Sudanese Refugee Achieves Engineering Degree Against All Odds

A Sudanese former refugee who came to the UK knowing hardly any English is celebrating after gaining a first-class engineering degree against all odds.

Sami Hary, who this week attended his University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduation ceremony, was only 18 when he arrived in the UK after fleeing his home country to escape conflict.

The 25-year-old said: “I arrived as a stranger in 2015. I was far away from my family and knew very little English, so it was a struggle at first. I picked up the language quite quickly though and studied a level three science access course at Preston’s College, which then led to my studies at UCLan.

“I carried out extensive research into the University to make sure it was the right course for me. I was also given a lot of support, particularly during lockdown, and now have the skills and knowledge I need.”

Sami was inspired by his older sister Sara to study for a degree in oil and gas safety engineering.

“I have always had the interest in the field” he said. “My older sister is an engineer and I love the work she is involved in. I read a book called The Prize by Daniel Yeargin, which generated my interest in engineering, and I was also encouraged by my parents. Engineering really does matter in the practical world.”

I was also given a lot of support, particularly during lockdown, and now have the skills and knowledge I need.— UCLan engineering graduate Sami Hary

Dr Hamid Reza Nasriani, course leader for oil and gas engineering at UCLan, congratulated Sami. He said: “We’re so proud of the countless hours of study and hard work that he put into finishing his degree. Education is not like filling a pail but lighting a fire. It allows us to explore, discover and dream.”

Sami is now studying for a master’s degree in oil and gas engineering at UCLan and is looking forward to beginning his new career.

He added: “I want to thank all the people who have supported me these last few years. In particular, my parents and family back home in Sudan, my friends Amy and Lucy Vaughan who helped me to fill in my University application forms, and my UCLan student coach, Colette Davies, who I consider to be my family in the UK and was always there whenever I needed help or advice.

“I’m very happy with my achievements. Especially as I’ve worked hard to overcome many difficulties, including learning a new language and navigating a new education system.”

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