Where are you from in Equatorial Guinea? Tell us a bit about yourself and your memories of Equatorial Guinea.
I was born in Bata where I lived until my family moved to Spain when I was only 2 years old. In 2006, we relocated to England which has since been my home away from home. My memory of Equatorial Guinea is quite vague as I was only 2 years old but I try my best to keep updated with our culture, traditions and current events. I do this through reading and research, inspired by the great tales my mother told us as we grew up away from our Motherland Equatorial Guinea.
Why did you choose to move to the United Kingdom?
Moving to the UK was a joint decision of the family. My personal reason was to further my education and also master the English language.
Susana’s time in the UK
What do you like most about living in the UK?
I see the UK as a land of opportunities. It gives you the tools to better yourself as well as the freedom to express yourself and your creativity. However, I do dream of the warmth and sunshine of the land of my birth. There is nowhere like home.
What are the biggest differences between Equatorial Guinea and the UK?
One main difference is the attitude of the people. Unlike Africa where people are friendly with close-knit communities, people in the UK keep to themselves and love their privacy. Some people have next-door neighbours they have never spoken to.
What are you doing in the UK?
I am studying and will be going to university next year to pursue a degree in International Tourism Management. I am also a model, beauty queen and the reigning Miss Black Africa UK.
If you were to leave the UK, what would you miss the most about living here?
I would miss the friends I have made, the fast-paced British way of life, the food and the very efficient transport system.
What are the biggest benefits of working/living in the UK? And the downsides?
The first advantage will be the access to a great education. The cultural open-mindedness in most of the big cities and modern cosmopolitan areas is a plus. The downside is just the feeling of being away from your native land. Home is where the heart is.
How did you become a beauty queen?
I have always loved the idea of being a model or a beauty queen as far back as I can remember. I won my first beauty pageant in Spain when i was just 15 years old. I was looking for a beauty pageant which would give me an opportunity to give back to my country and I stumbled on Miss Black Africa which is the UK’s largest ethnic pageant. Each queen is mandated to formulate a charity project in her home country, so I was immediately drawn to it. She also gets the opportunity to promote culture and tourism to her country. The competition was rigorous and the process from auditions to the finals took about 8 months. I was really glad to have made it to the Grand Finale as over 2,000 girls applied. I shall be visiting Equatorial Guinea in March/April 2016.
How did you learn English?
I learnt from school and friends as I surrounded myself mostly with English-speaking people.
On Equatorial Guinea
Do you plan to eventually return to Equatorial Guinea?
I certainly do! I plan to use my skills and knowledge to contribute to the further advancement of my country, Equatorial Guinea.
Advice for other Equatoguineans
Would you recommend other Equatoguineans to move to the UK?
That is a difficult question to answer as we all face different situations in life. Some people are better off leaving while some will benefit more from staying. The important thing is that whatever you do and wherever you may go, your ultimate goal should be to return and invest in Equatorial Guinea.
What advice would you give those who choose to move here?
If you decide to move to the UK, you should ensure that you make good use of your time. Get a good education and a career! Avoid unnecessary distractions that may lead you astray. Restrain from making acquaintances with the wrong sort of people but surround yourself with ambitious, positive-thinking individuals and groups.
Long Live the Beautiful Land of Equatorial Guinea!