GHASSAN ABOU EL OLA
2006 / 12 / 7
If you have reached UK very recently and you still haven’t settled down and don’t exactly know what to do and where to start, don’t worry-every new experience would be a little confusing at first. However, here are a few tips which would help you in your first steps:
1- Though you have just reached the UK and it’s a totally new world for you, you will have heard and read much about the liberal acceptance of this society and how friendly it is. I would suggest, however, that you do not go wandering about on the streets after 11pm .
2- . Make sure you have enough English to communicate. It doesn’t need to be perfect grammar; after all, look at MY English, and I am writing an article with it. I assume though, that if reading this article your English is good enough – unless it is being read to you by a friend.
3- On your arrival in the UK, make sure you have got enough spare money for at least three months supply of beer. That would be 3 pounds a day for 4 cans of beers if you stick to LYNX type, i.e. 5 US dollars, or 2472 of your liras.Drink at home and do not, I repeat, do NOT attempt to drink at pubs. If you must, make sure you know how to react in cases such as spilling some ones beer over his head and know that your reaction should not depend on how many beers you or your victim have already had !
4- Three months is the period in which you would surely get a job. If you haven’t got one by the end of this period, you are in deep trouble and you had better start panicking.
5- The easiest way to search for a job, (note I did not say FIND one) is to go to the site named: http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk where you can check a huge number of advertised jobs. Apply to each and every each one of them - who knows what may happen.
6- A few weeks later you will start receiving interviews appointments for the jobs you applied for. DO NOT feel at ease yet .This is just another stage in the process and these appointments don’t mean - as you might have thought – that you are close to getting a job. Companies here are obliged to adhere to the equal opportunity laws, and you probably will be filling the compulsory minority space on those interviews .Usually, the best gets the job advertised, and you are not that
7- Before starting filling applications forms for jobs, make sure you belong to a particular ethnic category and a definite colour of skin group as most companies in the UK put much importance on these factors. If you are Middle Eastern, for example, it is advisable to check the box where it says “other”, in the race field .Check “other” also on colour field .NO, you are not white !
8- As well as the fields of race and colour options in these applications forms, there will usually be an option of “I prefer not to say”. DO NOT click that option, especially if your name is something like Chassan , Rajeef , or Abo .
9- In most interviews, you will be asked many strange questions, mostly personal ones. (Try not to get too involved with the resources managers – who are usually beautiful females – and when the interviewer asks you at the end of the interview if you have any questions, don’t ask “Are you married?”)
10- Finding a job in the UK is a very long procedure and you really need to be patient. Meanwhile, be aware in your daily life not to attempt to speak English in “proper” queens English, because you would sound strange to others while trying to do that. (Of course you will always sound funny speaking English in that stupid accent of yours.)
11- If you happen to bump into a white drunken man at a bus stop after 11.pm and he starts telling you that he is not a racist man and even one of his daughters is married to an Indian, make sure u thank him. You might also some times come across people saying that they are not racists and that they just hate Kosovans amongst all immigrants. Try NOT to be a Kosovan yourself.
12- When witnessing an assault or any other criminal activity, or if you yourself are a victim of such crime, concentrate on memorizing what kind and colour of clothing the assailant was wearing, rather than trying to focus on facial features as it will be easier to describe them this way later, to the police when they arrive .It is a fact that all English people look similar.
13- If you are still here by next 6th of May, remember, Tony Blair’s birthday is NOT a national day, so don’t go spreading his photos on the inner and outer walls of your house with sentences stating: we shall lay down our souls, we shall spill our blood for the defense of our inspired leader! Things here are much different from back home - however you may practice some of your talent in loyalty, by displaying the England flag and rejoicing in the streets on the return of the England football team from its latest game (winners or losers).
I hope these tips have been useful and helpful towards your settlement into your new life in the UK as they have been for me. I have been paid for them.