At WCIA, we understand that global issues impact people differently in Wales and around the world. During COVID, we collected global perspectives, in people’s own words, about how the pandemic was affecting them. We are starting a new series of global perspectives on the topic of migration.
Throughout time, people have always migrated in and between countries. In the UK, issues like Brexit and the approach to inward migration impact migrants in Wales. In this series, we explore these issues by asking people who have migrated to share their perspectives, in their own words.
Continuing with the series, read Lluís’ story about her experience living in Cardiff.
Lluís Calvet I Pei is from Sabadell, Catalonia. He is a 28-year-old student and opera singer at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
Here’s her story:
Why did you choose to come to the UK? And why Wales?
I had the opportunity to come here for “Erasmus (exchange)”, and then, when this ended, they first offered me to extend my stay, which I did, and later to complete my master’s in Cardiff. The beginning was difficult, the culture, the weather, plus, that I moved completely alone and in the middle of the pandemic, did not make it easy for me to get used to the country. However, as time passed, I started to really appreciate what Cardiff has to offer. I like cities that aren’t excessively big. Maybe there are not as many opportunities in Cardiff compared to London, but at least, and that’s my feeling, in my university, you aren’t treated as “one number more”. I felt that everything is more personalised, humanised administration! […] I would even say that Cardiff as a city is perfect. I found it beautiful, not excessively expensive, an opera house which is rather serious and important, the National Orchestra of Wales… For me this is wonderful. Of course, do not compare it with London, but there are enough opportunities to enjoy. Plus, I prefer to live in a city where I can have all my needs covered, but not necessarily live with excesses. I can fully enjoy all the artistic offers that Cardiff offers, while in London, or other big cities like Berlin, with so many possibilities, it might be a bit overwhelming.
How has your experience been so far in this country?
Great, if I could, I would stay here. [Choosing it over Spain?] Absolutely! I feel that here there are more opportunities and the personality of the people… I feel that here people, at least in my area of work, they really want to work and pursue their dreams!
Now that you have lived away for a while, do you see any difference between how a migrant person is portrayed here and in your country? Has your stay in Wales as a migrant person altered the way you see things?
Well, I think that here, for instance, if you go deeper inside of the country, I believe that everyone who isn’t third or more generations old of migrants, might be perceived always as an outsider. Whereas, when you go to big cities like London, everything is more diluted. Same in Spain. However, I believe that considering racism toward migrants, despite the cultural differences between Spain and Wales, I believe that racism is the same everywhere.
Do you feel that Brexit has had an impact on your life and/or changed how migration is perceived?
In my particular case, I believe that Brexit has not necessarily affected me. With the pre-settled status, I feel like another sort of migrant, compared to other classmates and friends who had to pay for a visa…
Written by Clara Morer Andrades, 2021/22 ESC volunteer with WCIA