My life in the UK provided me with many unforgettable memories. One of them was on a Saturday evening in London.
I went to “The Polish House” (the main seat of Polish community in London) to see Polish former prime minister giving a talk on why we – the Poles in the UK, should return to Poland. His intention was good, because as a politician who cared about Poland wantes his counterparts to come back ‘home’.
The whole event, however, was a bit comic. Traditionally there was a bit of drama: arguments, shouting “For what reason should we go back to Poland!?” etc. The best were two ladies around my mother’s age who argued with each other on who longer resided in London. That was funny but the idea of bringing back home the Polish ‘prodigal sons’ didn’t work. It was the year 2007 – one year before recession and a long way before Brexit, so most of Poles in the UK were well sorted and resonably happy to stay there.
Back to the present.
The matter of whether some Poles will return to Poland is their private business. Personally, I think that one needs to be ready for that.
The purpose of this text is rather to point out why immigration to the UK was one of the best things that happened to Poles.
Although it’s changing now, Poland is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world. It was a multicultural country prior to the 2WW with Poles, Germans, Jews, Russians and even Czechs living here. However, it was completely washed out of its ethnic variabilities after the war leaving minor but remarkable anti-semitic stints in times of communism what closed Poland for other nations.
The world’s strongest countries are built by immigrants. Precisely, their hard work and cultural input. The United Kingdom is diverse and colourful. It’s not down to anyone to judge how this will unfold but it’s a good thing to live in such an environment for a while, even just to get used to otherness.
My realisation is that the world isn’t divided in races, but simply in good and bad people. The Poles in the UK do a good job, because they blended with people from other countries reasobably well.
Poles in the UK learned how to chill. They stopped worrying what other people say about them and getting upset about whay someone wears and whether they have cellulite. Yes, back home, especially in small cities, people can be THAT judgemental. In the UK human body shape is private matter of its owner, not a random stranger’s.
They let go the judgements – typical feature of the societies where ‘to have’ is more important than ‘to be’.
Most Poles came to the UK to make money. Obviously, there are exceptions, but the thing to point out is that a person’s morale goes up when they’re rewarded for their job. Better pay and simple appreciation for ‘Polish hard work’ is something that a lot of people got in the UK. Not always in Poland.
Everyone who is at least partly involved in this topic heard the slogan “Polish people are hard workers”. In my view, these aren’t empty words.
Even after I moved out from the UK and travelled in Thailand I heard many times from the English backpackers that “Polish people are nice and hard working”.
If you’re appreciated your self-esteem grows. High self-esteem is what most Poles need. The same as a flower needs water to grow. There are no dream chasers people with low self-estem. Cheers UK!
There is a concern that many high-skilled workers who emigrate abroad will never return. This isn’t only a thing in Poland, there are many countries in the world facing this issue. It’s worth to point out that it’s not only government’s job to bring those workers back. The whole nation builds a society by giving support for each other and trying to te their best version.
Personally, I was never worried about the fact that high-skilled workers leave Poland. In 21st century everyone who has an opportunity, has also a right to try different life and learn something new. Who leaves is not as crucial as who comes back and what with. After a time spent abroad, whether it’s in the UK or elsewhere, a person doesn’t come back with the same mindset they have left with.
An immigrant always gains. Gathers life and work experience that can apply back home. Appreciate who he is and what he has achieved.
Even if there will be less of highly skilled workers returning, those who will do, will have a bigger impact on their environment. A priceless thing in the world which no one can take away from them – experience.
Immigration is a school of life. An army service to which we’re not obliged anymore. A survival test to building yourself from scratch. A journey or an escape to unknown.
Immigration sometimes is a must. But primarily is always a choice. Let’s leave people make a choice and support them in the best way we can.