Hello, My name is Ammar. I’m 21 years old. I’m currently studying Computer and Data Science at University College Dublin. I’m originally from Cairo, Egypt, but I lived in Kuwait until I was 16 years old. I moved to Ireland in October 2016. So I have been in Ireland for almost five years now.
Although in those five years I faced a lot of challenges, I can confidently say they have been the best five years of my life. You might be shocked by these words, but what I have seen and experienced has forced me to rearrange most of my previous thoughts and fears.
Feeling nervous before moving to Ireland
Before I moved to Ireland I was a bit nervous and worried. Obviously, the language barrier was my biggest fear. I didn’t know any English before I got here, except for the basics. I knew I had to learn English as fast as possible if I wanted to get into a good University and a good course.
I did my leaving cert in Letterkenny, County Donegal. I just don’t know how to describe how helpful the teachers were. They took care of me since day one. The amount of support I got was incredible. I used to get extra English classes every week. I was treated in a special and different way than everybody else. They didn’t pressure me at all. They provided me with everything needed to improve and progress. I just always found them there for help.
Positive experience in school
I also found the students and my classmates very friendly. They made me feel welcome. They understood my situation and they would excuse me if I didn’t understand them or if I wasn’t able to communicate. They also used to help me in my college work and to get my homework done.
Obviously, not all of the students were like that. Some of them weren’t as friendly, but overall I felt as if I was one of them and I didn’t face any racism or bullying during my school experience. With God’s help and with my parents and my teachers’ support I was able to do very well in my leaving cert. I got 490 points which is very high given my circumstances.
Ready for college life
After that, I was completely ready for my college experience. I got into UCD and I moved to Dublin. University life is just amazing. I have met a lot of people and I have made a lot of new friends. I enjoyed the college facilities and events. And from those college events, I used to meet new people and make new friends from different colleges all around Dublin, not just from UCD.
I’m currently in my third year, enjoying my course and my college life. I’m feeling relieved and I’m working part-time and setting up my future plans. I’m having an amazing experience in Ireland and I’m loving it!
Hopefully, the upcoming days are even better. Now I feel like I was born and raised here in Ireland. It feels like home.
This is part of the Fresh Éire collection of lived experience pieces from young people about living in Ireland, while experiencing racism and navigating identity and belonging.
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