This project involves working in conjunction with The Welcoming, an Edinburgh based charity which helps newcomers to Edinburgh feel at home and contribute to life in Scotland.
It challenges the normative Scottish stereotype by looking at the identity of refugees and immigrants who now call Scotland home and it questions what a different life and identity means to these New Scots.
Marc from Brazil
Marc is a big, friendly giant from Sao Paulo, Brazil and he can run office buildings. For two decades he led the maintenance team at the city’s 24-storey Banco do Brazil building. “I had to fix lighting, flooring, anything that was broken.” He came to Edinburgh to learn English.
John from Colombia
John taught art back in Bogota. He’d like to do the same now he and his Danish wife live in Scotland. As soon, that is, as he gets his English up to scratch at weekly classes at the Welcoming. The 32-year old Colombian is an illustrator who thinks big and likes the idea of giant wall murals or the colour-charged works of art you can find under bridges along some Edinburgh walkways.
Lily from China
This is Lily who came to Scotland from Chengdu, China in 2015 to see her daughter through school in Edinburgh. She likes it here and plans to get stuck into voluntary work “Maybe I can care for old people. I want to listen to their stories, talk to them and help make life easier for them,” she says.
Nahed from Sudan
Research pharmacologist with an eye on management training, that’s Nahed’s plan for her life in Scotland. Future employers might think her name means a problem with English, she says. Just try talking to this determined 29-year old Sudanese and listen to an excellent command of the language. And she has a backup: Nahed is a martial arts enthusiast.
Alex from New Zealand
Alex hails from New Zealand and has made new friends through The Welcoming’s befriending programme. You may see him out with Abubker from Sudan or Ayad from Syria. We’ve learnt about each other’s countries, shared music, tried each other’s food and generally had a blast hanging out,” he says. “As one of around 10,000 foreign nationals calling Edinburgh home each year, I am excited to be considered a NewScot.”
Angelike from Poland
Angelike made a snap decision to leave Poland and move to Edinburgh. She’s so happy she can buy some Polish food here, especially as she loves preparing big hearty soups for the kids she works with. She loves everything about working with kids and believes it was her destiny. Lucky for the multicultural kids in the Edinburgh nursery where she works. She’s struck by the warmth of people in Edinburgh: ” WOW, it’s easy to make friends here” she says.
Muhamed from Syria
When discussing what in Scotland reminded him of home Muhamed said "The Welcoming is like Syria because in Syria if we ask anybody to help, they come. And here, I see that. I see that in Scotland. They like to help."
Glynis from France
When Glynis came to Scotland from France recently she braced herself for cold and damp. And even if the weather wasn’t like Avignon, the warmth of her reception here made all the difference. “We were looking for a flat and people would stop in the street and offer to help,” she says. She has found her life fairly close to The Welcoming where he has started an intermediate level course in English.
Emanuele from Italy
Meet Emanuele from near Pisa. You might see him cycling with a square box on his back making deliveries. This 22-year old came north from Italy to find work and now combines his delivery work part time with finding out more about Edinburgh with his friends. “People here are friendly, more open,” he says. “They help each other.”
Estrella from Mexico
Estrella de la Torre, translated Star of the Tower, from Mexico arrived in Edinburgh with her husband and 10-year-old son. Her son fell in love with the Beano magazine and eagerly awaits the new edition each week. Estrella keeps active attending a women’s fitness boot camp, jogging in her local park and joining the Welcoming’s Cycling for Newcomers trips “When you exercise together you share a lot of feelings.”
Veronica from Spain
Veronica is one of triplet sisters from Benidorm, Spain who all moved to the UK to find work. To gain qualifications she took a day-release course in Nursery care at Edinburgh College and now looks after 20 pre-school children at a city nursery. “You really learn from the kids,” Veronica says.
Rouzalin from Syria
"I miss my home in Syria. Edinburgh castle reminds me of the old buildings in Syria, and the mountains and snow remind me of Lebanon. The homes in Edinburgh are lovely. I look forward to the day I can afford to live in a house like I used to with my parents."
With a desire to want to make a lasting contribution in her new home, Rouzalin shares, “My dream for the future is to get my career back in architecture either by continuing to teach at university level or having my own practice. Also, since a child I’ve been dreaming of doing some acting.”
Vilo from The Canary Islands
When talking about Scots and the English language Vilo shared “It is a very pretty language (English). It is a happy language. I think it is difficult also!”
Petr from the Czech Republic
“I was stunned by the 7 hills of Edinburgh. I had climbed them all within my first two weeks here. I love the castles. I’ve visited 6 look out towers in Scotland. My favourite is Calton Hill. These towers are quite similar to look out towers in my home country"
Jana From Germany
Jana brings an active interest in music to Scotland from her home in Germany. She is learning the cello (Handel is a favourite) and plays along with the mum she works for as an au pair. “My idea was to take a year to learn English and then maybe do some voluntary work. The people here are so kind.” You can often find Jana at the The Welcoming’s weekly Conversation Café.