At home in Shrubhill: Amr’s story

16 September 2020

Amr has just moved into our newly opened Shrubhill development and has written an excellent blog about his story and experience of living in Leith.

Photo of Amr.

I’m a Syrian guy and I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Damascus, the capital of Syria. I was living in my parents’ house until I moved to Cairo to find a better place to study and to be safe from the war in Syria. I moved there by myself when I was 16 years old to start a new life.

I finished my high school and I started studying in the law college at Cairo University. When I was studying, I was also working full time in a retail job in visual merchandising. I was then relocated to the UK from Egypt through a vulnerable person relocation scheme facilitated by UNHRC, due to concerns about my safety as a Syrian refugee in Egypt. Unfortunately, ‏I didn’t graduate from university because I had to find a safer place to live in and to be able to express my feelings openly.

When I arrived in Scotland, my English was not strong enough to be able to go to university so I had to go to English classes to improve my level. Now, after living in Scotland for 2 years, I am able to start my new course, UAL Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design – Fashion and Textiles. I’m really looking forward to it as it’s one of my dreams to start studying a subject I’m interested in. I’ve also just started working part-time as a waiter in a restaurant.

My first impression of my new home at Shrubhill? Well I’m going to tell you a nice story. One day, I was with a friend at Calton Hill enjoying the view and I was looking around. I had seen the Shrubhill Walk building – it was at night so the light was on and I thought what a beautiful place to live in but I never thought for one minute that I would be lucky enough to live there one day. I went to Places Gym before I moved to my flat so it felt like home already, even before I moved there.

Leith is one of my favourite areas in Edinburgh. It has many good shops and restaurants and it’s a really convenient location. It has strong cultural diversity which makes it feel like home. My favourite place in Leith is Leith Links – it’s beautiful place to walk around and to chill there.

It was hard to move alone and start building up a new place on my own but I’m glad I had friends to support me and help me out with many things.

I just wanted to say that I never felt at home anywhere since I left my home in Syria but now, after 8 years of moving from place to place, I feel safe and secure. I now feel I can focus on my life and my studies.

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