‘Brexit has made Brits like me an outcast in Europe’
A British expat shares her experiences of what it's like to be a Brit abroad, post-Brexit...
‘On Friday, June 24, 1.2 million British citizens living in Europe awoke to worry and uncertainty, following the news that Britain was leaving the EU. These expats, are desperately worried about what will happen to them. I know because I am one of them.
A lot happened the day Britain left the EU: the Prime Minister resigned, the pound plummeted and incidents of hate crime spiked across the UK. It also happened to be the day that a stranger threw clothes pegs at me – and my family while we were in the street – just for being British.
When you move to another country, you want to fit in, you want to make friends, and you want to be accepted. I came to Bulgaria 8 years ago, and although my experience hasn’t always been 100% positive, I had felt accepted, but recently something has changed. It’s not something I can put my finger on, just a mood, an atmosphere of hostility. In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, I feel like an outsider.
People stare at me in shops when I speak and talk about me in earshot, because they assume I can’t understand what they’re saying. There’s a prevailing sense of ‘’if you don’t want us in your country, we don’t want you in ours,’’ Last week, my sister got pushed by a waitress in a cafe and another woman asked me accusingly, ‘’Were you part of the 52 percent that voted out of Europe?’’
When I first moved here with my family, aged 13, we lived in a remote village. We came in search of a new life, in a bid to escape the somewhat chaotic lifestyle of the UK. And it was eye opening. We met some of the most extraordinary Bulgarian people. We learned how to grow vegetables, how to stay warm in the harsh winters, how to survive during 5-week water shortages. Above all, we learned that the little things like food, water, warmth and love really do matter most.
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