Whilst we live in a time of cosmopolitanism where moving abroad and communication with loved ones at home is seemingly easier than ever before, one can never truly leave one’s nationality behind.

No group has realised this more in recent years than British nationals living in European countries, as although they might have been living outside the UK for decades they are now defined and subsequently limited by their nationality.

With many confused by government messaging concerning the situation of British nationals in Europe, there has been a sharp increase in the creation and activity within Facebook groups. These groups are often called ‘British in…’ or something similar, with each country within the EU having at least one group of this type. These groups allow members to share concerns, questions and common issues that have resulted from Brexit in a space that is easily accessible and not limited in how many can participate.

Facebook as a social media platform is unique in its ability to form controlled groups about a set issue and whilst is not without its flaws, is simple to operate and free to access. Anyone within the group can post and gain responses within minutes, unlike a more traditional method of correspondence such as an email or in a physical support group.

A common thread within such groups is finding British delicacies such as mince pies and prawn cocktail crisps as many new to the expat way of living may not realise what they won’t be able to find in local supermarkets. This desire is particularly acute around times of national holidays such as Christmas when those who are outside the UK for the first time are astounded by the lack of advent calendars for sale and have no idea what is appropriate to bring to the in-laws.

These groups have also proven a strong basis for governmental lobbying. One such group named ‘British in the Netherlands’ has recently successfully drawn attention to the fact that British nationals living in the Netherlands should not be getting their passports stamped at border crossings, even though it was reported in the group that it was commonplace. As a consequence of one of the moderators of the group’s efforts to alert the British Embassy of this, border officials have since been re-educated on the correct policy.

Thus, whilst these Facebook groups may appear inconsequential, they allow for British nationals to not only relate common issues, but create online communities that provide a wealth of knowledge to those whom often are isolated. These groups have become increasingly necessary over recent months due to the limitations on in-person events and will continue to provide a vital service to British communities all over the EU as British nationals attempt to figure out what their status will be in the coming years.