Polish Young Peoples' Narratives: Impacts of Living and Studying in the UK

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Abstract

Migration plays an important role in shaping contemporary society in the European Union (EU), with constituent countries being affected differently. As a result of the most recent expansion of the EU in 2004, the United Kingdom (UK) has experienced an influx of economic migrants from former “Eastern Bloc” countries, including many young people from Poland. In this study, we explore the experiences of a group of nine young Polish adults living, studying and working in the UK. Three of the nine participants were co-researchers in this participatory action research, equipping them with the tools to undertake a narrative enquiry. The resultant narratives outline emergent themes and subthemes: including reasons for coming to and staying in the UK; first impressions of and changing opinions about life in the UK; the impact of visits to Poland; and plans for the future. The data add to the literature by providing a unique developmental perspective of the changing experiences of living in the UK; and give some insight into the life impacts of migration in contemporary Europe, amongst young people in their twenties.

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