“It has not been easy to adapt to a country I left more than ten years ago”

My name is Alejandra*. I live in Colombia.Colombia small

I was two years old when I left Colombia for Europe. My grandma and I first lived with my uncle in Spain. We moved to Amsterdam when it became clear that he could no longer support us. Living in the Netherlands proved very complicated, primarily because we did not have the right papers. My grandma, for instance, required special medical care because of her age but she had no health insurance over there. I also missed my parents badly. I had not seen them in years.

When I was almost sixteen, my grandma and I decided to return to Bogotá. We first stayed at my dad’s place. I was really happy to be reunited with him, but due to his drug problems it did not work out. My mom partied a lot, so we could not stay with her either. Fortunately my grandma found a small but secure apartment, and we moved in. The rent is high but somehow we cope. With the reintegration support my grandma bought some basic furniture for the apartment and even a computer for me. We used the remaining money for my dental treatment and my education.

My grandma finds strength in her faith and gives me moral guidance. I do not know what I would do without her. Sometimes I am stressed and a little bit sad, as it has not been easy to adapt to my new life and to a country I left more than ten years ago. But I am graduating from high school soon, and hopefully I will be able to continue my studies at university.

  *All names are fictitious

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