Student describes Birmingham life after fleeing war in Syria


Marking Refugee Week, Birmingham student Nour Al Baarini has described the obstacles he faced when arriving in the UK and how his persistence to succeed helped him to excel at university.

Nour arrived in the UK in January 2016 since living in Jordan for four years after leaving war-torn Homs.

Nour and his family were selected to partake in the Government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), which set out to welcome 20,000 Syrian Refugees to over 100 local authorities in the UK by 2020.


Birmingham City University

“I’ll never forget the exact moment I entered my house here and I knew that I would face lots of challenges,” said Nour. “The first challenge I faced was the language. When I arrived, I wasn’t speaking English at all.”

Nour began learning English for up to 12 hours a day and within four months he was able to communicate with others.

With support from Refugee Action, Nour later enrolled on a computing course at Birmingham City University and went on to achieve a first-class degree.

“Studying in Syria is completely different, there are no facilities like there are here,” said Nour. “Almost 80 per cent of the study in Syria is theory. Here it’s mostly practical which is what a student needs to be ready to be able to join a company.”

Nour is now studying for a postgraduate degree in Big Data Analytics at Birmingham City University and hopes to pursue a PhD in the future.

“The plan is to start my PhD in September or in February,” explained Nour. “It’s amazing to meet new people who have had lots of experience in industries and people from different countries.

Refugee Week runs until 21 June and celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. Learn more at

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