There is nothing that I can say about the outcome of the EU referendum and the prospect of Brexit that isn’t much better summed up in the comment from Nicholas (above in the Financial Times).
I have felt so many emotions over the past day – disbelief, shock, hurt, sadness, anger, betrayal…
On a personal level, my job is affected to an extent and I will now need to look into registering in Ireland to allow me to continue to work for my clients in the way that I do currently, however, it’s on a wider level that I feel the most sad.
I remember being at school and learning about the European Union, I remember colouring in stars on the flag and I feel so privileged now to have grown up believing that the whole European market was open to me – to holiday, to live to work… I studied law and European law at university and spent a semester living abroad in Hamburg. In those four months I took advantage of one of the fundamental freedoms that the European Union afforded me, the free movement of people. Over the course of four months I grew so much as a person. I laughed, cried, partied, drank, explored, learnt, and lived with people from throughout Europe, there is nothing like living in another country to really expand the mind and your horizons.
Living in Germany spurred me on to improve upon the German I learnt at school and so every Tuesday night I trot off to City Lit for a German class. Whilst I know that my German will never be good enough for me to do my job in German (I spend an awful lot of my time each day thinking about and manipulating what I write in English), I have always had it in the back of mind that living in a German-speaking country was an option open to me if I so chose. When we leave the European Union that choice becomes a lot more difficult to make.
Beyond the arguments about the free movement of goods, and the implications for the economy, it saddens me that the impetus for learning a European language will diminish further, a generation will become more inward-looking and insular and I fear that as a nation we will become more xenophobic. I, along with millions of others, benefited from the Erasmus programme and free movement and I am a changed person because of it. I feel sorry that we are closing our doors out of fear of letting people in, when maybe we should be more concerned about the fact that we aren’t allowing our young people out. Out into the world. Out into a community bigger than the island we live on. Out into a world of different people and views and experiences.
So much has been lost…