I will do whatever is needed to keep my family together– Russell in Germany
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.