We want you to be Happy in Porto
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Hello??? Is someone out there? Well, apparently not many people raising their hand to talk about this subject. Who had the time to get to know me already knows that I don't have any problem with telling the truth to someone.
Porto receives every single year, thousands of international students, and when I got here, 3 years ago, I found a system that was implemented in the black market that it is disgusting. Frauds after frauds, the more I looked to this International Students market the more I was finding people using and abusing with scams that were unbelievable. You come to our lovely city and you ask yourself how it was possible that we had a financial crisis...well I can easily tell you that the crisis was an outcome that was easily predictable.
These irresponsible group of cockroaches that were living through businesses that were constantly made "under the table" kept the same system for many years in a row, without thinking about consequences and thinking that, to not pay taxes was a very cool thing. The one that would pay less taxes would be considered the smartest one.
Well, I came back to my home city 3 years ago, and I created M2Students. Yes, today is the official 3rd anniversary of my company.
Going back to that day, 3 years ago, I have to confess to you that was an unbelievable day. I scheduled meetings, I tranformed my room into an office and spent there many hours. I started to read webpages that were created to "help" international students, and I found institutions saying that it is "NORMAL" that landlords dont give you contracts. - Who the fuck says this officially and motivates the illegal market to exist?
well....... going ahead, I sat on my chair and add myself to the Erasmus groups, and set a few announcements for the rooms that I was interested to rent for students. All the Facebook groups blocked me, because they didn't want to believe on it: an official legal company, renting rooms, with bills included, the fastest and most expensive internet in the city, FOR FREE for their residents, and most of all, with a legal contract and receipts for all the residents? I received emails insulting me, threats on the street, someone was braking our doors during the night, and well a big group of sad things happened at the beginning, and when I look back, I am very happy that I hold the pressure.
I could be here quoting and describing you idiotic things they tried to do to me, but who cares, right?
Now my company Hosts 2 per cent of the Erasmus community during the academic year, we do host more then 100 interns per year who look for a house in Porto, and we host more then 2000 tourists every summer, as we already hosted thousands of Couchsurfers too.
This year we sold around 9000 nights/rooms for International Students from all over the world. We cant track the first and second year with such an accuracy because we were very poor and we couldn't' afford these technologies. ( not that we are not poor now, but we had to make some technological investments )
These countries are ordered by Ranking of the number of students we hosted:
Croatia, Mexico, Greece, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, Belarus, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary, Sweden, Chile, China, Denmark, Korea, Japan, Estonia, India, Argentina, Ireland, Morocco, Romania, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Israel, Colombia, Viet Nam, Lithuania, New Zealand, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Senegal, Guiana, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Palestine, State Of , Egypt, Virgin Islands (British), Guatemala, Angola, Monaco, Anguilla, Macedonia, Hong Kong
if you ask me: was it worth it?
Hum, it was a long path, lost the company of my best friend who was my business partner too, lost the company of another friend who cooperated with us,lost the cooperation of the only person I employed until today, lost many sleeping hours, lost girlfriends, lost free time, lost holidays, made a thousand enemies, lost my anonymous presence, my phone rings constantly with students requesting for help, from picking them up from the police station, hospitals and many places that would be at the end very interesting stories to be told, but I am bond to my confidentiality with my clients.
If it was worth it? I met a lot of amazing people along the way, I created a new Housing System for international students to a point that others started to clone my work, my system and my methods, I helped a lot of students on complicated situations, I created contests where I offered at least 7 month rent to our residents, and well.....
Happy Birthday to everyone who cooperated, worked, lived, couchsurfed, visited, came to our houses to have fun, or simply to who was responsible for a smile of any of our residents.
If it was worth it?
Yes it was fucking worth it.
Porto is a unique, town, with unique habitants, a unique spirit, and a unique way of life. If you are coming here, get used to the fact that when we celebrate something, we do really celebrate it.
Take a look at it. :)