Syrian Students are learning English in a new home in Scotland

We all know that Syria has had a terrible time in the last few years. A lot of people would like to leave, but relatively few have been able to do so.

In partnership with North Ayrshire Council, Glasgow School of English has been delighted to welcome a number of Syrian refugees recently. In the picture below, they are, from left to right:

Abdulsalam Idlebi, Ahmad Al Turkmani, Safwat Idlebi, Andrew Lennox (the School’s President), Thanaa Aldiri, Lida Al Shaar.


Two of them, Safwat and Ahmad were prepared to meet and talk briefly about their experiences of Scotland and the School.

Although these young men are not (yet!) fluent in English, they have made good progress and are improving every day.

Safwat is from Homs and Ahmad from Aleppo. They both live in North Ayrshire now; Ahmad with his mother and Safwat with his mother and brother.

When asked if they had studied English at school in Syria, Ahmad said he had, but Safwat had not.

They both said that learning to speak English is not too difficult, but writing it is very difficult as they are used to using Arabic characters, not the English letters.

They are both happy to be studying at Glasgow School. “It’s very good,” said Ahmad, “and the teachers are very helpful.”

Both young men said they found the people in Glasgow very friendly, although they said that the buildings in the city are very different from the ones they were used to in their home cities in Syria. We then talked about the differences in the food in Scotland and Syria and they both agreed they love our fish and chips. They haven’t tried haggis – the Scottish national dish – yet!

Not surprisingly, they found the weather in Scotland different too. However, although most people here in Scotland might think that Syria is very hot, they said that it’s actually quite cold in the winter, but not as wet as it is here.

Finally, like most young men the world over, they are keen on football. This was where they had their only disagreement. Safwat supports Real Madrid but Ahmad prefers Barcelona. However, when it comes to Scotland, they have both decided that Celtic is the team for them!