Blog: Lara, Higher ESOL Student

Our ESOL student, Lara, moved to Scotland after the war started in Syria. Now she runs her own ethical fashion business and tells us how the course has improved her communication skills and helped to grow her brand.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Lara Alsayed and I am a mature student studying Higher ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) at Moray College UHI. I moved to Scotland in 2014 after the war started in Syria, leaving everything behind except the knowledge I gained through my life career as a garment technologist and a lecturer in textile technology. I am now self-employed and run my own Elgin-based ethical fashion business, Mini Footprint.

Why did you decide to study at Moray College UHI?

Not only is the college located in very short distance to where I am living but the course is only one day a week and takes place in the evening so it was the best option for me as I am still able to work during the day.

What do you like best about your course?

I have had the opportunity to improve my communication skills and meet many friends of different nationalities. The teacher was also very friendly and helpful, and the learning materials enriches the curriculum and covers a wide range of subjects.

How has the course prepared you for employment?

I found myself able to write blogs for my online shop in English and I managed to make a good friendship with another student who helped me in modelling my designs for photoshoots. I am now also more confident with my language when pitching for my own business.

What are your future plans once you finish your course?

I hope that through better communication with my customers I can expand my business into a bigger size.

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying at Moray College UHI?

Don’t miss the opportunity if you can. The course is very good and the teacher is brilliant. The skills you are going to add to your skill set are very valuable.

What do you enjoy doing outside of college and work?

For me, Scotland is one of the prettiest places in the world, and perfect for walking, cycling and meditating which I enjoy doing in my spare time. I do read a lot in English to improve my language skills and this gave me the opportunity to understand more about the British culture. Scotland is a very beautiful place to live, people are very friendly and I enjoy living in Moray.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Although I had already written books on garment technology, I have also written a book based on personal life experiences of turmoil I witnessed in my mother land. The ESOL course that I attended at Moray College UHI encouraged me to translate this work into English, which I have recently started to do.

What is your favourite food or meal?

In general I cook Syrian food in my house which is part of the Mediterranean diet and one of my favourite dishes consists of Bulger and Vegetables cooked in Olive oil, perfect and delicious for vegans. As for Scottish food, the quality of fish here is exceptional… I have developed a weakness for fish and chips.

What is the best advice you ever received, and who was it from?

One of my biggest influences and who gave me lots of advice throughout my life was my mum.

From my husband: “Don’t rush into judgment, and don’t take life for granted”

And my favourite quote is “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do” from Potter Stewart.

If you are interested in improving your English language skills then our ESOL courses will help you achieve your goals in study, work or everyday life. You can study a range of levels during the daytime or evening. Find out more and apply.