A REFUGEE from Syria who settled in the area after fleeing the civil war has told how learning English has been vital as he settled into North Ayrshire.

Soultan worked as a maths teacher before being forced to flee Syria eventually finding himself in North Ayrshire with his family as part of the resettlement programme.

During Refugee Week 2020, Soultan spoke to members of North Ayrshire’s ESOL [English for Speakers of Other Languages] team about his experiences since settling in the area.

Soultan said: “I’ve been here in North Ayrshire in Scotland for around three years. It’s good I have a safe life here in North Ayrshire, I have good friends and I have good neighbours and I’m working as well with a company. It’s good here, except the weather. I don’t know how to say but it is changeable weather.

“Challenges have been the language, when you come to other countries the language and other culture, you have to challenge yourself to learn the language and speak to people.

“You can’t make mistakes about their culture if you know their culture and you can get friends and a good life with the people especially your neighbours, teachers and if you work with your colleagues.

“When I arrived in Scotland I was shocked because of the slang and the Scottish accent. They speak more quick and different to England or an American accent. They can’t get a good life without English they cannot get a good life without friends in their new country.

“When the refugees came to Scotland, they don’t come to take your opportunities for work or stealing your money or something like that but they came because of the war and with their children to get a safe life and start a new life from the very beginning.

“When I left my last life I started from the very beginning here, step, step, step from the zeroes and ones to get safe life with my children.

“A good life for everybody would be where there is no wars, no refugees because of the war, that would be nice in the future.”