My name is Habib Rezaie. I came to the UK from Afghanistan in 2006 at the age of 16, as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child. At age 12 I lost both of my parents and went through some harsh and horrifying experiences. Being raised without them was difficult and sad especially in a country like Afghanistan, where I could not seek support when I needed it. There was a night where I cried all night and there was nobody to even offer me a hug. After a terrible event, I had to flee to a safer country.
The things that I have experienced have helped me to become the person I am now. When I arrived in the UK, I had been granted temporary leave to remain here until I was 18. I applied again for asylum but it took 5 years before I was given further temporary leave to remain. During the 5 years I was very worried every day and having bad dreams at night about the Home Office deporting me back to a warzone.
In Afghanistan, I never had the opportunity to go to school. When I arrived in the UK I did not speak English and had to start my education from scratch. I could not write anything at all, even in my own language but I was passionate to learn and dreamt about going to university. I worked hard, long hours and gave up my social time to study. One day one of my close Afghan friends asked me ‘why do you study that hard?’ and I said ‘I’d like to go to university’. He just laughed and said ‘No you CAN’T, we don’t have the brains for it and even you, you cannot even spell the word “can”’.
This upset me but then it became the most powerful motivation speech that I ever heard because when they told me I couldn’t do it, this made me work even harder to prove them wrong and to show them that they were mistaken. I believed in myself and this was really important.
Now 10 years on I have achieved what I was dreaming of. I went to university, completed my degree in Computing For Business and now I am studying a masters course in Data Analytics. For me, university is a great environment with like-minded people from around the world. This has had a positive effect on my life. Education moves you forward with your life and the beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.
The word “can’t” will stop you, will slow you down, turn you away from your dream, and cause you to move backwards if you let it. But if you have the proper mind-set it can make you stronger when you overcome it.
I have learnt that some things don’t come easy and it will take time to achieve your dreams, but if you think positive then you can do it. Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Because you can!