You probably heard of GuardianWitness, a relatively recent project of my beloved British newspaper, The Guardian. This page is created to cover the experiences, opinions and ideas of the paper’s readers. There is a different theme being regularly published and anyone can contribute a related media item (text, photo or video) under that topic. A bit like a multimedia forum, really. I wanted to share with you my own migration story to the UK, which was published on the project’s website 19 February 2015. The original link is here.
I am originally from Istanbul, Turkey. I first came to the UK in 2007 to study towards my Masters degree. The photo below was taken in September 2007 at Warwick Castle. Back then, I was about to begin my graduate programme at University of Warwick. It was a uni trip to the Castle and I was amazed by its grandeur and architecture.
After my Masters, I went to Turkey to change my visa to a work permit. I was able to come back to the UK in 2009 and started to look for a job. This time I came to London planning to settle here. I was happy to live in my country, I didn’t have any serious problems there. I just wanted to experience how life in a European country is. (Although the UK is the least European country in the EU!) It was hard due to the recession, but I have finally found a job and settled in London after a couple of months.
In six years, I settled here, became a permanent UK resident and saved some money. Recently, I have applied for UK citizenship as well. I would like to become a dual citizen. I love living here: the lifestyle is straightforward and stable, people are tolerant, very polite and friendly. Although London life can be hectic at times, I still love the buzz of the big city as an Istanbullite. I consider myself as a Londoner now.
The only problem here is that I don’t have any close friends originally from the UK. Nearly all my friends are foreigners like me. But apart from that, I feel like a part of this society, totally adapted to local culture and lifestyle. I feel proud and successful to be living here. I definitely recommend this experience of living abroad to anyone: one learns to stand on one’s own feet in every sense.