My name is Eiman Behbehani and I have been volunteering with Breaking Barriers since November 2022 as an English/Arabic translator/interpreter. I myself first came to the UK in 2019 to study my Masters degree in Linguistics at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. However, I have spoken both English and Arabic from a young age, as it is encouraged in my home country, Kuwait.
My long-term future goals are to work as either a translator or teaching English as a second language. Having said that, when I first came to England, I found it very difficult to settle in the country and often felt quite isolated not knowing anyone. This was my main reason for wanting to work with Breaking Barriers and helping the Arab refugees who they support, as I know how much of a culture shock the UK can be, even more so to those who often have little to no English speaking, reading or writing skills.
I would recommend volunteering at Breaking Barriers to anyone as it is incredibly rewarding. Sometimes it is difficult to feel that you are making a difference in the world, but Breaking Barriers certainly do their part. My own personal highlight sounds silly, but one client we were working with thanked me and requested that I be the interpreter for all future meetings. Whilst I knew I could offer help to the organisation, I didn’t anticipate that I would receive such gratitude from the refugees themselves, and this makes it all the more special.
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