On Saturday 7th March I was given a wonderful opportunity to interview a Brunel business graduate in the heart of London.  

During the interview, we spoke about the struggles she faced whilst bringing her children up after their move to England. Fatima is a mother of three - two boys and one girl- she first moved to England in 2010 so that her husband could pursue the line of work he wanted.  In her first year of living in England, Fatima spoke to me about how much she struggled to keep her children happy as they were severely knocked down in their confidence due to them being unable to speak English and struggling to make friends. Fatima explained that due to the lack of knowledge they had in the English language they spent the majority of their free time trying to catch up with the rest of their year. She said that with the academic struggles they also faced cultural struggles in school, she said that lots of other children asked many questions about their Arabic culture, how different it was to the cultures they are used too. She said that the sizes of the families were the ones that shocked them the most which made her kids feel so disconnected from the others around them and they were so different. Further, the fact that the kids only were allowed to eat a certain diet brought a lot of questions from others who didn't understand why this has come about. However, these struggles improved slowly over time but, even with the improvements Fatima said that she could still see that her children aren't fully back to their normal happy selves, they lacked confidence that would take years to rebuild.

School struggles weren't the only thing Fatima said that affected her children's upbringing but also the cultural struggles she faced. As her kids grew and made friends more sleepover invites came along the way as well  and she said that in her upbringing she never witnessed such a thing as sleepover with friends-only family- so this made her decline all the invites upsetting her kids as they didn't understand why they were so different to other kids that they couldn't do such a normal thing. What they didn't realise she said was that this wasn't their culture or how they were brought up so she couldn't allow it. She said a lot of family drama came with that and she said that her kids found it especially difficult to explain to their friends why they weren't allowed to spend the night. As well as that Fatima spoke about how the social life is completely different in England than in Saudi. She said that back home she would regularly see her family and the kids would regularly visit both there mums side and dads side on the weekends, but in england people seemed to be much more distant from family compared to the Arabic culture. She said that in England the norm is to hang out with friends during weekends but what she was used to is friends during holidays and family on weekends. She said this feeling of disconnectedness from family that came over her family made it very hard to maintain that family aspect in their lives as they were now so used to not seeing cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents. Further, Fatima spoke out about how in Saudi she lived a very relaxed life with her children where they had drivers and maids to help with the house work and taking care of the kids. She said that the move here made her kids learn how to clean and find there own way to school instead of being dropped off and picked up. She did say that however due to not having a maid she struggled to ever find time to go out for herself and enjoy her early 30s.

Fatima concluded her experience by saying that "moving to England was the best thing for my children." I once again thank Fatima for allowing me to interview her and thank her for opening my eyes to how I'm privileged to get the chance to experience two cultures growing up. It's truly wonderful.

Reem Ababtain.