Immigrating to a new country can present life-changing opportunities and of course some challenges. For twenty-five year old Zamara Mumtez this was certainly the case. Embarking on a new life in Scotland, Zamara and her husband both from Pakistan faced some barriers when it came to communication and language.

“It was big change for us both; everything in Scotland is very different; the culture, the way of life, the language and of course the weather.

“I could speak some English however my listening skills weren’t great, especially with the Scottish accent and the pace that everyone speaks – it’s very fast.”

Looking to create a better life, Zamara knew that to gain employment she would need to improve on her communication skills leading to her studying Upper Intermediate and Higher ESOL at West College Scotland.

“This is a long term move for me and my husband so it’s important for us to put down some roots, gain employment and hopefully create a better life for ourselves and our family.

“My husband’s friend was studying at the College and recommended the course to me. The first year was difficult – being new here I wasn’t familiar with the education system and way of learning. It’s very different to Pakistan. The learning environment here in my opinion is much better as you do a lot more practical work, in Pakistan it’s all studying from books and assessments.  

“I enjoyed working in groups on event organisation the most. It allowed me to get to know others and make friends. The support from the staff was very helpful.”

Having successfully completed Higher ESOL and with a degree in Food Security from Pakistan Zamara is now going on to study at honours level at the University of Glasgow.

“Completing the Higher ESOL course is what has allowed me to go to University. I’ve had a fantastic couple of years at the College and I hope my time at University will be the same.

Life in Scotland is much easier now that I can communicate with confidence and I’m looking forward to our future here.