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A second chance for Syrian refugee, Rasha

Having settled in Northern Ireland for 4 years after having left Syria, Rasha has been given an opportunity to study that she did not have before.  She is now currently studying a BSc in computing and IT.

Rasha explains how she got to this point;

“When I came to Belfast, I joined a Whatsapp group for Muslims.  One day I received a post telling me that The Open University offer a free Access module for refugees.  I asked some friends and they told me that this university has an online teaching system.  I decided to register as studying online will be perfect for me and my family.”

Rasha took part in the Community Partnerships Project, a widening access initiative that encourages people into higher education by offering Open University study in a local community setting. Studying an access module has enabled Rasha to then progress on to a full Computing and IT degree programme. 

“I decided to complete my study at The Open University as it is an amazing opportunity to study in this country and because I knew if I study at the university that will reflect positively not only on me but on my family and the whole community also.  Completing study was my dream for a long time but difficult circumstances obstructed me to do that.”

Rasha was able to apply to Student Finance NI to fund her studies which has been a major support to her and her family trying to start life in Northern Ireland.

“The most challenging element of study is the language, since I am Syrian, and my native language is Arabic.  I spent much time translating at the beginning of my studies.

Rasha’s goals for studying her degree are to find a good job when she finishes, to help her children in their studies and for them to be proud of their mother.

“Studying at the OU has boosted my confidence and I have discovered that I have determination to achieve my personal goals despite some obstacles such as trying to find time for studying and looking after my children at the same time.”

“I surely recommend anyone to embark on an OU course to go ahead and do not hesitate to take this step as it will be the first step in the way to success and achieving your goals.”

For media enquiries:

Contact Christine Murphy

Communications Officer
Tel 028 9053 6219