Amaya

Amaya grew up in a German-Spanish household. Originally from La Paz, she was adopted by a German mother and a Spanish father and lived in various countries throughout her childhood before finally settling in Brussels, where she completed her International Baccalaureate.

She then moved to Madrid to study at Universidad Carlos III, where - being from a different background - she encountered an unwelcoming atmosphere and found it challenging to fit in. She stayed in Madrid for a year and then moved to the UK in 2006 in search of a more tolerant and inclusive experience, which, happily, she found.

Soon after arriving in the country, Amaya started a Degree in Economics and, after completing her studies, spent the following year and a half doing volunteering work with refugees and local organisations helping the most vulnerable in society.

She then moved to the Netherlands for a year to study European politics at postgraduate level. However, after encountering much of the same atmosphere she endured in Madrid, Amaya decided to return to England and shortly after found a job at the Citizens Advice Bureau, where she still works today.

To me it [the referendum result] was traumatic, like a car crash. You don’t experience the full range of emotions right away, they come later, like a delayed reaction. I am now more involved in politics, I want to know what the Opposition are doing, I travel to London regularly to attend conferences and events. There are many of us in this situation, we have to get organised and take action to highlight the contribution we make to this country.

I think the Remain camp didn’t do a good job explaining the many benefits of being in the EU. They didn’t include us EU nationals in their narrative during the campaign either. Where were the first hand accounts of people like myself who have lived here for years? Of EU nationals who have started their businesses here and are generating employment and revenue for this country?

The day after the referendum I felt like a guest who had overstayed their welcome. Some of my European friends feel anxious about speaking in English with an accent, they are worried about giving themselves away as foreign. This isn’t a feeling that’s just going to go away, like flicking a switch, it is traumatic and it will take years.