Begoña

Begoña came to the UK from the Asturias region of Spain 12 years ago to improve her command of English.

She worked as a waitress whilst perfecting the language and, thanks to her background in Economics and her knowledge of Spanish and English, was soon able to find a position in the international finance sector.  

Her plan was to use this experience to build up her CV and return to Spain with a better chance of finding a job there. However, she soon met the man she would eventually marry, decided to stay in the country, and gave birth to a daughter four years ago.

Begoña has worked for the same company, a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories, for the past 11 years, first on a customer service role for the Spanish market and now in a management position within the Finance department of one of the company's major brands.

I was surprised when l learnt the result of the referendum, neither of us were expecting it. We couldn’t believe it.

At first I felt rejected, the society I have known for years has always been respectful and inclusive, and that appeared to have changed overnight. Later on I felt a lot of uncertainty, both for me and for my English friends who live in Europe, you begin to realise that this is going to affect a lot of people.

I get the feeling that the UK was never fully involved in the EU, their heart just wasn’t in it. I think the result was partly due to do with lack of employment. When there is an economic recession people start thinking that others are taking their jobs away from them, when in fact a lot of immigrants who come here do the jobs that no one else wants to do.

I have a young daughter and I am worried for her, she was born in England but she has both her Dad’s and my surname [as is the Spanish tradition]. I’m worried about how people might perceive her because of that, and because she has a Spanish Mum, I worry that perhaps she won’t fit in when she is older.

The other day we asked her whether she felt English or Spanish. She wouldn’t say at first but this morning she proudly declared “I am English, Mummy!”. I can’t help but worry though, as a parent you worry about a lot of things.

The whole situation is a roller-coaster of emotions. You are OK for a while and getting on with your life and then something comes up in the news, you hear about the March deadline for triggering Article 50, and suddenly things become very real and the worry and anxiety start all over again.

I don’t know… For a very long time I have felt that this is my home, but things have changed, I don’t feel that way anymore, I could leave tomorrow.