“Shall we here?" “Yeah, sure, it's a nice place.” Room to sit down, here on the Goerlitz side of the city. Old Town Bridge and Neisse river in the background, the sun seems like time for a chat. Izabela Jucha looks around and smiles pensive. She has arrived, arrived in Zgorzelec, in Goerlitz. A long way lies behind her and her family. Izabela Jucha is a returnee. With only 19 years she left her home country Poland and moved to England - like many of her countrymen. Her job there: advanced training for managers. But at the moment, the 35-year-old is busy with moving into her new home. The family is now living in Zgorzelec for six weeks. Izabela Jucha comes from Bogatynia, her husband from Zgorzelec. He is employed in the electronics industry and is engaged in the programming of car electronics. "He is currently building up a business company within the region," Izabela Jucha says. She herself is currently connecting to the local business network to get back into her profession.
Twelve years in England, four years in Canada - this is the path of the young Polish woman. "We had a quite good life there," she says. Both had a good wage at all but something was obviously missing. “In England, the Brexit let us think about better getting back to our roots”, Izabela Jucha reflects the decision nowadays. "We informed ourselves on the Internet - about the opportunities and about what the home region can offer us" she says. In this process, the family found the website hosted by the Economic Development Company of the town Goerlitz: EuropeanCity Goerlitz-Zgorzelec GmbH (EGZ). It addresses Poles who are living in the UK and are willing to return to mainland Europe after the Brexit. "Through the COVID-19-Crisis and the associated restrictions we had to suspend our communication in this context", says EGZ-Managing Director Andrea Behr. By now, the EGZ starts to re-establish the communication of the campaign. The aim is to show the advantages of the European City Görlitz/Zgorzelec: the aspects concerning the quality of life, the job opportunities and the special advantages living in the German-Polish-Area.
Is the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union really a genuine reason to centre life back to Poland, maybe even to move to the city at the Neisse? “Yes, definitely!” confirms Izabela Jucha. "I've spoken to many of my countrymen. The uncertainty about what will happen after the Brexit is very large", she describes. This is where the EGZ comes into play and informs about alternatives. "Our communication had a wide coverage and good interactions within the social networks so far. We are now launching further communication measures", says Andrea Behr, Managing Director of EGZ. „Of course, we know that a decision about changing one’s centre of life will not be taken spontaneously. Therefore, we do not hope for short-term effects, but actually run this campaign as a long-term project," she says.
For Izabela Jucha and her husband the choice of the new place of residence was not only influenced by Brexit driven issues. The years spent in Canada had an impact on the decision, too. "We wanted to give our daughter the chance and opportunity to regularly meet her grandparents and to stay in touch with them. They live here," says Izabela Jucha. Her daughter is 14 years old and now visits a school in Goerlitz. She learns German with great enthusiasm. Izabela Jucha also tries to learn the language. "I can already speak a few sentences." She also speaks fluent English and, of course, Polish. Additionally, the Canadian weather also strengthened the decision to move: "We had six months of winter, barely got out the house. Imagine that with a teenager!", Izabela Jucha smiles.
Anyway, the daughter doesn't want to return to Canada or England. "She is happy here," Izabela Jucha says. She visited Goerlitz/Zgorzelec about seven years ago. Compared to those days, she was surprised about how the city presents itself nowadays. “It developed pretty well," she says. The Polish woman is optimistic about finding a job soon. In her perception the city offers good job possibilities. Andrea Behr from the EGZ shares her opinion. "To enhance the growing of our wonderful city in a long term perspective, we need more inhabitants and qualified specialists – national and international," she. Izabela Jucha now lives in Zgorzelec with her family. Has she ever thought of moving to Goerlitz as well? – „Nope“ - right now there are other things to do. "But you better never say never… ".
Source: Sächsische Zeitung from 06.08.2020/Text: Matthias Klaus
Photo: Paul Glaser