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07 February 2024

ESOL students raise money for UNICEF by sharing cultures at International Day event

Edinburgh College’s ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) Young Learners held an International Day event last month to share their cultures with those at the College, whilst also raising money for their chosen class charity, UNICEF.

Organised by the Sighthill based Young Learner group, who are all aged 16-20, the event saw the class of 23 use posters to teach their fellow students about different aspects of their countries at Sighthill, Granton and Milton Road Campuses, with each campus having a different theme, so that the students could build confidence in speaking English.

Sighthill Campus’ theme was ‘festivals in our countries’, Granton’s theme was ‘food in our countries’ and Milton Road’s was ‘interesting facts and places to visit in our countries.’

As part of sharing this knowledge, the students also brought in homemade food for those in attendance to try, and encouraged people to donate to UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), which they raised over £300 for on the day. 

Class representative for the Young Learner Access to College course, Naba Sapkota, said: “I was excited about this event a lot because we got to share our festival and culture, how we celebrate in our country. Sometimes people don’t know anything about our festival and culture so I was so happy to tell them.

"We were wearing our traditional dress and people wanted to try it and I gave them my extra saris to wear. They tried it and we took lots of pictures, I was so happy. One of my favourite parts doing the event was talking with people and sharing each idea about our country. I’ve even become more talkative and more confident after this event. Now I can talk with people without being nervous."

To arrange the event, the group who are from countries including Sudan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Vietnam and Ukraine, enlisted the help of around 60 Level 4 ESOL students from across the College, enabling them to make further connections with others in Edinburgh.

It was also an opportunity for the students to embrace their developing digital skills as they each digitally produced the posters and other display materials that were on show at each campus.

Carol Butters, Curriculum Team Manager for College-Based ESOL, said: “They can’t believe that they’ve done it, that’s the great thing. They can’t believe that they’ve shown other people things about their country and they feel so proud of themselves.

“Lots of them dressed in their national dress, lots of them brought food. It’s so important for them to share food, it’s such an important part of their different cultures. They had music on, there was Syrian dancing at Milton Road. It was a really colourful and engaging event and everybody who walked past really enjoyed it.

“A big thank you to all the lecturers and students involved in the success of this day.”

Designed to give ESOL students a positive experience sharing their cultures and speaking to people in English, the International Day event is a staple in the ESOL course calendar.

It was a new opportunity for me and great to get to know other people’s cultures and show our culture. I was nervous to do it at first but when we started the event I was more relaxed and much more comfortable.
Hassan Sayedahmed, class representative for the Young Learner Access to College course