Monday, July 03, 2006

Morale booster

I do a bit of work as an ESOL examiner. That is, as someone who assesses immigrants on their level of English as a Second or Other Language (I don't invent these acronyms). I can't tell you what a boost to the morale it is to listen to these people.

To hear someone from Iran or Kosovo or Sudan or even Italy talk about how easy it is to find work here, how easy it is to get things done, how free they feel (this one many times, the latest today from an Iranian woman) makes you feel just a little proud. It's even better when a bloke who can hardly string together a completely correct sentence says that his ambition is to go to university to become an engineer and he really seems to believe he can do it. Such a belief is founded on what he has experienced so far and the acquaintance of others who have done it. That someone can feel like this, can have so much hope, says a lot for the welcome he has met.

Lots of Poles and other Eastern Europeans, and in some ways they're the best. Educated, intelligent, sharp and energetic, people who have had no outlet for it all have found one and are going to make use of it. I remember one fellow working in a warehouse talking about his daughter, how coming here was the only move that would give her a future, and how he'd just signed a contract to get broadband and that this was merely one step on the way. It's a sort of frontier spirit and it's very impressive to witness. They're prepared to slog. We will benefit from it, and so will they.

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