In December 2016, Syrian teenager Karim arrived with his family in Hertfordshire. He could speak very little English, but he was welcomed into his new community by members of HWSF and the Refugee Council. Now, Karim is headed to the University of Birmingham having earned an A* in Physics and an A in Maths and Chemistry.
Karim has shown impressive determination in his pursuit of an education. He took his first job in the UK about a month after arriving. “I was trying to surround myself with people who spoke English so I could speak it myself,” he said. “I worked hard on the ESOL course so I could acquire a good enough level of English to do A levels in the next academic year and not do ESOL for another year.”
He faced significant challenges and set-backs, but managed to maintain good study habits throughout. He explained, “Young Syrians have so much talent and they never cease to prove it, however, sometimes it is easy to lose faith. I think people need to keep focused on their goals and have faith and patience as the process might take a long time.”
Karim told us that he’d decided to study Nuclear Engineering because of its potential to be “colossally beneficial to humanity” as non-renewable resources become scarce. He credits his secondary school physics teacher for drawing his attention to the subject. “He kept telling us about how we can produce enormous amounts of energy from mere nucleons that even exist in water,” Karim said. “I started reading articles about it and about its potential which really appealed to me and made me want to be a part of it.”
After graduating with his degree, Karim hopes to either pursue a PhD in Nuclear Fusion or to work in the nuclear industry. We wish him all the best as he begins his university career!