This week (17th-23rd), is Refugee Week, which aims to provide a platform for those seeking sanctuary to be able to share their experiences as well as their creative work, with the vision for them to live safely within inclusive communities and strive for them to become embedded to make their own contributions.  

This year’s theme revolves around ‘Our Home’, and what this means for the individual, so we are inviting all during Refugee Week to celebrate what home means to them. 

We’ve spoken to some of our current students as well as tutors to find out what our College of Sanctuary means to them. 

Yuliia, attends our Stockton Riverside campus part-time to study Entry Level 2 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), and is hoping to one day break into the market to continue her economics career. When Yuliia first arrived in the UK, she was working in an office, however found the language barrier an issue to pursue her dream career. Through the support of Stockton Riverside College, Yuliia has been able to learn English, whilst also studying maths qualifications. 

Yuliia told us: “The college environment is fun, and I enjoy feeling young again. The support they have given me through times of hardship with my family has been so helpful, so I can focus on developing my skills. My teacher has been great, and she is guiding us to become better every day.” 

Youssef has been studying at Stockton Riverside College for the past few years. He was recommended to study ESOL with Stockton Riverside College from a peer and hasn’t looked back since. “I enjoy the fact that I can relate to my peers so much,” he said. “We experience the same struggles, and have the same motivations, it helps me to see myself achieving my dreams in the future.” Youssef expressed how he hopes to move into a career in interpretation, to be able to help others like himself in the future.  

Khatereh is one of our accounting tutors working at the college part-time, who started her journey into her career as a student with us. Khatereh began her journey with Stockton Riverside College studying ESOL, after a positive visit to enquire at the College. Although she already had a degree in the accounting field, there was a struggle to continue with her career path due to language barriers and a difference in UK ways of working. 

With the support of the College, Khatereh was able to study a variety of short courses to boost her prospects, as well as studying ESOL part-time alongside her masters, once she’d reached a level of proficiency. “My tutors helped me every step of the way, and now I am proud to be able to come back and work alongside them, to help other people that are in the position I was. As a refugee, it can initially be difficult to find the right thing for you, but my experience has inspired me to now help other people to find employment and get onto apprenticeships.” Khatereh expressed her keenness to go further in her career in the College, hoping to gain more confidence in the teaching field, to help others to develop their professional skills for interview, and inspire others to know their future has no limits. 

We are proud of every student that works hard to achieve their dreams and will endeavour to support each and every student as best we can.  

Stockton Riverside College will also be in attendance at the Refugee Week Celebration Event taking place Saturday 22nd June, at ARC in Stockton. We hope to see you there, to celebrate the wonderful contributions refugees have made to our local area. More information on this event is available at: Refugee Week Celebration 2024: Our Home - Events in Tees Valley (teesvalley-ca.gov.uk) 

Image (1) Khatereh Youssef
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