The European Union is a political and economic union between nations that are primarily European. Brexit is a term that describes the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. As of now, the United Kingdom remains a part of the European Union as terms are negotiated.
While I was abroad in northern England, I was classmates with a Scottish student, had several British and Irish teachers. One Irish teacher seemed unfazed, and the other was indifferent. The Scottish girl had a lot to say about how she wanted to stay with the European Union. My British professors were keen to leave the politics out of class discussion, but when we were breaking for tea (very stereotypical British, I know), there conversations held the viewpoints for both sides of the argument. They are individuals working in an environment of intellectuals who must have a lot of opinions to express around the metaphorical water-cooler, so they know to analyze the whole situation. The supporters for Brexit believed the U.K. would flourish without EU dictation over their economy. The opponents believed the U.K. would fall without the broader support net.
In the end, the professors seemed to deem the discussion as more of a nuisance than anything. They felt the masses that voted were joking around or uneducated about the issue. And as far as social media and news portrayed the reactions to the decision to split, the world and the U.K. were just as shocked as one another about the outcome.
Why should Americans care about Brexit? The U.S. has a strong economic connection with the U.K., so if the split negatively impacts them, then our economy will also feel the impact. Also, our bond with the U.K. is arguably the strongest connection we have to the European Union. Without U.K. access to the EU’s influence, the U.S. will have to consider making new connections. These connections can seriously influence travel accessibility, for leisure or education. It was my luck that the pound was down in value because of the decision, which gave me more money for my travelling.
Abby King is a senior studying history and classics at the University of Kentucky. She studied abroad in Summer 2016 in England where she participated in the Durham University Summer Fulbright Institution and learned about ancient and medieval history and archaeology.