As you may or may not know, I am not British (my last name probably gives it away), but I do live in the UK.
As you most likely do know by now, UK people (52% of the UK people) voted to exit the European Union.
And I could use this blog post to vent about how angry I am that 52% of people in the country I love like my own doesn’t want me there. But I don’t want to. I want to write about what European Union means to me.
Because it means a lot. Because every time I look at the front of my passport, which confirms that I’m not just Polish, I’m a citizen of the European Union, I smile.
It means my city, in a fairly poor region of Poland, can afford new roads, football pitches, computers for schools and many, many more things.
It means that I can just grab my passport, or even a national ID, and jump on a plane to Spain, Croatia or Finland, without worrying about visas, customs and lengthy boarder control checks.
It allowed me to take part in many European Youth Parliament (EYP) adventures, and meet some of the most amazing young people from all over Europe. I could learn from their experiences, find out about their cultures, cuisines and local customs. I got to discuss issues of international importance, with the effects of our brainstorming passed on to the European Parliament. All without applying for a single visa.
It means that there is a common currency which, although not used in either of my countries, makes travelling across Europe easier.
It means that important legislation about environmental issues, worker and female rights and many more could be enacted across Europe.
But, most importantly (to me, at least), is the fact that both me and thousands of other young Europeans got a shot at getting the best possible education, all thanks to student loans, Bologna system and Erasmus exchanges.
20 years ago a girl from Eastern Poland would not have been able to study in London, unless she was seriously rich. A year ago, I got this chance, through a combination of a generous student loan, my parents help and my own hard work.
London has become my home. You know this saying about friends being the family we actually get to choose, unlike the one we were born into? I have that relationship with England – I chose it to be my home. No, I didn’t just come to earn some money and take it back to Poland. No, I didn’t just come to get a degree and move on.
I made a choice to live my life here.
Now 52% of this country’s people told me they don’t want me there. They don’t want my taxes, my well-educated brain (at their own university, no less), my transferable skills.
I will do everything to stay. Because England is my home, and you don’t let someone kick you out of your home.
I don’t know what’s going to happen now, no one knows. I’m not going to be playing a guessing game here, I’m not a fortuneteller. We’re going to see what deals are going to be negotiated, what trade agreements, how long it’s going to take.
I’m not in a state of panic. I’m just so immensely sad.
Because I truly do believe in the European Union. I’m a proud European. Proud EYP Alumni. I am a believer.
United we stand, divided we fall.