My parents encouraged me to go to university and I graduated in natural resources engineering at university in Iran. An event happened to me and so I had to flee the country and come to the UK. I went to London, Heathrow Airport, and after two or three days they sent me to Glasgow.
My first experience at the airport wasn’t good. I remember then I couldn’t speak a word and I didn’t know where I was. When I was in London, in the morning they sent me to Glasgow, arriving about 8 p.m. at night. I can’t remember the time exactly. We were sitting on a bus for about ten hours and didn’t get anything to eat.
They took me to the YMCA. We were hungry and they just gave us some money and said in the morning to go out shopping. You know, we survived, me and my friend. We kind of met each other on the bus and so became friends.
It took me about six months to settle in. In the YMCA I met someone from the British Red Cross. From the British Red Cross I went to Venture Scotland, doing some activities. It was good.
There were lots of problems in Glasgow and after one year I decided to move to London. At that time I got my ‘Status’ in 2008. I tried to stay in London but I couldn’t because there wasn’t any support. It was just a big, crazy city so I decided I had to come back to Glasgow. When I came back from London I had started working with the British Red Cross. I went on their journalist workshops and journalist short course, and after that I started working with New Voices.
My solicitor sent me to the Scottish Refugee Council and they introduced me to the Bridges Programmes. Bridges helped me to find some subjects at The Open University. During my study at college on ESOL and HNC/HND computing, I was doing some of their units such as Learning to change and Starting with maths. Bridges helped me with my finance, applying for SAAS. This year they helped me find a security job with G4S for the summer holidays.
I am still struggling financially. It is really difficult. Every year it changed. I would say for my education, finding a job, Bridges has been supportive. I can say every time I had problems and I needed some advice I just picked up the phone and asked Bridges.
When I went to college and was studying ESOL and HNC computing, college was really supportive, especially my lecturers. The HNC finished and then I started studying HND. I finished the HND and I started university last year. Scotland is a good place. Hopefully I will just finish my study and move to another city.