''New Scot'' from Poland

Image provided by Visit Inverness Loch Ness

I am Polish; and I am a New Scot. I will never leave the Highlands. This is my place.

I arrived in the Highlands in 2006, two years after Poland had joined the European Union. It was supposed to be just a short summer break, but I stayed for good. The highland landscape, culture and people made me build my home and life here. Today, is the fourteenth anniversary of my arrival in the Highlands. I am celebrating this event; it is my success and achievement to build my home in this fascinating region. Inverness reminds me of Nysa, my hometown in Poland. I think they are twin cities! They both boast impressive rivers. River Ness is my beloved place in Inverness for walking and relaxing in every season.

My main challenge on arrival was a language barrier. I didn't speak, read, or write English. Inability to communicate with local people made me feel lonely, isolated, and excluded. I spent years learning on my own, in Adult Learning ESOL classes and in everyday life. Now, I can communicate with the local community and my Scottish neighbours. I feel more integrated.

At the beginning of my life in the Highlands, when I felt lonely and isolated due to the language barrier, I used to seek comfort in close contact with nature. Since then, Scottish nature and wildlife have become important and precious elements of my life.

Now, I am settled in Inverness and I have Settled Status (in other words, Indefinite Leave to Remain). Scotland is my adopted country; Inverness and the Highlands are my adopted home!

I have a new, dual, identity: I am Polish; and I am a New Scot. I will never leave the Highlands. This is my place.

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