Saleem has been supported by our Refugee Integration Service to find his feet in Glasgow, and is now studying Cyber Security and Networks at university. This week marks the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Refugee Convention, so we asked him to write a blog about some of his experiences.
Hi Saleem! Tell us a bit about yourself
Hey, I am Saleem, 22 years old. I was born on Tula Island in the Bajuni Islands off the Coast of Somalia. I have been living in Glasgow since February 2018, before that I was in Harlow Essex England under Care of Essex. I am currently working part-time in retail and am a 3rd Year University student in Cyber Security and Networks at Glasgow Caledonian University. I love Computing and Technology in general. Therefore, I have been in Computing courses since I moved to Glasgow – at Glasgow Kelvin College, then West College of Scotland and finally at Glasgow Caledonian University.
How has lockdown been for you?
The lockdown was very hard especially when you live by yourself without family and you are not allowed to see friend from another house or area. I can define it as the biggest mountain of a challenge I have ever faced to climb – I had to learn online for the first time with my practical course, and to overcome the trending Covid-19 scary news where I heard loads of people lost their loved ones, and it was hard to differentiate what time to sleep and wake up. I managed to overcome it a bit during the second lockdown where I mostly kept myself busy by enrolling in 3 online courses while I was also doing my normal course. It made me feel alive again to have a busy timetable during the day and I kept myself away from social media for a while.
What are your hopes for the future?
My hope for the future is to see myself conquer every goal I have set before. I believe education is like a glass of the water in the desert where there is no source of water and you need that water to survive for your future, so you must protect it to survive or lose all including your life – what I mean is that I aim to use my time wisely at this age before it is too late, because I believe that youth is everything especially to conquer all the dreams and build the life you want to live in the future. So I hope to see myself working in a Technology Organization dealing with Cyber Issues and protecting communities against cyber criminals which is the biggest online crime in the world.
Tell us something that you’re really proud of and some of the challenges that you have overcome?
I received an award from Africa Future, in recognition of my high achievement in education. I learnt English quickly and I was promoted from Level 5 to Level 6 within 2 weeks in a Computing course that normally takes a year. And in February 2020 I was among a group of young people speaking at Scottish Parliament presenting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after a year of working on the project.
But in every good achievement there are challenges as well. The big challenge I have overcome is to learn that it is only me who can stop me achieving what I want to be, and I am proud that my advisor Tommy is always there with me since I arrived in Glasgow. Also, I have faced so many obstacles in education especially during my application and being told I can’t do it or I will fail because the course is hard and English is not my first language but through hard work I have achieved my goals.
I also faced so much abuse in the street, but I never react. I am always smiling. I am a person who sees the good in people not bad and I am aware that in every place in the world there are good people and bad people. But if you react to the bad people then you will give them a chance to do more than that. I also lost some friends because they didn’t believe in what I was doing since College but I never reacted because I was enjoying what I am doing.
I am sure that everybody has their own path, some find it easily and other find it hard. What I believe is that you can’t live someone else’s life but you can learn from them and make your own better. So this was only a brief summary of me but I hope some can learn from it and take it as an inspiration for their own goals. The most important thing is to never give up on your goals no matter how many challenges you are facing. You need to enjoy the challenges that are on the way to your goals.
Thank you to everyone in Scotland who has supported me on my journey.
Thanks for reading!
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This post was originally published on Scottish Refugee Council.