First thing, I was in Damascus. In Damascus, there was war and the control system began. For me, it was very dangerous to stay there because the army would have taken me, so after the system began, we had a decision to stay or flee. So I decided to flee because to stay, I would have to be a part of the sides that are fighting and I didn’t want that.
They brought about 100 buses, took about 5,000 people who wanted to flee. We went to Idlib, and then I left Syria for Turkey. I decided I was not going to return. I originally thought I would stay in Turkey and not go to Europe. When we got to Idlib, we began searching for smugglers. First, they asked for $1,000, then $2,000, then $3,000, and we finally found one for $350.
Of course, the journey itself was very dangerous. I stayed in Turkey for 6 months, but there was no hope to stay for long. You can’t study there, have papers, work, and there aren’t any laws that guarantee safety.
I left to Greece, stayed there one year and 4 months. I met a lot of different people there. I didn’t even know where in Europe I wanted to move to. I thought about work first and foremost, my friends told me there was easy work in Spain. I found something good. Two of my Syrian friends I met on the journey from Turkey to Greece came with me to Spain. We came to Spain, and I stayed in Madrid for 6 months. As a coincidence, I met Didac, and he told me about the new program they are starting in Barcelona. He told me that I am more than welcome to join them here if i am interested. So I came, and now I am trying to look for a way to continue my studies.
No one gave me any crucial advice along the way, I had to make all the important decisions on my own. My friends in Greece did help me, but I would say that whoever wants to immigrate to Europe has to be able to handle the responsibility. They need to come here and learn new languages. It’s hard when you only speak Arabic and nothing else, but you have to learn and study, be responsible for yourself. If you’re not responsible and don’t take care of yourself, you will be lost. Even the Europeans who don’t take care of themselves and are not proactive are lost in their own country.
For me, the most important thing here is my studies. Studies and really becoming immersed in your environment. Know everyone around you, the people, the town, the city. I certainly changed a lot.
The hardest thing for me has certainly been the language because when I arrived in Greece, I could not communicate with anyone. But I have solved this. When I decided I wanted to learn English, I started studying a lot. I started speaking English within three months. I started in December and by May, I could communicate with people.
Of course, if anyone says that they want to learn or study, you can’t just go sit at home, and the studies won’t just come to you. You have to go seek it yourself. Everyday in Greece, I would go and walk at 9 in the morning and come back 9 at night 4 times the week. I won’t say my English is amazing, but I can say that I can speak and communicate. This is the most important thing.
Now, I’m focused on finding any way of continuing my studies to better my future. For instance, looking for a university. I actually studied computer repairs, but I wasn’t able to continue and get my diploma.
In Spain, people are very kind, open, and welcoming to refugees. People really love to help and to me they are very respectable.