Ali came to Australia from Afghanistan worried that his lack of understanding of the English language might prove to be an insurmountable hurdle. He found two answers, one set up to help people in his position and another that might come as a surprise.
After two years in the IEC at North Lake Ali moved into the Industrial Studies course. He graduated in 2018 and at the valedictory ceremony was awarded the VET certificate for outstanding application in his course. He is now working on a heavy vehicle servicing pre-apprenticeship course at Thornlie TAFE and, in his spare time, working as a tiler.
“For me there were a lot of good things about North Lake,” Ali said, “I improved my English, I made many friends from different countries and cultures. I learned about food and languages and everything. North Lake is the best school. Every teacher helped me a lot.”
Soon after arriving in his new country Ali became to become interested in Australian football. “I thought it was too difficult for me but I really wanted to be a footy player,” Ali said, “My brother said I should first improve my English before I tried a new sport.”
Australian footy was offered as part of the IEC option program and soon linked up with a program run by former AFL player Liam Anthony for the West Australian Football Commission. Ali was getting the chance to learn about the game he’d watched on TV.
“We played a game with Cyril Jackson. We lost but it was fun,” Ali said, “Later Liam told me if I wanted to play in a club he would help me and I thought ok, why not. I want to play. It’s the best choice.”
A group of North Lake students were introduced to the Fremantle CBC Football Club. “They said we could join and we have enjoyed it. The players helped me a lot and I understand footy.”
Work and study commitments might make it difficult for Ali to play footy this year but his two seasons with Fremantle CBC have a big impact on his life and his enjoyment of the game.
“I love footy. I can’t wait for each season to start and I watch every game,” he said.
“Another good thing, a surprising thing, is that footy has helped me with my English.”