Understanding Brexit for Adventures Abroad


Photo by: Carrie Nichols

Written by Carrie Nichols

Brexit. This word has been thrown around between politicians, the press, and economists for months, but few have a true understanding of what it all means. Brexit is the departure of the U.K. from the European Union, otherwise known as, the EU. The EU was created with the intent of uniting European countries. This way, the EU could implement policies that allow trade amongst its territories and immigration to be much easier to complete. The U.K., being composed of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is now considering their departure from the EU, therefore, they can be lifted from the restraints that are attached with being a member. In order for Brexit to be passed, each of these territories had to place a vote on whether they supported the movement. England held a majority vote in favor of Brexit, while Scotland and Northern Ireland opposed.

The official departure is now scheduled for Friday, March 29, 2019. The days progressing to this departure is now referred to as, the “finalizing the divorce” period, there are key issues that must be resolved, which is why the implementation of Brexit has been such a lengthy process. Many questions remain. How much money does the U.K. owe the EU? What about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? This will become the prominent border between the U.K. and the EU, but could potentially bring the return of past tensions. Most importantly, what about immigration?

Although this seems like a distant and large-scale issue, Brexit could affect Americans on a broad scale, and several of its students who plan to attend a University in the U.K. or Europe.

Senior Anastasia Niemann plans to attend University in Scotland, and she has formulated her own opinion on Brexit. “I don’t like Brexit, because I think they are only leaving to keep immigrants out. Britain has always been wary about being part of the EU, which is one of the reasons they decided to keep the Pound opposed to switching to the Euro.”

Niemann isn’t the only one who is worried about the question of immigration. There are two versions of Brexit that could potentially take place. The first is a ‘Hard Brexit’ meaning that the U.K. would keep a more distant relationship with the EU, while ‘Soft Brexit’ means that the U.K. would sustain a closer relationship. With these two options looming, it is possible that travel between the U.K. and the European Union will become much more difficult.

Senior Katherine Zwicker, who plans to attend University in England to study law, has a more positive outlook on Brexit. Zwicker has direct familial connection with England, which has shaped her view on the matter. “My opinion on it stems from my grandparent’s and mother’s views. Brexit is a good move for England. It will allow for more freedom within the restraints of the country itself rather than being bound by a set of restrictions implemented through compromises within the Union. It allows for more independence, especially economically.”

Zwicker brings up some of the key reasons as to why the idea of Brexit was brought up in the first place. Despite the positive, Brexit is taking a toll on the economy by dropping the worth of the pound, but it is still early in implementation. “In terms of education, it (Brexit) will definitely increase the cost. In all honesty, it is still insanely lower than that of the education here,” Zwicker says in regards of price.

Hopefully, the economy will stabilize once Brexit is fully implemented, and University costs will decrease once more.

Not only will Brexit be a large change for the U.K., but also the EU. Sarah Moore, an international student from Hamburg, Germany, wonders what the result of Brexit will be for her own country.  Moore says, “I think it hasn’t really changed anything for us yet, but it will be more difficult to move and live in the U.K. now. In my history class, I learned that England has the largest military power, and the European Union will lose that.”

Despite the benefits and consequences of Brexit, the words of British Prime Minister, Theresa May, bring forth hope of a bright future for both the European Union and the U.K., “Brexit means Brexit, and we will make a success of it.”