Serge's story

From: Roman, Romania | Date moved to the UK: 2005 | Occupation: Arts promotion assistant | Qualifications: (BA) Music Business

When I first came over to the UK it was to explore and develop my passion for music. Romanians and Bulgarians were close to non-existent as far as the British public were concerned. ‘The Cheeky Girls’ were probably all anyone knew about Romania.

Back then, the “Polish wave” inundated everyone’s consciousness. A stream of panic, hate and fear flowed almost constantly from the papers. The subjects were everything from Polish workers taking British jobs or having intercourse with dust hoovers. At the time, I was too young to understand or to care why this was happening. I always thought that the regular folk on the street would not waste their time with such low-minded attacks.

Today it is the turn of Romanians and Bulgarians to be the football of these discussions. Hardly any paper mentions anything good about the Eastern Europeans who come over here to work, many of whom take on the worst jobs to begin with, who bite their lips swallowing bitter racist remarks. They continue to work regardless, with painful determination. All because he or she wants to give their kids a better future, a better education, a better life.

"Eastern European migration is simply the next natural step in the globalisation idea that has been promoted since the Second World War"

I have formed my own opinion of the type of people who actually do emigrate. It is only those who are brave enough, crazy enough and hungry enough for change. But for the rest, it simply remains an idea.

It is those who seek out change who bite the bullet. And it is exactly these type of people who bring great energy and spirit to an economy. So although it does bother me sometimes to see yet another headline about Romanian gypsies, I remind myself how non-representative they are of the situation as a whole.

I see the Eastern European migration to the UK as simply the next natural step in the globalization idea that has been promoted since the Second World War. Britain is leading the way, even if reluctantly or unknowingly at times. I like the unification of Europe we are living through, this so-called European super-state. It is a major step forward for all humanity.

We live in an age when information and knowledge travel at the speed of light, so can anyone honestly say that separate nation states are the way forward?

When the problems we all face are global, with capital markets destabilizing the entire world overnight, sending tens of millions into hunger and despair, can this be really be fought by individual nations?

Living in London for all these years has taught me more than I could have ever learned by remaining in Romania. It represents the very model of a 21st century city: diverse and forward-looking. A city that is constantly moving, evolving and innovating, a city that is alive in the truest sense of the word.

It is here that I came to overcome limitations of race, language, colour or religion. It is here that I have begun understanding and appreciate the open-mindedness and respect that is due to every people, regardless of where they were born.