Ali

?I don?t know what the future is going to hold. It could be I go back to Denmark and stay with my family and friends and everybody. But I feel more I belong here. You pay tax and everything, you live here, so you just think you belong in Birmingham.?

My name is Ali. I was born in Somalia but I grew up in Denmark. I was interested in networking and computing and at that time there were English courses, where they study networking in English and then I thought ok why not go to England and study there and improve my English.

I came here in 2001 and suddenly I found out I could go to university but my English was very poor at that time. I went to Brasshouse Language Centre for six months and then I went to Dudley College for Access Course to Computing. Just to know a little bit further how the education system in England is and also learning things.

When I finished in June 2001 I get an offer for Birmingham University Central England. I settled that way in Birmingham. I didn?t bother to move around somewhere else, I thought I?d find a job here and stay here and I got married here too, so I stay here for that reason.

My Mom and Dad and friends are still in Denmark. I do go over there and travel normally. My friends sometimes come here to visit me and I go there back to Denmark. I have connections there. I remember when I came I was thinking finish University, go back as soon as possible but suddenly it?s like nearly 10 years.

I have this connection with the students I spent a while studying with, so different countries and different nations. I lived in student accommodation.

When I married I was in the flat in Aston with two children. Overcrowded, too small, damp. I tried to paint every couple of months and change things but it doesn?t help because the ventilation system is designed for one or two people but now there are four people living there. Now I have a tenancy with Moseley & District. It?s brilliant. It?s much better. They are friendly and you can talk to them.

At the moment I am working part-time, I used to work full-time but because of credit crunch hours and things keep changing. Then I found out Moseley and District needed a board member and they explained to me what you do and then I said, ?okay why not, try new things.? I thought maybe I can learn something new.

I want to get to understand how they run the housing association and how they make the decisions. I am keen on understanding the financial area because I had a business education. I also want to contribute because I am a tenant. They told me about training and I am quite interested in how you can influence the decision makers.

I don?t know what the future is going to hold. It could be I go back to Denmark and stay with my family and friends and everybody. But I feel more I belong here. You pay tax and everything, you live here, so you just think you belong in Birmingham.

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