How a once ‘complete stranger’ to Sheffield is now helping people learn about the city

A Brazilian born Sheffielder who was a ‘complete stranger’ to Sheffield four years ago, is now helping others - including born and bred Sheffielders - to learn about the city.
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Livia Barreira moved to Sheffield to be with her now husband, but described her first two years here as ‘a little bit difficult’ due to her English not being as good as she liked.

Being a ‘very sociable, full of life, dreams, plans’ kind of person, she decided not to let it get the better of her.

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Livia said: “I felt frustrated, depressed. It was cold. I didn't have my family and many friends here as well.”

So she put her skills to use and created her own Instagram profile @livinginsheffield.

Livia explained: “I am very proud of myself for promoting this lovely city everyday through @livinginsheffield. I made it totally on my own.

“I am so happy when I get messages from other people who live here saying I am helping them to know the city as well.”

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Two years later, @livinginsheffield is continuing to grow, and Livia also feels ‘part of the city now’.

She said: “Two years ago when I started it, I was a complete stranger in the city and now more than 3,000 people are there trusting and following my daily tips about the city.

“This is so wonderful and empowering!

“I love to bump into my followers when I am somewhere else around Sheffield.”

Despite not being able to get a job in her chosen professional area, Livia took it upon herself to improve her English as much as she could.

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She said: “I basically went everywhere in Sheffield where I could find free English classes and conversation clubs.”

Livia has also volunteered at various organisations across the city including Zest, Oxfam, Festival of Debate, and Sheffield Volunteer Centre, where she enjoyed meeting people and making friends.

Back in Brazil - which she tries to visit once a year - Livia was a journalist and also worked for the local government and other companies.

She later moved to Lisbon to do a Masters before settling in Sheffield.

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Although settling into a new city and country has been difficult for Livia, she told how keeping positive was an important factor and looking back, she has seen her personal and professional development grow over the last four years.

Livia said: “I learned to love Sheffield in a way I didn't imagine was possible when I had just arrived. It took some time of course.”

She believes the support from her husband - whom she met on holiday in Prague in 2012 - and the ‘lovely new friends’ she has met in Sheffield have also helped.

Livia added: “I personally think when you move to a different country and culture you need to challenge yourself to know it better and adapt.

“Also, people will take time to know you and trust you. It is normal. I am trying my best everyday and now I feel a part of the city.”

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