My heart is broken into two: I am a Romanian teacher, my subject is English and it hurts me that my visits to the UK, a beautiful country, will likely be more difficult in the future.
Unlike in the insular days of communism, when I was a student, I encourage my pupils to learn from everything and everybody – to be outward-looking so we can know the best that there is to know.
Before today, I told them to look to the UK, in particular – a country where there is so much to experience and bring back to help us here. I told them it was an open and welcoming country. I told them that by seeing the UK as a model, we can help our own country progress.
Now? I hope that Brexit is just another Hadrian’s Wall for these young people curious to learn abroad and expand their horizons. A barrier, but really only one in name.
I understand the ups and downs of immigration. It may surprise you to know that we have a lot of immigration in Romania, too. But I understand that, for the most part, immigration is a positive thing for a country.
So what will those of us wishing to explore your wonderful country – to live and work among you, to contribute, to teach you about the wider world, just as you teach us so many things – do? Some will still arrive on your shores, but many will find other beautiful places to enjoy. That will be a loss both to them and to the UK.
Monica Ionescu is an English teacher in Romania