London is full of international students who run away from their countries for a better future. Like it says in the new Nike advert, ‘nothing beats a Londoner’, so of course we all want to be one.

When I tell someone I am an international student, they say “oh, that is so cool”. However, “cool” does not necessarily mean easy. Living alone and being far from your family means dealing with real life problems and getting used to the fact that people do not care about you. Some Londoners care so little for you that they will even steal your stuff.

Especially when you live alone, one thing you must consider first is your safety. My home has five CCTV cameras in front of it, so when I moved there I thought I was safe in the ‘city of CCTV’, which is what some people call London. But I found out the hard way that CCTV is useless if you are not allowed to look at what’s recorded.

You see, since I moved to London I have been the victim of robbery – twice. This means I hate thieves but I also know they are Londoners, and like it says in the advert, ‘nothing beats a Londoner’. This is an open letter to the people who stole my stuff, because I am trying to work out how you could do this to me…and still not be the bogeymen of my nightmares.

Dear Thieves,

On a Sunday afternoon, you decided to steal from my home. I’m a normal girl like you, or your sister, your daughter maybe. A girl who is in your country struggling to study and work. Yes, I do work. That is how I earn money. The old-style way.

My flatmates and I, contacted the housing company straight away to ask for the footage. They were reluctant to give footage to the police for unknown reason, but in the end they did. However, after months of waiting, the police told us they gave to them the film from the wrong date. Also, it was too late to get hold of the right stuff.

Thanks to our neighbours, we found out your name and address. You are just in your early teens and you were “playing” with your friends in the yard on that day. It is so weird how “playing” can turn into something serious

We reported it to the police and you admitted it to them. We waited around three months to hear from the police that you sold our stuff, but you were not able to give the money or our stuff back. That is it.

Will you grow up thinking that stealing is right and nothing will happen to you? That’s a strange idea of justice.

Just a few months after that, you stole from us again, this time during the night.

We had to ask the housing company for the footage again. They did not want to release it and they were not even able to explain why. The police station contacted them to say it was our right to see it, but they just ignored them. Then they stopped answering our calls.

All my neighbours in my building were upset just like me. We decided to email the housing company all together because we expect to feel safe at least at our own home.

I do not blame you. I do forgive you. I blame your family for not being able to transmit values like humility, respect and honesty.

I have had things stolen and you haven’t. But you know….In the end I am who I am and you are who you are. Thank you for teaching me more than you think.

With love,

Giusy Guerra