‘Congratulations on your achievement’: the day I became British


There is a new genre emerging: citizenship memoirs. Here a bitter sweet chronicle of my ‘journey into Britishness’.

EU families & Eurochildren in Brexiting Britain

How does one mark the ceremony to become British? With mixed feelings, in many cases.

By Nando Sigona (originally published in OpenDemocracy)

‘Congratulations on your achievement’, ‘I heard congratulations are in order’, ‘well done’. I look at my interlocutor undecided on what to reply. A smiling face looks at me, expecting a response. Eventually I put an end to the awkwardness by smiling back politely. ‘Thank you’, I hear myself saying unconvincingly and rapidly move on. What achievement exactly? I would like to ask.

I was allowed two guests for the citizenship ceremony but only went with my wife. I couldn’t think of anyone else with whom to share the event. A few people would have appreciated the opportunity, but not as guests, rather as researchers observing a strange rite of passage: me entering it as a foreigner and coming out as a British citizen.

For months – since…

View original post 1,327 more words

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