Alexandrine Kantor

Senior Electrical Design Engineer at UK Atomic Energy Authority

Whereabouts are you from? I am a French citizen, living in the UK for about 6 years now. I lived in Ashford (Kent), Didcot and finally Oxford. My home town in France is Strasbourg where there are many European institutions such as the Parliament, Council of Europe, or the European Court of Human Rights.

I am currently in the process to get the UK citizenship to secure my future here, at home.

What made you come originally? I was looking for new opportunities and I was not satisfied with my life in France. I needed a change. At that time I had a boyfriend who had a work opportunity in the UK, so I followed, a bit in the dark. I looked for work and found an electrical engineering opportunity at the Culham Science Centre for Fusion Energy.

What is the thing you like most about the UK? I like the freedom to be whoever you want to be. 

What made you want to stay? I really like my work and I recently became a District Councillor. I am quite settled here, and I have an amazing partner who’s now seeking the Irish citizenship. 

What do you like about the Oxfordshire area? I enjoy the Oxfordshire’s countryside and its history with the Blenheim Palace. I am still impressed by Oxford’s universities and architecture.

How have things changed for you since Brexit? I felt heartbroken the morning after the referendum. I never really felt like a foreigner before but I certainly did after. It made me question if it was such a good idea to settle here after all, but then I was already settled and the thought of restarting from scratch elsewhere was overwhelming. So I stayed. But part of the charm that led me here back in 2013 is broken.

How do you see your future? I am not expecting much change to be honest, I hope to live permanently with my partner and obtain successfully my UK citizenship to remove some worries.

Apart from its decision to leave the EU (!), what is the strangest thing you have found about the British people or living in the UK? They used many French words in their vocabulary, but not in the correct way! And don’t dare trying to correct them! 🙂 They also don’t like to kiss cheeks like we do in France, but they are huggers! Which from my point of view is more intimate than the cheeks greetings.

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