In partnership with North Ayrshire Council, Glasgow School of English have been delighted to welcome a number of Syrian refugees recently.
Sadly, it is no news that Syria has had a terrible time through the ongoing war that has devastated their country which began almost six years ago. A lot of people would like to leave, but relatively few have been able to do so.
Over the past year, Scotland welcomed more than 1,200 Syrian refuges since the first flight arrived in November, 2015, according to the Scottish government.
Providing English classes for refugees and immigrants are extremely important to enhance opportunities of living, working and integrating in to new communities.
Two of the refugee students studying in Glasgow, Safwat and Ahmad, were prepared to talk briefly about their experiences of living Scotland and learning at the English School.
Safwat is from Homs and Ahmad from Aleppo. They both live in North Ayrshire now; Ahmad with his mother and Safwat with his mother and brother.
Although these young men are not yet fluent in English, they have made good progress and are improving every day.
When asked if they had studied English at school in Syria, Ahmad said he had, but Safwat had not.
However, they both said that learning to speak English is not too difficult, but writing it is very difficult as they are used to using Arabic characters, not the English letters.
The school has made an impression on the two students who are happy to be studying the language in Glasgow, “It’s very good,” said Ahmad, “and the teachers are very helpful.”
It has been a big change for both young men who say that the buildings in the city are very different from the ones they were used to in their home cities in Syria.
And expectedly, Safwat and Ahmad had to adjust to the Scottish weather when they first arrived. Although many people in Scotland may think that Syria’s climate is very hot, the two said it’s actually quite cold in the winter, but not as wet as it is here in Glasgow.
The differences in the food in Scotland and Syria haven’t daunted the two students, who both confessed their love for fish and chips. But they haven’t tried haggis – the Scottish national dish – yet!
Like most young men over the world, they are keen on football. Though they don’t share the same support for the national teams, as Safwat supports Real Madrid and Ahmad, Barcelona, they both agree that when it comes to Scotland, Celtic is the team for them!
We wish all the new students the best of luck with their studies at the Glasgow School of English.
In the picture, they are, from left to right: Abdulsalam Idlebi, Ahmad Al Turkmani, Safwat Idlebi, Andrew Lennox (the School’s President), Thanaa Aldiri, Lida Al Shaar.