Words and images by Karolina Król
UK left the table is a project focusing on migrants from the European Union living in Post-Brexit reality around Wales. It’s been almost a year since the United Kingdom left the EU and a lot of things changed since. Sharing experiences of migration can have a positive impact on breaking down the barriers between us. People from all over European Union countries who made Wales their home are sharing their personal stories.
Karol Rutkowski, a BA Film student at University of South Wales said: “What Brexit really did is that I can’t travel with my ID but passport instead and also I had to apply for settlement status, I don’t see much changes that would affect my life.”
When asked about the experience as an European Citizen living in Wales he said: ” Even though most of my experience as an European Citizen living in Wales is positive, I’ve had number of negative, sometimes racist behaviour from other people. I was banned from speaking my native language in the place I work in. Once, I wasn’t allowed into LGBT club after checking my ID due to being Polish.”
Joao Saramago, an artist from Lisbon, moved to Wales three years ago and is working currently in Cardiff. “I guess that the sense of unification and community most complies to what an European Citizen refers to” he said about being an European today.
Many might wonder whether Wales is still a desirable place to live, especially after United Kingdom left the European Union. It didn’t have much effect on Joao: ” In Wales I have found my artistic identity and I couldn’t feel more grateful to be part of it”.
Alexander Hagge, German-born, Polish-raised Natural History student is passionate about world’s wildlife, mountain and photography enthusiast and a part-time powerlifter. He lived in Wales for five years. Speaking of experience of somebody living in Wales as a migrant from EU, Alex says: “The British culture has foreigners written all over it. One in eight is a foreigner. Therefore, never have I considered myself being an EU citizen any different from the Welsh, nor the British.”
“I do have a love and hate relationship with Wales. Germany and Poland are no different. My home, whatever that word means, is now in three different countries. I shall always associate Wales with the feeling of becoming an adult, freedom, and motivation to achieve the big goals, which I could only dream of in Poland. Nevertheless, I am yet to find a place on earth where I belong” he said.