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Speaking My English

I'm from Ethiopia. Back home I studied pharmacy. When I first came to Oxford my hope was to continue my career. But things are difficult. I have to go through certain courses to be in a pharmacist team, like a one-year course. But for that you need money. I have two kids, five and seven, a boy and a girl. I have been here in Oxford for about two years. My husband is working here, so we are following him. He has been here almost eight years. I came here and I suppose I was struggling to navigate through the systems. Adapting to the new environment and the language was a big struggling, as sometimes I didn’t know where to look for things, or where to go. Those things are very challenging for me at the moment as a first timer. You need someone to feel like a friend.  


I used to worry too much like, what if someone didn't understand my way? What if they didn't understand me? So I prefer not to talk. I had that fear. Going out, doing stuff, moving things. I was applying for different kinds of jobs, and I didn’t get any acceptance. I was losing hope. Then after six months Covid came. We were isolated completely. I don't know no one because all my friends are back home and I have no time to socialise with anyone. And sometimes I don't know how to get help.  


Then finally this job with Oxford Hub came in. One day, through a parent, they made an announcement for a parent advocate. I had no idea what parent advocacy is. But I researched and found out it's supporting others. It’s like helping people’s lives. And I’m very passionate about helping others. I said to myself, why don't I apply for this? Before that I have no experience or any idea what a parent advocate is, but I just applied for it. That's how I got introduced to the Oxford Hub. As soon as I found Oxford Hub, I feel like I found a second family.  


From Oxford Hub I get support like Fellow English. That helps me develop my confidence in speaking English. I used to think my English is very weak, but after I went through the Fellow English starter course, I noticed that my English isn’t that bad. The only thing that I need is confidence to go out and challenge myself. So Fellow English really helps me. We have a group with three or four people, I go there and see how people talk. The teacher will give us a chance to speak. Seeing different people talking, that gave me the confidence to speak my English.   


Speaking the English language is very important to progress and to get other opportunities. Now I do a food bank with school, and we are currently organising English classes for other parents. On Wednesday, often I collect the foods from the Oxford Hub food bank. They will go to the school there. In the morning on the Thursday, after our drop offs, anyone can come. In six months or a year, I like to see myself like communicating with people, meeting new people, knowing other people. There might be someone who is maybe struggling like me who might need very little help, but that help will boost their everything. And after that they will be able to think: ‘I can do everything.’


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