Smiling strangers 

I arrived in the UK in October 2011. I came to the UK to join my parents in Edinburgh, and to look for a better future. Before this, I had never been to the UK and it was the first time I had travelled by a plane. 

At first, I was so excited to see a different country and so many beautiful places. I had heard that Edinburgh was a historical place and there were many places to visit, such as the gardens, the zoo, the hills and the castle. When I came, I saw lots of different people with different backgrounds and cultures, but, despite their differences, they could communicate with each other in one language: English. I also saw lots of greenery and natural beauty, which was really calming. When I arrived at my home, I found that houses in the UK were smaller than our houses in Pakistan. 

A brand new life spread out in front of me, and this affected me deeply. When I went outside I found I became deaf and dumb. I couldn't speak or understand what other people were saying to me. It was a very strange time. With the improvement of my English, I gradually made contact with people. I found people to be very friendly, and, when I walked down the road, I was often met by strangers smiling at me or saying, “Hello”. This was unusual to me and different to what I had experienced in my country. 

Now, I am more self-confident than before. I have learned not only how to speak English, but also how to behave. The most important thing living in the UK has taught me is how to see this colourful world without limitation - a vision full of equality, freedom and love. 

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  • How does your story of moving to the UK compare to Madiha’s?
  • Did you have similar feelings and experiences, or was your story very different?
  • Did you, like Madiha, find people in the UK to be friendly?
  • What advice would you give to someone who has just moved to the UK? You could post your responses below.
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I found, like Madiha, the people in the UK very friendly.

They helped me to speak english in common situations, they spoke slower than they normaly do and asked many times if I understood what they have said, they also pointed me at words I pronounced wrong.

The people I spoke with are busdrivers, hotelowners, shopkeepers, people on their way to their jobs wich I asked the way to.......