New beginnings: Hannah’s story

Published by: Johann Taljaard

Published on: 9 Jan, 2020

Follow the inspiring journey of a young migrant girl as she shares the story and gives advice on navigating the complexities of building a new life in the UK, overcoming hurdles in securing accommodation, work, and making social connections in an unfamiliar environment.

Our theme for the month is new beginnings and here Hannah tells us about her experience of starting her life in the UK.    Hannah’s response reflects some of what we learnt in our research, ‘Moving Matters’, the main difficulties migrants experience in starting life in the UK are in finding accommodation, employment and developing social networks.  She gives some good advice here about the importance of connecting with your community but also being open.

How did you find it when you first came to the UK?

I came into the UK from Nigeria as a student who had to resume college the following day on arrival. I was cold (it was in February) and nervous as the transport system was not like back home. No one spoke to each other on the bus and the conductor never called out the stops…I was so worried I would miss my stop to college. The next few months were a learning curve for me.

What would you like to have known before you got here?

How cold the weather would be when I landed but more importantly, how to make good/genuine friendships. In addition to this, how to access information such as getting a part time job, what your visa allows or doesn’t allow, how to build documentation for opening a bank account and how to acquire affordable accommodation in good areas.

What advice would you give to anyone that want to come to the UK to work/live/ study or are already here but are quite new to the UK?

Find your community but be open to others as well.  Be yourself, own yourself and your heritage.

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