By William Healey a member of one of the SY2E groups.
Until I was 22 years old, I had never really thought about the European Union. I just knew it was something that a lot of British people, particularly of my parents generation, hated and blamed for everything that was wrong in the UK.
In 2013, the European Union’s Erasmus program gave me the opportunity to take a year of my degree in the Hochschule Reutlingen, in Baden-Württemberg, south west Germany. I had never heard of Reutlingen before the day I found out that I had an opportunity to go there.
I decided to take the opportunity, and after quitting my part time job, found myself an apartment and prepared to move.
There’s a lot of things they don’t tell you about moving to another country. The language is the least of the difficulties, but you get through it. I lived with people from all 28 EU states; my best friends from university are Italian, German and French, although I got on with them all.
I learned a lot about cross-cultural communication, and how to see the world from more than just a UK-Centric perspective. Skills that enabled me to get a job paying above the UK average within a month of graduation.
It was with complete disbelief that I returned for my final year of university to see the rise of Nigel Farage, nativism, and isolationism in the UK. My original plan to move back to Germany after university has now been on hold for a year. Within 3 weeks I will know whether to abandon the plan entirely or not.
Having lived in Germany, a country which still has the scars of what a nationalist movement can do to a country, I was staggered to see what was happening to the country I grew up in.
There is a world of opportunities provided by the EU. You can go to university for 300€ a year tuition fees, and come out with a degree that shows you can handle working across borders. You can see places you never thought you would, and perhaps meet the love of your life in the process. There is so much out there, embrace life outside our island nation by voting REMAIN.