English Language Learning

Tulay Cenik Akfirat

2018 Highly Commended Winner

Tulay moved to England from Turkey with her husband and young family. Without any English Tulay didn’t feel she belonged but was determined to be a good role model for her children.

A language teacher herself, Tulay has always worked and enjoyed an active social life. However, the new language barrier led her to lose her independence and rely on her husband for many everyday tasks.

Tulay looked for ESOL classes but was frequently turned away due to her immigration status. She then came across the WEA where she could take part in Big Lottery-funded New Links classes and learnt English through a variety of short courses.

Tulay was able to change her visa type so she could enrol on an ESOL course at Coventry College. She enhanced her learning by studying through a Refugee Centre and soon became confident enough to carry out all her work and family responsibilities without help.

Now, she teaches Turkish Language and Literature lessons online and works as a language advisor to OFQUAL and an examiner at the International Baccalaureate.

Tulay said “Now I stand on my own two feet as an independent woman. I am learning lots of new things about life and people – I do not feel alone anymore.”

Her nominator Luda said “Tulay has overcome her social isolation and has many new friends. Her overall wellbeing has improved and she is enjoying an active social life.”