“When you have to learn in a new country and you can’t go back home because of war, you have to feel safe to continue your life. This wasn’t easy for me but when I came to CANDI it was the start of the change of my view from pessimistic to optimistic.”
The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing conflict that has displaced some 6.7 million refugees outside of the country’s borders since 2011. An estimated 500,000 have died as a result of the war. Nasrin left Syria in 2017 with the aim of rekindling a career in journalism, taking the first step to integrate fully into her new community by enrolling on a college course.
The writer is perhaps best known for her work as a presenter on Kuwaiti television, and for her reviews and literature critiques in Arab newspapers”
“I am a Syrian writer. I write newspaper articles and have written four books. Three of them are short stories and one is a book of poetry. When I came here, I had to work on my skills in English because I had to start all over again with a different language. If I want to do the same thing I used to do – with my mother language – I have to have strong basics, a strong floor to stand on. That’s why I am studying here.
“I like London. They never judge you. They never judge my clothes. They never judge my mentality. This city is a real cosmopolitan city that accepts people no matter who they are, where they come from. They just want you to do your job as a part of society. I’ve learnt a lot.
“I was surprised to learn that people have been living in London for as long as ten years and they don’t speak any English words because they’re still stuck in their native communities. If you want a career, if you want to make new friends and grow with the city, the language is the first step. Read the newspaper. Talk to people. Study.
“Language is the beginning of communication, of real exchange between people. Now, I have the ability to offer my Arabic to people who can offer me English. We can transfer and grow our understandings of the world.”
Nasrin studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning in Finsbury Park. The centre specialises in adult learning with a focus on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Literacy & Numeracy, IT and Teacher Training. With a clear goal in mind, Nasrin states her interest in keeping her academic career going upon the completion of her English GCSE at the centre.
“I started with a functional skills course and was advised to study English Literature GCSE to develop my creative writing skills in English. I have an amazing teacher. The CANDI environment is very comfortable. Teachers are well-qualified and give lessons with their whole heart.
“When I pass my GCSE exam, I hope that I can continue classes of English language at Candi because it’s helped me so much. I will go to volunteer in organisations also because I want to give back to the country who said, ‘you’re scared, you have war in your country. Come here and be safe’.”