Cook This is James Jarrett. Son Feminist Academic Student Brother Economist Migrant
The Case of James Jarrett I grew up on a farm in Florida, in the southern United States. There I had loads of family close by - about eighty members of my extended family lived within a mile of the farm! It was good, I had instant friends in all my cousins, and things were secure, my family were always there to support each other. We weren’t rich but everyone looked after everyone Life in the U.S. Photos here
The Case of James Jarrett I went to a school twenty miles away, in the same town as my parent’s business, so I’d be given a lift by them every day until I could drive myself. School was a bit like school for everyone - some good bits and some bad. Life in the U.S. I lived in a poor area - people don’t really know what’s out there outside of their community, and it meant that very few people ever left. I was different, I did want to leave - there weren’t the opportunities for me in my home area.
Luckily I had supportive family and friends, who enabled me to leave. I spent holidays in Boston - a thousand miles north of my home town. It was amazing, it inspired me to work even harder at school, and it opened my eyes to all the opportunities life can offer. When I was just 15, for example, I got to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra live in the mountains of Massachusetts - I played the violin myself and had never seen an orchestra like this live before. It made me want to experience more, and ultimately leave home in Florida.
So it was that, after working really hard at school, I went to college in Massachusetts, where I studied economics. My time at Wheaton College was pretty awesome, it really widened my horizons and gave me scope to go even further afield. I was together with students from all over the US, with massively varying interests, studying anything from astronomy to queer studies. The mix stimulated my thinking into researching the economics of HIV/Aids in Uganda, Africa. So the first time I went abroad was for two months doing field work in Rakai district, rural Uganda.
This led me to want to further study at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, which specialised in development studies.
The Case of James Jarrett The Push/The Pull Photos here
The Case of The Reaction The course I was on was really international - people came from all over the world, so being a ‘foreigner’ wasn’t unique to me. We were all in the same boat. Being American had no real consequence… other than me being able to discuss world politics - something everyone wanted to talk about, especially after 9/11.
The week after September 11th, after being delayed a week because of what had happened, I flew from Tampa, Florida, to London Gatwick.
I arrived at 8am, in the middle of the rush hour, at Victoria station, London. The circle line was out, and I had to go around the houses to get to where I needed, with all my luggage. Luckily I met a girl who was also off to UEA at the station, who taught me the ropes and how to get there.
I travelled by train, excited by the prospect of seeing my new University, meeting new people and beginning a new chapter. When I got there I was exhausted, and happy with pretty decent halls of residence. I had arrived.
The Journey The Case of James Jarrett
As a student at the beginning I shared a flat with nine other international students. I worked hard but had a good social life around the university and in Norwich. I met my partner Geoff while at university, and after going to Malawi after finishing my studies, he was the reason I returned to the UK to work at UEA.
Since 2003 I have worked as a researcher at the university - I work on the economics of heath and health care - making sure the NHS is good value for people. I moved to London in 2008 because the capital had more to offer me. I continue to work had in my job in order to support the things I love - going out, cinema, live music and seeing friends. You can usually find me on the South Bank at places like the Royal Festival Hall enjoying some culture - and I like using new media to connect with friends.
The Case of The Lifestyle
Until this year I have been living in the UK on student or work visas. This was expensive. My university would pay for my work visa, but I had to pay for my ‘leave to remain’ - the only way as a foreign employee I could stay in the country legally. This was about £360 every time I had a new work contract.
The Case of The Resolution?
When I first arrived the law said I only needed to wait for 3 years before I could live independently without the university’s backing. But every time I thought I qualified to get ‘indefinite leave to remain’ as the government calls it, they extended the amount of time a person needed to have been here by a year. It meant I had to wait for 5 years before I could live here independently.
The Case of The Resolution? When I’ve got the money I will probably get dual citizenship (I’ve already qualified for this because I’ve been working here for more than five years in a row). I want to do this because I’ve made both my professional and my personal life here. I like it here, and it’s become home. In October 2009 I took the ‘Life in the UK’ test as part of my application. I was asked a range of questions, from employment law to history - I’m not even sure many of my British friends would have passed! I did pass, and £860 later I secured an ‘indefinite leave to remain’ visa.