I am originally from Salina Cruz, Oaxaca. After working for a few years in Mexico, I thought a Master’s degree would help me progress in my career. I applied to universities in different countries, but finally I opted for Cambridge, a city I first visited when I was a university exchange student in the UK. The UK was appealing for a number of reasons: its world-leading position in academic research; its location at the heart of Europe; and its multicultural environment.
I first arrived in the UK as a Master’s student at the University of Cambridge. Before I realised, I was offered a position to pursue a PhD in a topic I had always been interested in since childhood. I was supervised by the Head of my institute at the time, who became a lifelong friend. I then worked at the University as a researcher and soon after I was fortunate enough to receive funding from one of the largest charitable foundations in the UK to establish a not-for-profit consultancy unit in Cambridge, Policy Links. I currently lead this consultancy unit, based at the University of Cambridge, which now works all around the world. The fact that I wasn’t born in this country hasn’t been a barrier to receive funding for my work, create my own team, and work in high-level projects with the UK government. My experience in Cambridge and the UK has been by and large an extremely positive one.
I bring Mexico to everything I do! Living in the UK, you inevitably are exposed to a number of ‘unwritten rules’ of UK society – which I’m still learning after more than 10 years in the country. However, there is always an aspect of one’s early formation that plays a part at work and private life. I dare to say that the perception of Mexicans in the UK is positive in general: we are well-known for our good sense of humour, spicy food, and openness. While the Mexican community in the UK is relatively small, there’s always an opportunity to meet with fellow Mexicans, cook and eat, watch football or simply go to the pub together.