I was born in 1997 in the buzzing metropolis of São Paulo, then one of the five largest cities in the world. Despite accounting for over 10% of Brazil’s GDP and population, the city was not a great place for people to live, especially when coming out of a slum. In that year, the city had 20 murders per 100 thousand people, and more than one million people were unemployed, my parents being two of these. Additionally, São Paulo also had all the other issues that any large city has: long-lasting traffic jams, bad air quality, and a lack of green areas.

It was in this scenario that, upon a job proposal, my parents decided to move to Uberlândia (Udia), a city with 500 thousand people in the Brazilian hinterlands. Udia was no small city. However, it also lacked several features of a metropolis such as São Paulo. It had only one (small) mall, almost no restaurants other than Brazilian steakhouses, and a non-cosmopolitan mindset. On the other hand, the city’s design was completely planned, thus reducing the time spent in traffic, and violence was almost non-existent.

These aspects, among others such as the inviting business ecosystem, turned Udia into a population hotspot, jumping from 230 thousand inhabitants in 1980 to over 800 thousand today. As for me, a child of Udia, its features have given me opportunities that would have been impossible in São Paulo. The time I would have spent in traffic I spent learning, and instead of inhaling toxic gases, I played football in parks.

The influx of people to mid-sized cities is one of the several topics in the migration debate, as people from rural areas look for jobs and those from metropolises seek to flee the issues of heavy urbanization. In 2019, ISFiT will allow students to trade ideas on this theme and on migration as a whole. As they grasp onto new outlooks on the topic, novel solutions are to arise. This is what makes ISFiT the great platform it is, as it fosters answers to pressing issues already affecting the world.

Disclaimer: This article is not written by ISFiT and all credits for text go to Leonardo Souza Campos Rodrigues,  Ambassador ISFiT19.