Endless Possibilities For a New Immigrant

Over two decades ago, as a newcomer in Sweden, I was trying to register for a Swedish language class.

I could appreciate how learning the native language would give me the key for many things.

In order to start somewhere, I had to attend a neighborhood community college that was suggested to me.

In the day for visiting that college, I finally walked into this the reception area of the college that was offering a number of programs including Swedish courses.

I was unsure of what to expect. Perhaps, the only thing I was not expecting was to get what I wanted.

In my mind, I was searching for sentences (in broken English and Swedish) to make a conversation. Since finding a job as a newcomer seemed to be impossible, I was told that learning the language was my best option.

Having left a home country, where barriers were a big buzz word for anything, now my first encounters with this new society was becoming a life learning experience.

However, that day I was thrilled to learn about the fine line between hopes and wants. Hoping without wanting would be meaningless for sure. Now it was time for put my hopes into action.

After saying a quick “hi”, I guess I mumbled something that sounded like a request. I heard myself saying something about “Courses.”

The lady behind the desk asked, “What courses would you like to register in?” With broken Swedish I replied again: “Language.”

With my few words, she realized that I most probably needed to learn the Swedish Language.

Quickly, she moved to grab a couple of papers and asked me nicely to fill up those forms.

She showed me kindly how to fill up those simple forms and the only thing she requested was my ID card.

I was shocked and stunned because first of all, I did not expect this quick way of getting what I wanted. How come she did not say no you have to wait for this and that paper? How come she did not say you need to bring in extra supporting documents? It was like I was asking for one kilogram of fruit and I was getting it.

Somehow, I was waiting for a mountain of barriers that needed to be pushed away first in order to just get into this college.

I guess, I was not really used to be listened to. After filling up the forms, the lady did some paperwork to say, okay what days are good for you to attend class. Again, I was really surprised. I was being confronted with many choices that I was not really aware of. After choosing the right schedule, then she quickly told me that I was in.

After a short while, this lady confirmed the details and asked me another breathtaking question.

She asked if I liked to register for other programs. “What? Could I attend other programs?'”

Attending university was a big dream of mine back home.

Now that I was here and being asked for what else, I could not let go of not wanting more.

This question made me doubtful yet hopeful, that I could really succeed in this country.

With a shy and hesitant voice, I finally said: “yes.”

I was thinking I might as well take the chances that was being given to me now, just in case the world was going to change next day and all the options would then be gone.

I inquired about English courses since I had English as a second language during my entire school years. I was thinking knowing Swedish is good, however I liked to update my English, as I liked to keep up my language skills.

Then, I moved on to ask for some other programs I was thinking of. At some point, I came to realize that I had to start learning Swedish first since I was planning to attend a university program.

Again the lady asked about the days and hours for the English courses I was interested of.

After understanding that the possibilities were endless, at least in that time and place, then I was courageous to ask about art classes and some other programs that was directed to help you in the labor market.

For none of my requests, I heard any negativity or ambiguities. I guess that lady realized I was really interested of learning, while at that point I could not be clear in my mind about how I was going to attend all those courses at once. She went on encouraging me, while she at that point asked me about my education background in Tehran. I made some gesture to say how sorry I was that I only had a high school diploma.

This lady quickly responded: Be proud of yourself, some ministers in our country do not have any high school Diploma, so do not underestimate yourself.” Soon, I came to gather my thoughts and think of how fast I was going now. I had to prevent myself from committing too much, while the joy over all the positive possibilities was overwhelming. Now looking back, I realize how much of this first contact gave me hope for everything that I wanted in my new life. Life became good as I learned that possibilities are endless, even for a newcomer.

Note: This article was originally published in EzienArticles May 14th, 2010 by this author.

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