The Guardian newspaper has recently put out a call for migrants to send in stories of their experiences of immigration.
The call says: “There is much written – and discussed – in the UK about immigration and with an election this year the issue will be in even sharper focus. The voices of immigrants themselves, however, are very rarely heard. The Guardian would like to find out what it’s like for immigrants living in the UK, whether you’ve lived here for several decades or arrived only last week.”
Students in our class at Highview school wrote about their experiences:
Anonymous student stories (in no particular order)
I came to London in 2005. The reason is because to stay in my country was not safe. I come from Eritrea. When I came, I did not speak English but now it’s changed. I feel more confident. I have the right to stay here now so if people are racist to me in the street or on the bus I feel confident to speak back.
I have been in London for 12 years. I came to London because my husband was here and he came for holiday and we got married. I came to London in 2003. At that time I didn’t know anything. Life was very hard for me. I couldn’t speak English.
I came to London in 1994 because my country wasn’t safe. London is very different.
I came to London because my husband was here. I wasn’t safe in Eritrea because we don’t have democracy. My experience was difficult because when I came to the UK in 2009 I couldn’t speak or listen [to English]. Now I’m learning ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). English is more difficult!
I came to London in 2008. I need better work because in my country is difficult, [there is] unemployment. I came from Colombia. I have difficult [time] for not possible speak English better for communication with different people in England. I don’t like being a cleaner but is necessary because speak English not possible other working in English.
I came to London in May 2012. I live with my family. I come from Vietnam.
The first I come a little bit difficult for me. Even go to buy a cup of coffee not so easy. But when I go to the ESOL English class I feel much better. Now I know a lot.
I got to the library my local I learn more many thing.
In ESOL class I learning a lot, one day every week and so I have the good teacher and a lot local people come to learn and I learn a lot and they make me happy and feel all right now.
I came to London in 2012 from Colombia, because I need better work.
My experience? It’s difficult and new changes! The work not speak ingles one problem in this country! I like London, new experience.
I experienced in London working very hard, not sleeping normally. After, problems [with] the body, and back.
I have been in London for 8 years.
I am from China. I was a student when I came. I was study for English languages about half years and then because of Visa I have to study in University. But my English still not good enough to understand in University. Four months later I met my husband.
[Since I arrived] my life is totally change. I am a mum now. When I first came to London I felt lonely because of communication. Now I feel so confident to talk to other people.
I came to London in July 2014. I am from Brazil but before I lived in Spain. I came to London because Spain is not well now; don’t have jobs and I think the situation don’t will change in the next 5 years.
When I arrived, my first day I was excited, scared but very happy!
For me it’s difficult at the moment because I don’t understand the people very well. Listen is the most difficult for me and I don’t have opportunities to practise more.
I’d like to invite my daughter’s friends to my house but I have difficult speaking with the mothers. Is terrible!
Everybody tell me that I have to have patience because I just arrived, but the situation is very embarrassed for me.
I came to London in 2007 from Eritrea. The reason I come here, my husband is living in London and the life was hard for me without him because that time I have had two kids and I couldn’t look after them by myself. Everything was expensive, that’s why I came to London.
When I came first to London everything cheaper than now but for me English was very hard so life was a little bit complicated. Now is easier.
In 2007 the good thing was the [Further Education] college was free and the creche was free for now you have to pay for both of them not free.
I came to London in 2009 from North Poland. I came to London because my sister helped me look around for work. I start to work. Next step was to rent room and independent life. I working very hard to come to my family. Sometimes, helped me people with whom I worked. I not never had no [bad] experience with people.
I came to London in October 2014 from the Dominican Republic because my partner was pregnant, and she is working here, I came to be together whenever she gave birth.
It is very difficult, first because I arrived without knowing anything of the English language, I also left my job in my country and the only life I knew. This because my partner has a better job and better payment that my work in Dominican Republic.
In Dominican Republic, I had a long time working as a social worker and I have much experience and knowledge in this area, but here it is difficult that I can work as social worker, with the level of language that I have.
I arrived and knew of ESOL Class (English For Action) and thanks to this class in only three months I have a bit of English, not very well but I continue to learn slowly.
I only want to tell you, that nobody leaves their country, their families, thirty five years of their life so easily, in each immigrant there is a powerful reason to leave back their life and begin a new here; to find the opportunity that didn’t have in their country.