Photo sourced from ITV Border.
Scotland’s colleges have been instrumental in helping Ukrainian refugees build their home away from home, and learning the English language is a vital first step to them integrating within the community.
Ukrainian student Elzara Batalova is studying National 2 English on the ESOL course, run by Borders College, and it’s been a life-changing experience for the singer and tv presenter, following her move to Scotland last year.
Studying English gave her the confidence to appear on national tv and radio to talk about how the invasion of her home country had a negative impact on her showbiz career, with her losing the ability to sing and perform.
Coming to Scotland was a daunting prospect at first, but she soon settled in, gaining employment at Peebles Hydro and building positive relationships within the community. This allowed her confidence to heal, and her singing voice soon returned.
She is now discovering new ways to make her voice heard for the benefit of fellow Ukrainians, and is preparing for a concert to mark the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh later this month.
Talking about her experience at Borders College, Elzara commented:
“I want to thank Borders College for the amazing educational English courses for Ukrainians. Thanks to these courses and our teacher Tosca Oldfield, we can integrate into society, understand others, and feel safe. My English has become much better. Thanks to Tosca and Borders College.”
Borders College, in partnership with Scottish Borders Community and Development, offers English classes for adults living in the Scottish Borders for whom English is not the first language. These classes provide people with essential language skills to help them communicate with those in the community.