I am completing my MA dissertation about the positive role of the Polish community in the UK.
Well... I'm, in general, happy. Although, to be honest, without explaining one's definition of happiness it's really hard to say anything. But yeah, I've got most of the things I wish to have, I'm still better off than most humanity ever was.
2. Since being in the UK have you experienced racism/stigma/hate crime because of your nationality?
Well... Once (and only once) I have been told (directly in face) that I came here to steal jobs and that Polish food is crap. It was strange, because it took place in so called "Polish Shop" o.O
3. Do you regularly meet, socialise or communicate with other Poles? Why or why not?
I work in a food factory, on some shifts Poles account for 50% of people there, so it would be almost impossible not to communicate/meet/socialize with them. After work, however, I hardly see much point. Most people my age are either married, or works 12 hours shifts so there is little time (not to mention that I am not a very sociable person ;)).
4. Do you regularly meet, socialise or communicate with non-Polish people? If so, what nationality are they? If not, why not?
Currently I live with a naturalized Ukrainian-born British citizen, a Bulgarian one and a (lovely) Scottish chick.
But as I've stated- I'm not really sociable person, I'm fine in my own company. However, to be honest, I sometimes do go out with workmates for a pint or two- than I don't care about their nationality.
5. Do you feel that you belong and are made welcome in this country?
Yes, usually- yes.
I sometimes feel a bit awkward when someone asks me "Are you going home for holidays?". WTF, if man chooses to live in a country for over a decade, it becomes his home. Also, some people (not too many) clearly have some problems with immigrants (truth to be said- some of those problems are valid, others are just whinging).
But yeah, I do consider Britain (or to be more specific: The North) to be my (new) home (that, altogether with higher-than-my-polish-workmates knowledge of local customs and history, and altogether with the fact that I've took the oath to the Queenie means that for many I'm not a "true Pole" anymore, some idiots even used term Volksdeutsche /Folkenglish ;)?/)
Have any of you gained or applied for British citizenship ? .
yes, I did. Couple of years ago.
I've passed test (really easy... and out-of-date /it wasn't updated with data from the last census yet/), filled all documents, provided HO with all data and information it needed (damn... I've even took detailed bank account history /with all transaction, going back over 6 years, on it/ got it stamped and dated by bank and I've sent it to HO), took the Oath and got papers. With me there was 4 people (two arabic-speaking guys, one gurkha and one indian woman).
If anything will go as I've planned, I'll apply to join TA soon (I wish to be a local pig in dpm, also known as RMP- but even normal infantryman would be fine)