My name is Faye Cattell and I am 35 years old. I moved to Italy in February 2014 and married my italian fiancée last year. Before deciding to leave the UK for the second time, I was teaching reception aged children at a primary school in the London Borough of Havering.

I feel that the Brexit Brits Abroad project is important in terms of highlighting why one might leave the UK in the first place. As with any migrant, the reasons for leaving one’s home country are to experience an alternative way of life or make an improvement upon their existing one in some way. I was 22 when I first left the UK, I had the opportunity along with the economic means in which to do so and I pleasantly discovered both of the above. I spent five years teaching unqualified at a bilingual nursery school in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, learned a modern foreign language and became immersed in a different culture that I loved. It led me to embark on a career in teaching and since that first experience of living abroad I have yet again moved to another European country. These opportunities have opened up my mind with regards to the way I view life and I like how this adds to my understanding of the world.

In terms of Brexit, the issues that concern me the most are being prevented from moving back to the UK with my husband, if we so wish, as he will be classed as a foreign spouse and the settlement issues on this are still unclear. Also, being restricted to moving around within other EU countries is an issue as I am a UK national and therefore I could be ‘locked into one country when we withdraw’ (British in Europe and The3Million’s joint response to the UK’s proposal on Safeguarding #citizensrights.). We are two, young skilled professionals who contribute and add value to any country we are living in. Due to current economic climates in Italy and all over southern Europe it is highly likely that when my husband’s contract finishes in a few years time we will have the chance to move again. We are both happy with this prospect as it suits our interests; we like to experience different places, cultures and languages through immersion. However, how easy this will be under the new agreements, we don’t know. It still seems unclear what the implications of the UK leaving the EU are for British citizens living abroad as most of the emphasis so far has been on EU citizens living and moving to the UK and what information does concern us lacks detail.

Faye is just one of the volunteers to our Citizens’ Panel. To read about the experiences of other Britons living in the EU27 visit our Meet the #britsinEurope feature

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