When I first came to Australia I had to start my life again from zero, starting with the English alphabet.
I was born in the Middle East. I came to Australia around three years ago. I am now 20 years old. Since arriving I have been studying and working to achieve my goals and prove to myself that I’m capable of doing what I thought was impossible.
I think that migrants’ hardships lead them to lose hope in education and finding a job. The education and employment systems in Australia should give more chances to young people to study and work. I took these photos because I liked the compositions, and also because every image has a special link to my experience in Australia.
This picture shows some wooden steps and in the background a person looking out to sea from a big wooden window. This person has broken some of the barriers they faced and is enjoying the success that they have accomplished so far. They are looking out to see what the future holds for them.
When I first came to Australia I had to start my life again from zero, starting with the English alphabet. This photo symbolises how much I have accomplished in the past three years, both with my school work and my ability to communicate. I have also built higher dreams to accomplish in the future.
In order to achieve anything you should face yourself, understand your weaknesses and strengths, and never be influenced by others. When I arrived in Australia I enrolled in a language centre. The principal asked me about my dreams and when I said I wanted to be a lawyer, the interpreter said, ‘Even Australian born people can’t do it. How are you going to do it?’
After I finished studying at the language centre I went to high school, and I did some work experience with a lawyer. After experiencing what a lawyer does, I felt it was too much for me and changed my mind. However, my plans are still related to law. I was influenced by my abilities, not by the interpreter’s words.
This photo shows a red-leaved plant surrounded by many green-leaved plants that are growing in the same area. This symbolises monachopsis, meaning ‘the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, maladapted to one’s surroundings’. I always feel like this. When I say things, no one understands me. I’m still trying to fit in but I can’t, even though I am living in the same place as others.
My teachers for subjects other than English treat me like a mainstream student. Some of them say that I write too generally, or don’t use the specific scientific words. This is hard. They should treat the EAL (English as an Additional Language) students a bit differently so they can understand the scientific words.
This photo shows wooden slats blocking one’s view of the sea. It symbolises my fear and isolation, and my uncertainty about my future. This is how some young people may feel on their pathway when they arrive in Australia and know that they are different.
I felt fear when I first arrived because I wasn’t sure of my future or if I would be able to break the barriers I faced to be a successful person, such the language barrier.
This represents the long journey a person has to take to achieve their dreams. One of my teachers said that getting a bachelor’s degree isn’t going to help me to get the job that I want. Every young person is in this situation. They say that I will require a postgraduate qualification, and if I don’t have one, I won’t get accepted. I want to work in forensic science. I now assume that I will need a postgraduate qualification to do this.
The cars here symbolise each of the steps that you need to take to get to get the job you want.