They come in waves: both the Romanians and the articles about them. Some might regard this as an obscure issue, while some might already be fed up with it. It is safe to say that the UK has always had an immigrant problem, whether it has been Indians, Asians, Bulgarians or, of course, Romanians.
Everything started to heat up when the 2011 Census revealed that ‘British Whites’ are a minority among Londoners, with a percentage of only 44.9 per cent. Whether it is discriminatory, ignorant or sheer patriotism, it is alarming enough for the British to go mental and we cannot blame them. We can, however, deconstruct the image they have concerning us: gypsy, beggars, thieves – these are no words to define the population from a country with an impressive cultural and historical background.
First things first, gypsies are not native Romanians; they came from Northern India and spread throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Yes, many of them speak our language and have migrated to the United Kingdom, and unfortunately for them, they have quite a reputation for (you guessed it) being unclean. What is more, their hobbies include: stealing, working in the black market and all things illegal.
Certainly, just like any country, Romania has both good and bad, both brilliant minds (Nikola Tesla – who, to everyone’s surprise, was Romanian with the name of Nicolae Teslea; also, Emil Racoviță, Grigore Antipa, Anghel Saligny and Traian Vuia to name a few) and lazy individuals. Nonetheless, its resourcefulness should never be underestimated: don’t forget that Romanians laid the foundations of cybernetics, discovered insulin, invented the jet engine and a whole lot more that we don’t get enough credit for.
Back to the migration dispute, I was not really aware about how the Romanian influx has risen, until I became a London student myself and started bumping into several long-lost brothers and sisters daily. Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, tube stations and especially Primarks – I admit it, we are everywhere.
It is of course reassuring and peculiar at the same time to meet your Romanian fellows abroad and know that you have chosen the same ambitious path. Sometimes I chuckle to myself and feel proud as I see students, yet other times I turn up the volume on my iPod and try not to be Romanian for the five seconds that I pass by a group of beggars.
But sadly, following the migration restrictions, the number of homeless Romanians in London tripled in 2014, which makes it an awkward situation for both countries, as making people homeless is not a solution. You might ask why we are leaving. From better salaries (that are ridiculously modest in Romania), to an improved higher education, the reasons are numerous, yet the goal is always the same: we are all looking for a better future, whereas back home the chances of succeeding are low.
We can all agree that London is indeed an exceptionally, but not an excessively multicultural place. Tourists come and go, but England’s capital is slowly, but surely, converting itself into the world’s capital. While you take some time to process that, you should also realise that the Romanian migration should not be the focus of the study, as we are directly contributing not only to the British economy, but also to the education system and actively working towards significant breakthroughs.
More and more intelligent and talented young adults dream of Oxford, Cambridge, UCL or Imperial College London, and most of them are actually successful with their application. Thus, England should start being grateful for the new resources we are offering in the form of competent and bright individuals.
Until then, we are waiting for some recognition. All 20 million of us.