I’m Loujean, a Syrian refugee who came to the UK after the war in Syria in 2014. During my time in the UK I studied Media, Public Relations and Advertising at the University of Westminster in London, and I’m currently employed at a renowned public relations agency in London called Borkowski.
When I reflect on the word healing (the theme of this year’s Refugee Week), to me it means to be free, to be myself, to be strong and to be independent.
I’m proud of who I am and I’m proud to share my story. I think of it as one way to empower other refugees to not give up despite the difficulties and barriers they might face. Asking for help is a very powerful thing, and it’s great to have charities in the UK who are working hard to create opportunities for people of refugee background. I heard about Breaking Barriers from a friend who told me they could help me with university and job applications.
Breaking Barriers has supported me a lot on my journey, especially when applying for jobs, CV writing and preparing and practicing for job interviews. It’s worth mentioning Breaking Barriers introduced me to mentors in similar career fields, who gave me useful information and who were very helpful when it came to perusing my career. Thanks to the support I’ve been receiving, I hope to upskill myself, and eventually be promoted within my career and be a role model in the Media and PR world.
Adjusting to the cultural norms of a new country, as well as learning the local language isn’t easy. That’s why I would encourage employers to be patient with employees from refugee backgrounds, and give them the time and space to learn. Employers should also remember that refugees can bring a variety of skills to companies, one of which includes different perspectives and way of looking at things.
If anyone reading this is of a refugee background and feels like they are not getting anywhere, don’t give up! Keep chasing your dreams and remind yourself that one day you will be where you need to be.