Michele

Michèle arrived in the UK from the Vendée region of France in 1997 to take a position as a Language Assistant at a British university, a job she held for two years.

She then started a Postgraduate Degree in Education to train as a French teacher in the secondary education sector. After completing her studies Michèle worked in various schools across the East Midlands for a period of 10 years.

Following this, she decided to take a break from teaching and completed a Diploma in Environmental Conservation, trained as a Park ranger and did volunteering work for the National Trust. 

However, finding paid work in the environmental sector proved difficult, so Michèle went back to the teaching profession and started working in Special Needs schools and then in a Pupil Referral Unit as a teacher for vulnerable children. She hopes she can one day combine her love of teaching with her love for the environment.

Michele colour1.jpg
“I was very sad when it [Brexit] happened. For the first time in 20 years I felt like I wasn’t welcome. I have been working and paying my taxes, I am teaching difficult groups that nobody else wants to teach, it’s not like I am stealing work from anybody.
Michele colour.jpg
Young British people are so open-minded and friendly, and so well educated. They are very accepting of other people’s differences, be it their nationality or their sexual identity. They embrace people of colour, the LGBT collective, and people with different religions or beliefs than their own.

And then, on the other side of the scale, you have people blaming Europeans for stealing jobs and this rampant nationalism that seems so out of place in a century where we’ve all “gone global”. I really don’t understand where that’s coming from.

Alexandra

Alexandra came to the UK from Greece in 2003 to further her education. Shortly after arriving, she started a Postgraduate course in Drama Therapy, combining her studies with a job as a supply teacher.

She then started a family and began working as a therapist for the NHS CAMS Service, supporting children with mental health issues.

Having been made redundant from this role in 2013, she decided to focus again on her education, enrolling in a Postgraduate course in Psychoanalytical Observational Studies at the University of Leeds.

At the moment, Alexandra is focusing on her family and is also supporting her local community as a volunteer therapist for a local Mother and Baby support group. In the future, she hopes to be able to resume her studies in order to set up her own private practice as a Psychotherapist. 

Alexandra colour.jpg
Brexit shattered my illusions about the UK being a sort of Utopia.

I left Greece because I realised it had a lot of work to do on women’s rights, gay rights, human rights, immigrant rights, etc. and I felt that the UK was a green and happy land where people were more open-minded and tolerant.

I realise now that it wasn’t that they were more tolerant about immigration, I think there was indifference towards us rather than tolerance.
Alexandra_one year on1.jpg
I think the country is going to go through some difficulties unless people are really flexible and resourceful. They will have to be more creative about how to be outside the EU and still be a very vibrant and robust country, both financially and culturally. How they go about it is the big unknown now.

Maria and Simon

Maria came to the UK from Madrid in 2014. She holds a Degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the Universidad Complutense and teaches Spanish in the higher education sector.

She is currently enrolled in a Masters Programme to further her skills as a language teacher. In the future, Maria would like to develop her own Spanish-teaching business, using her passion for cooking as a medium for teaching the language.

Simon was born in the UK to an English father and a Spanish mother. Although British by birth, Simon identifies more with his Spanish side. 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Oxford University and a PhD in Spanish Theatre from Queen Mary University of London. 

Simon has travelled between the two countries his whole life. In 2008 he moved to Spain and began working for a theatre company in Madrid. In 2013 he returned to the UK to work as a University lecturer, a position he still holds now.

Maria_colour.jpg
I [Maria] experienced a lot of sadness and anxiety at the beginning. Brexit made me question whether this was really the place for me in the long term. I felt left out at a time when I was working hard to fit in and adapt to British culture.

In fairness, I have had a lot of support from some sectors of society, like work colleagues and my own students, which has made me feel a bit better.

I am not sure where I will end up, I’m young and there’s a whole world out there to explore.
Simon colour.jpg
The day after the referendum, I [Simon] was working at a theatre workshop in London with people from all over the world. We were all devastated. Then out came the stories in the press about people telling European waiters to go home. It was disgraceful.

Some people say that the Leave vote was a vote of punishment against Cameron and the Tories, but I think the voters are only punishing themselves. I see no positives at all in this situation. Things seem to have calmed down but you can already see some repercussions.

Anna

Anna comes from Barcelona and has lived in the country since 2008. She has a young son who started school in 2016.

With a background in human resources and customer services, Anna has mainly worked in sales and the hospitality sector for various UK companies.

In 2015 she retrained as a personal coach and now runs her own business helping people work through their emotions to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Anna colour.jpg
Brexit hasn’t particularly affected my life so far. I think there is a lot of confusion at the moment, no one really knows how it’s going to turn out. In fact, since the referendum I have felt more support and kindness from English people than ever before.
Anna colour1.jpg
I am happy and content in this country and I always try to focus on the positive. I am not worried about it, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Inma and Andres

Inma and Andres come from Andalucía in Spain and have lived in the UK since 2011. They are married with a young son, who was born in England in 2013.

Andres works as a pharmacist and has also set up "El Cuervo" - his own bilingual English-Spanish theatre company.

Inma has worked as a researcher in Microbiology in the higher education sector and is now part of the scientific team of a British natural nitrogen technology company.

Andres colour.jpg
After the referendum we experienced a mixture of emotions – fear, frustration, anger, a strong feeling of being unwanted. It was sad to see how most of the Leave campaign was focused on immigration, blaming people like us for some of the biggest problems of this country.
Inma colour_crop.jpg
We felt it was irresponsible of politicians to pit one section of the population against another for their own interests, not valuing foreign workers like us for the contribution we make to the development of this country.

We are worried that this could greatly affect the peaceful coexistence between nationalities in this diverse and multicultural society.

Monica

Monica comes from northern Spain and has lived in the UK since 1998. She is married with two young sons.

Through the years she has worked as a special needs teaching assistant, carer in an old people's home, and shop manager.

After completing an MSc in Environmental Water Management in 1999, she started working as a Hydrologist, and later on in Integrated Environment Planning, a position that she still holds today.

Monica colour.jpg
I believe in a world without borders and think this [Brexit] is a step backwards from that.
Monica colour1.jpg
I am not concerned about my situation as an EU national in the UK, perhaps because I have been here for longer than the London Eye and I am both practical and resourceful. Or it could be that I am still a bit in denial, I wouldn’t know.

As Murakami says in one of my favourite books: “You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring.”