22 Jun 2016

An Austrian in England

Almost three years ago I moved to this country that I now call my second home. I moved here because It had been my dream for many years and because it would help me achieve my biggest goal: to study science. In the three years I have lived here I have learned a lot of things, about this country and about the people and the culture. I know no place in the world is ideal, and I now see this country with all its weird and wonderful traits, and I still call it home.

I don't mean to write a hugely emotional post although this is an emotional matter for me. I had a whole post written out about my time at uni and how I have grown as a person, but I feel at this point I would much rather write about something a little different. I want this to be positive still, I want to show how welcome I felt and still do, and most importantly, why I even had the chance to make this dream of mine come true.

I waved goodbye to Austria almost three years ago to come to England. Two countries which are very different in many ways, Austrians drink less tea, smoke cigarettes in pubs...and most importantly, don't really have many pubs. In England it's almost impossible to get a good schnitzel, footballers are actually talented...and most importantly, people don't hate Austrians. At least not anymore.

My two home countries were once at war with each other, and less than a century later I can live here without having to hide where I come from. I can say I am Austrian and the first reaction is most likely something along the lines of: "oh yeah I went skiing there" or: "I love the sound of music!" And while those are still stereotypes, they are positive ones (at least compared to many others).

I was able to come to this country, study here, make friends and call it home because my two home countries decided not to be at war with each other and instead be united. I strongly believe that we need to look in the past to make decisions about our future. And the past of my two countries tells me two things: that our history should have taught us that having a union with each other and other countries was a good decision, and that I am grateful to this country and the many people that accept me and so many others who have moved here. 

I am an immigrant. And I am lucky to have people who have welcomed me here. I can only hope that everyone who wants a chance like this will still get it in the future. 

A more light-hearted post about my years at university is to follow, but I felt it was important to write down my thoughts. And that's all this is, my thoughts, I do not have a say in whether this country remains part of the EU or not, but I can express my feelings and hope, that whoever reads this agrees at least a little bit.

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