Russell in Germany, “I will do whatever is needed to keep my family together”


I am a 30 year old father of one. I live and work in Germany as an English teacher in the private sector [though I’m looking to transition into the public sector – partly as a desire for more stable work brought about by uncertainty due to Brexit]. I met my wife when she was an Erasmus student at Kingston University, London. You could say that we met because of the EU’s visa-free travel and student initiatives. We had a long distance relationship for a few years, before flip-flopping back and forth between the UK and Germany. However, after struggling in the post-credit-crunch economy for a few years I decided to move to Germany and try my luck there. I now work as a business English trainer, freelance, for several large German companies. English remains the global lingua franca.

Now I’m married to my wife, Andrea, and have a beautiful daughter, Aurelia. Brexit has the potential to ruin my life if the negotiations go badly i.e. if my wife can’t get a visa to live in the UK with me or I can’t get one to stay here with her. Although this situation sounds unlikely, I can quite easily imagine a situation in which people with our circumstances fall through the cracks or don’t tick all the right boxes. I have been out of the UK for a few years, not long enough to settle in Germany, my wife hasn’t even entered the UK yet, my daughter doesn’t yet have her British Citizenship. I will do whatever is needed to keep my family together, if it means becoming a German, giving up my British citizenship, or even moving to another country completely, then that’s the price I’ll have to pay.

Before coming to Germany, I lived in London during the credit crunch and Scotland during the independence referendum. It seems I’ve been in all the popular places recently!

My own feelings on Brexit are a bit muddled. Before I met Andrea, I would have probably voted for Brexit. As it is, I felt surprised on results day, and nervous, but also rather proud that my countrymen had the bravery to vote the way they have. Still, it throws into contrast the journey I have made from my point of view as a British student in London, to an Englishman in Scotland, to a Briton in Germany; a journey of perspective as well as distance.

I feel torn between my past in Britain, my present in Germany, and my future, over which hangs a question mark.

Russell 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

Disclaimer: As with all of the information supplied through the citizens’ panel and presented in our Conversations with the #britishinEurope feature, the views, information, or opinions of individual study participants presented above are solely those of the individual author. They do not necessarily represent those of the project team, Goldsmiths or our funders.

One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story x You wife and daughter sound wonderful and you are an equally wonderful person. Sorry this bizarre situation has occurred for you 3 and millions 😔 My saying sorry isn’t enough so know I stand by you 3, all those affected and wish on today, International #PeaceDay , that you know many want the future bright and present secure & safe x


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