Abdulai, an adult learner on a path to success

Abdulai, adult learner
Published: 18 April 2023
Filed under: Jobs, training and skills

When I moved to London in June 2018, I couldn’t speak English at all. I really struggled. Different language, different culture, different weather. It was quite lonely. I’d apply for jobs, then when they called me, I couldn’t communicate back with them.

I grew up in Portugal but my home nation is Guinea-Bissau. One day I want to go back and support my country, maybe as a diplomat. But if I want to work in the African Union I need to speak English. So I thought I’d come here!

When I got here my goal was to get to university, but first I needed to learn the language and find a job. In 2019 I found the Adult Learning Centre, and I spent two years studying hard to gain my ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualifications. The process was so amazing and rewarding, and all the classes had such interesting programmes.

Adult Learning Service

I studied really hard and never gave up. In every piece of work I was asked to do, I went beyond. I felt so motivated to achieve my goals, and I went from pre-entry to Level 2 in two years, which my teachers said should have taken twice as long. I was given a special certification of achievement for quick learning!

In the course, I met so many people from different cultures and backgrounds: types of people I’d never met before. We’d talk about our cultures and celebrate our differences, like: what’s it like in Bangladesh? Or Guinea-Bissau? I’m still friends with my old classmates.

Once I’d learned English I got a job at Westfield Stratford helping customers, and I’m constantly encouraging all my colleagues to do as I did: go to an adult learning centre, learn a language, get skills, because it’s the only way forward.

Now I’m a student at the University of West Scotland’s London campus, doing an International Business degree, writing at academic level. I’m looking for work somewhere like Citizens Advice Bureau where I can really help people. Next step is to do an MA and then a PhD.

But it started with my Adult Learning Centre course. Without the course, the teachers, I couldn’t be here today saying these words.

Abdulai studied English for Speakers of Other Languages with Waltham Forest Council's Adult Learning Service, from pre-entry to Level 2. He was awarded a certification of achievement in 2022 for his uniquely quick progress.