Exiting the school year with Brexit


It was a sad day today.

The last day of school at an international school can be that way. So many kids are moving on to new schools, colleagues leaving for new positions, and retirees ending their careers, that the joyous close of the year usually ends in tears.

Today though, the tears were more than just about the close of school.

Today Germany woke up to hear that the United Kingdom had decided to break the ties that bind and exit the European Union.

My British colleagues were devastated. My British kids were worried about their parents’ futures working abroad in the European financial market. My students were worried about their University plans and how this change would impact their tuition.

Too many friends said, “Today, I’m ashamed of my country.” I hugged them and held their hands and said, “Yes, I know what that feels like.”

One said, “Too many of my countrymen are so nationalistic, well not like Americans, but you know.” Yes, I do know.

And then, after the shock died down I began to feel a deep sense of dread. What does this all mean?

If it can happen in Britain, could it happen in America? Could the irrational win out in this year’s presidential election?

What does this mean for me? My job? My friends? My daughter’s friends?

We are a world bound together, whether by contract, or just personal connection. We are no longer citizens of the United States, we are citizens of the world. My actions impact the actions of others. My country’s actions impact the actions of other countries.

For the United Kingdom, enough was enough. That fear of losing control, that fear of those different from them, won out over all of the good reasons to stay in the union. And for some, it was just the fact that they finally could take action against something, anything, after feeling politically and economically abandoned for so long.

Please America. Don’t let this be our story. Don’t let the hatred of the other, the anger at paying for those not paying their fair share, make you vote the wrong choice this November.

And regardless of how you may feel, think of the future you are leaving the next generation. When you are gone, will your decisions have made their world a better place? Or, did you just make the decision to cut our nation’s children off from a better future?

Vote based on the facts rather than your emotions. Vote for equality and openness. Vote to REMAIN connected to our world community.


How did the vote affect your day?  Feel free to share an end of school year anecdote, or maybe even a baby animal video to cheer us all up.

Categories: Education

11 replies

  1. Wow – what a horrible way to end the school year. I just landed in Greece with students and it’s been hard to explain to them what’s happening. Good luck 🙂

  2. I’ve heard compelling reasons from both sides, but I am somewhat concerned by what one of your students said: “‘Too many of my countrymen are so nationalistic, well not like Americans, but you know.’”

    Why is nationalism – in the sense of retaining national sovereignty, not “My country right or wrong” – so evil? Then again, I’m American who’s never lived abroad, so maybe I don’t “get it” the way someone who has would.

    I somewhat agree with your statement that “We are a world bound together, whether by contract, or just personal connection. We are no longer citizens of the United States, we are citizens of the world. My actions impact the actions of others. My country’s actions impact the actions of other countries.”

    I would add one word: just. We are no longer just citizens of the United States . . .

    While you are correct that our actions do influence others, I fail to see the evil in looking out for one’s national interests first. I genuinely do not understand why any country would voluntarily give up national sovereignty to a council/parliament/board.

    Perhaps in living abroad you have an insight I’ve missed.

    • Nationalism has never been good. Nationalism is wedded to militarism and imperialism. Patriotism can be innocent, but it too can lead to nationalistic thoughts of superiority over others. I really don’t understand how this could be a good thing. Maybe you are right, my views are clouded by my living abroad in an international community. My views are clouded by the remnants and reminders of wars waged due to Nationalism.

      • OK, wow. Perhaps my tone in writing wasn’t what I intended. Military nationalism has always been detrimental. If I implied otherwise, that’s my fault. I also did not intend to be in any way condescending; perhaps I could have done with out the quotes around “get it”? I’m not sure. I was genuinely asking for information because I realize my own views have been shaped by living where I do.

      • I know that you were not intending to be condescending or meant any harm. I have been waiting to respond until the words came that seemed more tempered, but I just keep coming back to these ideas in response to what you wrote. Living abroad changes you. Living abroad shows you that those things that I believed that seemed so harmless actually do affect the world in negative ways.

      • I’m doing a Makers training at NuVu at MIT. Great activity to stretch beyond my Humanities background and create designs/projects that get kids to take action through design on an issue. Have a great 4th!

  3. You know well from FB how I feel about this. I genuinely felt that remain would win and we would say, OK, we get to stay and we take on board people’s concerns and request for change.
    I don’t actually blame the people who voted leave. Fact was shunned for myth – we should look to educate people better so they can equip themselves in the future with truth. The media was nothing short of disgusting, spreading lies – we should bring in tighter rules on this. People were so desperate for change that they would stoop this low – politicians should look at how to make things better.

    I’ve been saying for years that I think it’s only a matter of time before there is another riot. Life here really is all that bad. Salaries are low – I had to choose between doing a job that uses my brain and that I enjoy (young person mentor/careers advisor/teacher) for a much, much lower salary than my brainless PA job. My rent takes up 60% of my monthly take-home, and rent and parking fees take up the rest.

    I just really hope that the brexiters have it right and that things get a little better. I highly doubt it, though.

  4. I, too, am worried about how things will feel in November after the vote. At first I thought, no way…it won’t happen…same as I felt about the UK actually voting to leave. And now I’m even more worried about America.

  5. I’ve said to many of my American friends, please use us as an example! Brexit seemed impossible, and so many people didn’t bother to vote Remain because of it. Sadly, it was not impossible. Let’s hope against hope that America learns from our mistake and votes the right way in November!
    Sending huge love from the UK. Despite what the statistics say, I think the vast majority of the UK do not want this to happen. The world is fractured enough as it is without more ties being broken xx

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