos

Jessica Burgos

As a Colombian journalist, I am passionate about traveling and immersing myself in new cultures, ideas, and life perspectives.

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