Refugee wins Learn English award after just three years in UK

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An Iraqi refugee who fled his country won an English language learning award just three years after arriving in the UK.

Hasan Jasim arrived in the UK in 2018 without English, having fled Iraq five years earlier. After devoting himself to learning English, he has now been able to find a job, get his driver’s license and feel like part of the community.

In Iraq, Hasan was a nurse, and one day he dreams of resuming this career.

His commitment to learning English has meant that in just three years he has gone from not speaking English to winning a national award – a crucial stepping stone towards his goal.

But work was not Hasan’s only motivation for learning English.

Since starting language lessons with The Adult Learning & Skills Service at North Yorkshire County Council in Colburn, Hasan can now read his children’s textbooks and help them with homework and talk to neighbors and friends about family.

He has left behind the isolation he felt when he arrived and has regained a newfound confidence and sense of belonging and feels better able to support his family.

During times of lockdown, Hasan has studied hard for his next round of exams while also enjoying learning online with his classmates, which brings him one step closer to the job he enjoys.

Organized by the Learning and Work Institute and supported by the Department of Education, the Festival of Learning is an annual campaign that aims to both celebrate the power of learning to transform lives and encourage more adults to participate. Hasan won the English Language Learning Award.

Hasan, winner of the Learning English Award, said:

“When I first came to UK I didn’t understand anything around me and wanted to learn English because it’s important for me to be able to communicate. I was a nurse and my dream is to go to university and pass my exams so that I can practice this profession again. The confinement was tough. It’s harder to talk to people and improve my English, but I used the extra time to study for more exams and I can see myself progressing. ”

His teacher Catherine Monaghan said: “Hasan’s commitment to studies has been unwavering. I am sure he will take on a new role of mentor and advocate for the value of learning English to integrate into a new country and culture. ”


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