Not so Cinderella in Cardiff

The clock is about to strike midnight. The pen is beckoning me so I’ll be fast. What I can’t get out of my head is how quickly the year has gone. More to the point, I worry about the end. The day that will come where I’m told I’m no longer welcome in this country and I’m forced to leave. Others have expressed similar sentiment lately. What we want is to stay, but for those of us unfortunate enough to be born from outside the European Union,  we’re forced to find an employer willing and capable of filing a special visa status for us. Unfortunately, these do not appear to be common, especially within the field of communications.

Indeed, the statistics are bleak, and only about 4000 students from across the U.K get to stay on after they graduate. That’s after many more students, like myself, have spent a fortune living here for a year. I’m pragmatic with myself, I’ve already accepted that unless someone is willing to give me a break, the day will come when I board a jumbo, and leave  (likely crying).

I haven’t given up. In fact, I’ve pushed myself harder into my studies hoping something I do will mean something in all this. I’ve been taught that opportunity comes to those who work, but my experiences in life has shown me something different. It’s who you know, how much money you have, and sometimes, just plain luck.  The later of which, I would be grateful for even a smidgen of.
Onward and upward they say, but clearly my Euro-centric social group does not quite comprehend my larger social circle’s worries, that encompasses individuals from India, China, and of course me. This later group, all of us, share the same burden of not being welcome when we finish our degree. Those holding a European passport glibly reply “oh that sucks”, with little regard that at least for this American, her whole dream is simply to stay.

I suppose for that reason, I feel closer to my non-European friends sometimes. I love as we exchange foreign words, laugh about misunderstandings, and all share our war stories of arriving on these Welsh beaches.  Why fate would bring all of us together only to be torn apart is something we’ve asked ourselves for awhile. However, it is the sad ending we’re all preparing ourselves for.

For myself, I was a 4.0 student (First) through my first degree, A 3.6 in my undergraduate (First), graduating with honors including a major and double minors, one in a foreign language.  I studied abroad, worked with NGOs, and I am a native English speaker. Yet none of  it seems to matter.

“Live in the moment.”, I keep being told. I don’t think I can quite do that anymore. My moment is slowly evaporating and the question I keep asking myself is not whether I can seize this opportunity (because I know I can), but did one ever exist for me in the first place?

I’m reminded by the people in my home town. A town deep in the south with 2600 people and who tend to look at anyone with a foreign accent negatively. They label foreigners as those who “are not from these parts” (I should mention, even I’m seen as a foreigner at home). The number of disgusting conversations I’ve overheard about “them Mexicans”, who are “stupid” and “need to learn English” beguiles me. I should note that typically the individuals who make these comments, rarely sound like they know English themselves. So that’s me, the foreigner, the immigrant, and I’m okay with that.  Sure my American accent is well liked here, and generally I don’t suffer the Xenophobia of some, that others in my social group do (we’ve talked about it, it happens to them), but I’m just another girl, off the boat, chasing her dreams.

I accept my place in this world. I think I can live with it. It’s been fun while it lasted, and this country is going to break my heart when you tell me to pack my things and get out, but we both know the truth, I’m just the commoner, and well, unlike some fairy tales, I’ve never owned a pair of glass slippers.


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