Anouska Sophia Marjorie Carstairs left the UK for Croatia with her father, Rowan Carstairs, in October 2018.
1) How did you feel on 24th June when you heard about the UK’s vote to leave the EU?
I felt quite incredulous, because in the past Brexit has been regarded as a far fetched joke which would never happen. But now it has happened, and I felt disbelieving, angry, and upset. I was also frustrated and saddened that Brexit would be carried out, as I was informed by my father of all the issues and consequences Britain, and the majority of British people, would suffer if Brexit happened.
2) What were the key driving factors that made you decide to leave the UK?
I decided to leave the UK because I didn’t fancy remaining to suffer the consequences of Brexit. I also knew that Britain would become a very unpleasant country to live in; xenophobic and racist, violent and unjust. I didn’t want to remain in such a country. Also, my father couldn’t afford to pay for the apartment, so we opted to move to Croatia.
3) How/why did you choose your current country of residence?
My father and I chose Croatia because my father had a business there once, so he was familiar with the country, and he really likes Croatia also. Croatia is a good country for me too, as the language is quite similar to Russian, and I know the Russian language considerably well, so that will hopefully be an advantage when I start learning to speak Croatian.
4) Do you have citizenship for your current country? Do you still have EU citizenship? If no, are you hoping to obtain it?
I do not have Croatian citizenship yet, but I am a resident. Of course I hope to obtain Croatian citizenship eventually, but I shall need to speak the Croatian language.
5) Do you plan to return to the UK or hope to move to another country in the future?
I am honestly not sure at the moment. I will of course visit my mother and younger sister in the UK, but I have no plans of moving back to the UK permanently.
6) What was the most difficult aspect/greatest you challenge you faced in moving?
Understanding the structure of services in Croatia: for example, the healthcare system, the banking system, and adjusting to a culture which is far more relaxed and less hierarchical than Britain.
7) What do you miss most about the UK?
To be honest, I really miss Waitrose supermarket, and the pubs.
8) What do you love most about your current country of residence?
I love the relaxed attitude, and the friendliness of Croatian people, and the lack of class structures and the absolute poverty which is now part of British life. There are no homeless people in Croatia.
9) Do you consider yourself to have a “European identity” and what that does that mean to you?
I do consider myself to have a European identity, and I’m proud of it. I have Belarusian blood on my mother’s side, and I now live in Croatia.
10) Do you still consider yourself to have a “British identity” and how do you feel about it?
I believe I do, in a sense. I do abhor the politics of Britain, the monarchy, the economy, the politicians, the hierarchy, the blatant criminalisation of poverty. Those are some of the aspects I severely dislike about Britain. But there are some aspects I do like about Britain, such as the history, the folklore, the nature, some of the old towns and the thatched roof cottages, the architecture, afternoon tea, some of the museums and attractions, the castles, the churches and cathedrals.
11) How has the Covid19 pandemic affected your life?
The Covid 19 pandemic hasn’t really affected me much, as Croatia responded to the crisis with admirable quickness and skill. The lockdown was tolerable, as I knew that it was for the best and we could still go out to get food in, so I didn’t feel like I was imprisoned within the house. In Croatia in general, there was no real panic amidst people because the government handled the situation very well. There have been no new cases for two weeks, and only seventeen people still in hospital.
12) How do you feel about your country’s response to the Covid19 pandemic compared to the UK government & media?
I think that Croatia responded admirably towards the pandemic: the government and the health service tracked everyone with the virus and quickly hospitalised them, thus preventing the virus from spreading and becoming out of control. Unfortunately, Britain didn’t follow Croatia’s example, and consequently the virus spread like wildfire and is now uncontrollable.