As academics in England prepare for their strange new semester, I have been making the most of the familiar countryside of the idyllic North Downs in Kent. This summer, the picnics and the walks have been bittersweet: after more than 25 years in the UK, I am leaving to take up a professorship at Hamburg University in Germany.
Why am I am going back to the country of my birth? England no longer feels like home. Instead, since the Brexit vote of 2016, I have felt like a “leaver” in a waiting hall. Now I am going, and the emotional cost will take a long time to come to terms with.
I was from Germany, but I no longer feel I am from there. My seven-year-old son was born in England. His first language is English – he is English through and through. He loves fish and chips; he