Seven years and half ago I made one of the biggest and most exciting decisions of my life – the best decision I could have ever taken.
It was the end of February in 2012. Only two months after I graduated, I told my family that I was moving to the UK. So I organised my travel, my accommodation and looked at the different job opportunities I could apply for. The unknown scared me but my dreams were finally coming true, so nothing else mattered.
“I felt like part of a family”
Thanks to the EU, this was easier. Thanks to the freedom of movement, I didn’t need a visa. I also didn’t need a specific working permit, so I could freely apply for jobs. Thanks to the EU, I met plenty of new people and friends from different parts of Europe. We exchanged stories, food recipes, cultures and languages.
I will never forget my first months in this country. I didn’t feel like a stranger. I felt like I was part of a bigger, loving and caring family – and this is what the European Union is all about.
One night, I found myself sitting around a table with my housemates and everyone cooked a traditional meal. That was the first time I tasted something British, Spanish, Polish and French at the same time. My contribution was pasta, of course.
Thanks to the European Union, I can now speak English fluently. I can learn about new cultures and travel everywhere in Europe without worrying about travel insurance, health insurance and long queues at the airport. I can call my friends and family in Europe without worrying about how much would that cost me. I can go to the beach, enjoying myself without worrying about the cleaning status of the area.
More importantly, the European Union gave me the chance to complete my studies in the UK, which were fundamental for my future professional career. I had always loved politics ever since I was a teenager, and the European Union gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams: to live, study and work in a different country, a country that I deeply love. So I obtained a Master’s in Political Economy at the University of Essex and then worked in the British political field for two or three years, and I still continue to be politically involved locally.
Future on hold
However, because of Brexit, I had to put my future on hold. How many young people had to do the same because of Brexit? Far too many.
Brexit will negatively affect our young generations by taking away from them all these fantastic opportunities, such as the Erasmus+ programme which is specifically aimed at young people who want to study abroad in another European country. So, why are we allowing Brexit to break our young people’s dreams and jeopardise their future?
The European Union has invested in my county, South Yorkshire, through social funds which have helped our young people to learn about new careers and new skills, with the aim to direct them towards employment, education and training.
Young people represent the future of this country and deserve to be listened to when it comes to Brexit. It is time to take them seriously and ask them what they think.
In 2016, over 70% of young people who voted, voted to stay in the European Union. More recent data suggest that this figure has not changed since then. The security to buy a house, find a job and study are the core issues for our young people and can only be guaranteed by staying in the European Union.
By putting their future at risk, the UK is also risking its own future. Brexit is not worth it. Our young people are worth so much more than this!