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Last updated: 21st September, 2020

expats, international living, report

Communities in lockdown case study: Faith, living in Germany

Faith is originally from the UK but moved to Germany two and a half years ago for work and love. With friends and family still living in the UK, Faith was visiting her loved ones when Germany closed its borders the day she was due to fly home to her partner and their children. Being an EU citizen with no German passport or resident permit, it was her German driving licence that helped her get home just as the world came to a standstill as a result of COVID-19.

We spoke to Faith to find out more about how she has been connecting with family and friends back in the UK during the height of the pandemic.

“Being in another country to your family and friends in a time of pandemic is a scary thing and there is a desperation to keep connected to those who are most important to you.” Faith says. “Online tools have become invaluable to supporting this connection, especially those where you can see the other; having a cup of tea with your friends while chatting has brought a certain sense of normality to otherwise crazy times!”

On top of weathering a pandemic, Brexit also continues to cause concern and confusion for those like Faith who are UK citizens living in an EU country. “This has just meant double insecurity and confusion. I just don’t know when I am going to be able to get back to the UK again.” Faith explains. “It’s a very worrying and scary time, but this makes connection to each other so much more valuable and important.”

Slowing down, spending more time with her partner and children as well as taking the time to reach out to family members and friends more often has provided Faith with a source of comfort and simplicity in such an uncertain time. However, not being able to travel abroad has helped Faith to appreciate the ways in which she can speak and connect with her loved ones who live abroad on a daily basis.

“It’s the little things that count and make a big difference now: the family group messages and seeing photos of nieces and nephews growing up so fast and enjoying the summer sun; fun quiz nights that you can look forward to and give you focus as well as tangible parcels and letters that enhance that connectedness just a little bit further.”

Communicating online also offers exciting opportunities to connect with new people from all over the world. For Faith, the inventive ways of communicating during pandemic has led to new friendships: “One of my friends in the UK started an international quiz night over WhatsApp which keeps us connected and entertained! I have, in a way, found new friends as a result.”

Aside from online methods, Faith has also recognised new ways in which people are communicating with one another on the streets, whether this simply be a nod or a hand gesture to someone as they let you pass. “Communication has extended beyond spoken language and has made me feel more like a part of this community,” Faith reveals.

Faith has also been touched by the personal ways in which individuals in her local community are reaching out to each other to offer help, for example by delivering ‘loneliness packages’ or putting up notices on doors to offer assistance with shopping. For Faith, the pandemic has led her to understand the importance of communication, whether this be with a loved one, a neighbour, or even a stranger, going on to say that “Despite these difficult times, people are rising to the challenge and are working hard to bridge the gap in the community that we all need so much. May we all do more of this!”

To find out more about how people all over the world have been coming together in recent months, and how PagoFX have been helping to support individuals and good causes around the globe, take a look at our Communities in Lockdown Report.

Faith Blakemore currently works as an International Project Manager for Steinbeis Europa Zentrum