Freedom of Movement 23 - Lithuania
I meet Inga by the cathedral in Vilnius.
She is in charge of the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in Lithuania.
Inga comes and goes from Lithuania as often as she likes - a priviledge not lost on someeone who grew up in a post-soviet state. She worked in the UK while she was a student - to improve her English - and still does (as you’d expect, D of E staff need to visit the UK at least every now and again).
She hasn’t found it difficult to come and go from the UK yet, but assumes it would be more complicated once the UK leaves the EU, although she admits she doesn’t know, as it’s hard to follow as cloesly as one might like. This may well lead to her travelling to the UK less often.
Inga also fears that things will become more difficult for Lithuanians living in the UK, and the uncertainty around residence and movement in and out of the UK is currently something that worries a lot of Lithuanians in the UK or at home with family in the UK.
This includes her sister, who is an NHS doctor working in London. She has contingency plans for various outcomes, which include leaving the UK for a destination where she can be more certain of her future.
I’ll leave the last word on this to Inga: “Recently I had a discussion with my colleague who is an English language teacher and professional translator. I asked her which additional language, in her opinion, I should learn now? (I already know English and a little Russian).
She advised me to choose a country and a culture which I like and to learn their language as a way to understand that culture more deeply.
At that moment I realised that, from very beginning, I liked English because I am interested in all the nations of the United Kingdom. This won’t change if UK leaves the EU, but it may be harder to explore the country and it culture if I am treated as - potentially - an outsider, rather than a friendly neighbour.”