Mafalda Arrábida Farelo: “Education shapes our understanding of personal space and what it is or not socially acceptable.”

Mafalda is a portuguese PhD student who moved from Azeitão to Guildford. She works with biosciences and has a really cool instagram page about her researches and studies. Check it here:

1 – How old were you when you moved to Guildford? What was the main reason to move?

I was 24 years old when I moved to the UK. I moved to pursue a PhD in biosciences and to join my boyfriend who was already here.

2 – What kind of cultural characteristics have you absorbed from England?

I am more punctual than before.

3 – Do you think your origins have influenced people around you? 

Maybe in the behaviours. In understanding that other countries have different ways of seeing the same thing and that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, and also that countries with similar languages do not always share a culture.

4 – What are the biggest challenges of living in a foreign country?

Making new friends and be seen as a single personality and not be generalized as a culture.

5 – Name the most positive aspects of Guildford.

It’s well structured and organized, and people are paid what they deserve. Plus, it gives me the opportunity of pursuing a career.

6 – During this time in a foreign country what have you learned about the human being? What sets us apart from each other?

Culture is a major difference, especially regarding the way we relate with others. Education shapes our understanding of personal space and what it is or not socially acceptable.

7 – What is missing in your home country that your current one has and vice versa?

Compared to Portugal, UK has more money to invest and the NHS is amazing, since healthcare is completely free. However, the UK doesn’t have the warmth of the Portuguese people.

8 – Is there a favourite english dish prefer?

The english breakfast.

9 – Which stereotype doesn’t make sense about the England?

That they are super polite. They actually are, but not as we Portuguese people would define it. They will never pass in front of you in a line and they are extremely apologetic, but do not expect your neighbour to ever say “Hi” to you on the street.

10 – What were your biggest fears before you moved? 

Since my contract is 3 years and I cannot leave before that, I was afraid to not be able to fit in or not having friends for that entire period.

11 – From the legal point of view, was the social framework easy? Do you have any advice for someone moving in?

For me everything went smoothly, the system is organized and I never had a problem.

12 – What are the greatest labor differences between Portugal and England?

They have funding to do research and they are very active in getting more funding and trying to push science further. In Portugal the research is very precarious, we lack skilled personal and facilities to assist scientists.

13 – What is your favourite city spot in Guildford?

Guildford’s town centre, it’s really beautiful and there are many cute shops and cafes with always a lot of families around

14 – Do you have a favourite restaurant in Guildford?

Kingshead, a local pub where I always meet my friends on the weekends or after work. This pub is really cosy and friendly, so it is a place to relax, have a chat, a beer and a warm meal.



Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, Portugal


Currently Living:

Guildford, England



1 big onion (sliced)

3 garlic cloves (chopped)

olive oil

1 can of peas

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 vegan/meat chourizo (sliced)

4 eggs





Heat olive oil in a large pan

Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden

Add the chourizo and stir

Add the peas and the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for a while

Break the eggs on top of the rest, reduce the heat to low-medium and cover the pan with a lid

Let the egg whites cook, but not the yolk

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with a bit of pepper and salt and serve immediately


Name of the recipe:

Peas with poached eggs


Country of origin:


  All Rights Reserved © 2018