‘Scary and confusing’ – an EU student’s feelings on Brexit

Photograph by Anne Blombach

With Brexit Day, and therefore the day the UK is leaving the EU for good, approaching rather quickly, I wondered how young people, whose future depended on being allowed to live in the UK without restrictions, felt about the situation. I decided to sit down with Jenny Bremerich, 22, who was born and raised in Germany but has been living in the UK for 2 ½ years. The first two years, she spent working as an AuPair after which she decided to stay in London and go to university. She is currently a student of Media and Communications at the University of Greenwich.

When the referendum happened in 2016, Jenny was not allowed to vote because she had only been in the UK for a couple of months by then. However, there have been voices in the community and amongst politicians that there should be a second referendum. Jenny thinks this would be a good idea:

“I think it’s ridiculously stupid to leave the EU […] because we’re going to lose a lot of perks. I don’t think there is any good that could come from leaving the EU. Yes, I think there should be a second referendum just because I have read this study once. Everyone who turned 18 since the first referendum happened, if all of them now would vote to Remain, the majority would be to Remain and that says a lot.”

Fact is, the first referendum was not legally binding and therefore, parliament was not obliged to act on it. However, they decided to do so and have since been faced with some backlash on how they are handling the situation.

“A lot of things most of the times really just confuse me. Certainly, I don’t think they are handling it well because all they are thinking about is themselves, they are not really thinking about the public and all the people living here who would be affected by Brexit. I don’t really like that.”

Although the news that are being shared and everything that is happening in the Parliament is rather confusing, institutions such as universities are trying their best to inform and reassure, telling from Jenny’s experiences specifically.

“I just remember when the Brexit vote happened, I got an email from my AuPair agency explaining what will happen and that we shouldn’t worry at least not now, not yet. They [the university] do a lot because I see all the emails they send out all the time. If I have any questions, if I am concerned about what will happen, I would probably drop them an email and get a response, but I haven’t done that.”

So, what does it mean personally? Brexit is all over the media and comes up in almost every conversation. Does it affect people already, even without anything signed yet?

“Yeah, in one regard because my mum is planning to visit in April and multiple people have told her not to go because […] you don’t know what is going to happen at the airport and she is not booking any flights because she doesn’t know if she can actually come to visit me and that is a bit scary to think about because, I don’t know, it’s a lot.”

Nobody really knows what will happen yet. It will possibly have an impact on travel and, although highly unlikely, it might come down to EU citizens being sent back to their home country. As a student, this is particularly challenging.

“I think my biggest fear is that we will not be able to travel back and forth as often as we would like, to see our family and friends. I think that is one of my biggest fears but then also that deported thing because I go to uni here, why would I want to leave?”

Research shows that Jenny is not alone with her opinion. According to The Guardian almost a million young people are calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal. And although Brexit Day is just around the corner, nobody really knows what is going to happen and it causes especially students to worry about their future.

By Anne Blombach

The Crow’s Nest is a Greenwich Students’ Union Student Media channel. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect those of GSU, its trustees, employees, officers or the University of Greenwich.

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