Hours and hours of calls, research and emails, lots of rejections have eventually turned. We have managed to enrol find a coarse at UTAD university located in Vila Real. The application is 250,00 euro’s per application (non refundable) thats R 4’500,00 per application. The fees are also not cheap, they are 2’500,00 euro per student so thats 5’000,00 euro for the girls, and in RANDS 90,000.00 Tough bullet to bite, but this is what we need to do in order to get them into Higher Education which gets them their family re-unification which means Residency. (WELL WORTH IT!!!) So even though the odds seem stacked up against us. We through sheer persistence and a ‘South African’ never say die attitude, we are almost there. We should get the enrolment letter next week, and they would start studies on the 19th of April.

UTAD reminds me of a mixture of Robertson in the Western Cape, yet a bigger city with decades of history.

Prior to committing to anything, my first port of call is our immigration attorney, she is the nicest most knowledgeable person I have met, her name is Sandra Rodrigues, her mail address is After getting her go-ahead to apply, we applied for the girls.

Ever since our arrival I have been dying to have a European Cappuccino, and due to LOCKDOWN no drinks were being served. But good things happen to those who wait, and on the 15th of March 2021, the restrictions lifted and the first thing I did was buy my first Cappuccino. It was delicious!!!


So UTAD is 58 minutes by car away from Porto, and thats to far for a daily commute, so it’s decision time. We love Porto!!!

It is stunning, it has an airport, has a Global community, is very well designed and the houses and lifestyle are really appealing to our family. So chatting in the car, we collectively decided it would be an adventure for the girls to say at the UNI, in a Twin room that they share. The room is 121 ,00euro per person, so their rent would be 242,00 euro’s for the month. That really is not bad at all. Of coarse in rands that is R 4’326,00 per month.

They also have a Social Ticket which I am getting more information on which would grant them lunch and dinner every day. This is a great package.

The nice thing about UTAD is its a campus, that seems self-sufficient which means one can study, live and have a social life all within the campus. The coarse that the girls are doing is a Foundation coarse which is a pre-university coarse which prepares International students for life and studies in Portugal. It seems to be a very good way to go, and the studies also gain credits towards their next application for whatever coarse or degree they want to study thereafter.

So now that we know the girls are studying in Vila Real, we can choose a longer term location. We have looked at Coimbra and Lisbon, they each have their own charm, but Porto just has something special for us, and this is where we will stay for the immediate future. So Sue’s favourite past-time is houses and finding houses, she has a nose for this, so I am unleashing her upon Porto to find us a house to rent. This in itself will be an interesting exploration and journey.

One the good side of the day – One of the things about Porto, is I know that I am going to loose weight, its intense, these stairs are never-ending. The first week I puffed and panted, now we walking up with relative ease. The stairs to our apartment I counted are 375 stairs which is a fair challenge on a daily basis. So if you want to loose healthy weight come visit us, we will guide you daily on your new weight loss campaign which I assure you works, you do not have to spend money on expensive pills that don’t work, just visit Porto and explore the City.

Probably the most exciting news is that the beaches have opened up, and that means that one can get out and enjoy this beautiful ocean and what it has to offer!!! The surf today was small but fun. There were a lot of people out but there are enough waves for every-one. The rides were long, about 40m which compared to the short punchy waves of the Cape – is a treat I must say.

& with restrictions being lifted, certain churches are open, and one can take in the extraordinary creatively and detail that our forefathers built without all the modern computers and cranes and all our sophistication. It baffles the mind.!!!

My big touristic and photographic wish list is to visit a library called Lello (before all the tourists come) its insanely stunning. So into the planning book it must go.

So today has been a ‘good day’ we have had breakthrough with the girls education, (still need registration letter but they have said there are no problems) the beaches are open, we can have a cappuccino , we can visit beautiful sites and the sun is shining – what more can one ask for in life?

My final thought for the day was promoted by a friend and actor ‘Taylor James’ – he played Samson in my last film, I directed : – He asked me how i am feeling about the move so far – My response after a long pause was ‘i feel safe! i no longer feel threatened and concerned for my families safety’ – this is a big emotional cloud lifted from my daily life – I wish crime would be sorted out in South Africa, as South Africa is hard to rival on quality of life in so many ways.

Portugal is ranked the 4th safest country in the world and South Africa certainly ranks as one of the most dangerous. Quite a contrast?

So there are a few more adventures to overcome 1) buying a car 2) buying electric bikes 3) opening a bank account 4) finding Troy a International school where he is taught in English 5) getting our dogs over here 6) Preparing a strategy to earn monies for our company 7) signing a lease

As a business-man and film director, my thoughts are becoming more focussed on the future and how to bridge and create opportunities, opportunities for expansion, opportunities to meet new people, opportunities to be challenged creatively. There is so much talent here, one just has to look at the BILLBOARDS to know that there is so much inner creativity in the Europeans, and they love escaping their lives here to visit South Africa – weird world eh?

Published by brucemacdirector

Telling meaningful stories whether they shorts or features is what gets me out of bed every day. Passionate about those captured in slavery. Biographical films (The Perfect wave with Scott Eastwood) and (Biblical epic Samson with the late Rutger Hauer, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane and Taylor James) My recent short films Beat The Curve, Sex Tourism Labour have been awarded best shorts across the globe in 2020.

2 thoughts on “Breakthrough

  1. Wow Bruce. I’m loving these updates. Savouring them. You seem to be making great progress and adapting like a champion. What an amazing opportunity for the girls to study in Portugal and live at res imagine those res fees in SA?
    I wish them both well

    Can’t wait to see what house you eventually settle sure it’s going to be transformed by your ever so talented wife with decor only she could put together.

    Mario turned 17 yesterday, 1 year to the big one he’s very keen for us to immigrate to Portugal as is Cara.
    My cousin has a second interview next week si I’m watching his ancestral application with much interest.

    SA is gearing up for local government elections later this year Keep an eye on the HIM it’s a friend of mine Neil DE BEER who started the party. He is ex MK was with ANC 30 YEARS.

    Who knows maybe my family and I end up in Portugal one day too. Cars can enter the hair industry and me security of course.lets see what Gods will is……

    Looking forward to your next post.



  2. Well well things look good and coming together at last. So glad you have sorted out the girl ‘s higher education – now to organise troy’ s schooling. This will probably tie in with where you decide to settle. Exciting days ahead it seems and I look forward to reading about your next steps (apart from the daily steps to your apartment!)


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