Iranian refugees graduate from Newcastle University and land NHS job
Iranian refugee Erfan Bashiri, 29, on Friday December 10, graduated from Newcastle University with a master’s degree in computer science and has just landed a job with the NHS.
He arrived in the UK on Boxing Day 2018 full of confidence in his English and communication skills.
But Erfan said: “I think my English is so good until I get to UK and start talking with native speakers! Then I realized I didn’t know anything.
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“I could talk in the stores and try to point out what I needed, but for long conversations, or if someone randomly started talking to me on the street, I had no idea what was going on. was happening.
“Everything in life is more difficult when you don’t speak the general language of the country in which you live.
“I believe that language is the biggest obstacle to being part of a society or a culture.
“Everything is extremely difficult – going to a GP or finding out how the systems work, dealing with all of these things requires an understanding of the main language of the place. “
But Erfan then heard about Action Foundation from other refugees in the city who told him about Action Language and he started taking a course.
Action Foundation also referred him to a youth hostel in Jesmond where he lived before obtaining a private apartment.
Erfan remembers: “I had one of the greatest teachers at the Action Foundation and I didn’t even miss a session.
“We also had a good group of students and we made friends very quickly. Of course, I learned a lot about the English language, but what I benefited the most from was the care and the kindness. that I received. “
The course was led by Libby Selman, an Action Language volunteer, who gave her time for free to help refugees and asylum seekers learn the language of their new country. She said:
“I teach the advanced level 2 class, which Erfan was in, he was the first to go to college. After him we had another student who also got college offers. a nice place. “
In September 2019, nine months after arriving in the UK, Erfan was delighted to be granted refugee status and was legally allowed to work.
He got a sandwich-making job for Subway and also rode his bike as a Deliveroo and UberEats delivery boy.
A year ago, Action Foundation set up a new digital inclusion project, aimed at helping adult refugees and asylum seekers who do not have the right technology and who are at risk of social and economic exclusion, to access the Internet.
Erfan has become a volunteer digital inclusion trainer.
He said: “Although at that time I was so busy with my full-time studies at the university and working at the same time, I agreed to be part of the project because I knew the Action Foundation atmosphere and this opportunity was what I was looking for.
“I’m so happy now that I did this because it was such a great experience working in digital inclusion and I don’t think I would have this job now without doing it.
“I learned things like how to deal with people, how to explain IT things to people, what I’m doing right now with my new job. “
Erfan received the exciting news last month that he had passed his interview for an IT analyst position at the NHS.
He said: “Last year has been a difficult year for me given the situation caused by the pandemic. But I have started my new job with the NHS and my role is basically to take care of all the different software used by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust and its staff. It’s a challenge but I work in a great team and I love my new job.
“I’m so happy, really happy because not much over a year ago I was working as a delivery man and really wanted from the bottom of my heart to study at Newcastle United. It was a big wish that came true. It has changed my life and I am so happy and proud of myself.
This Christmas, the Action Foundation is organizing a Christmas Gift of Words campaign to raise funds. The money raised will go to the free community school Action Language, offering words to refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants in Tyne and Wear. To donate, go here: https://www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/giftofwords
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