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Denise, Guinea Bissau/Northern Ireland

My name is Denise, I’m 26 years old, and I’m from Guinea Bissau. But I’ve lived since I was 2 in Portugal. In my home country I basically studied, I finished all my studies there and decided to come to Northern Ireland to learn English. I came by myself, but I already had my two brothers living here, one of whom works with me as well. I’ve been here for four years, I came here in 2010, January 2010. I didn’t choose NI for any specific reason, It was just that I had family here, so it was easier to come here and to have someone to support you.

I came here and I started doing a 6-month English course, and then I found work at night in Hollister – it was basically folding clothes. During the day I was attending English classes at NICEM, and then they gave me the opportunity to do a volunteering project, so I just got involved and since then I’ve been working with them.

The object that I brought today is my journal. I’ve had it since 2000, so it’s very old. It has almost 14 years. It’s very important to me because anytime I miss home or just want to remember good things or funny moments about my life, I just go open it and read it and laugh about it. I think it’s something that – I hope – I’ll keep it all my life.