Naz's Story

Peace that starts within us

I was only 20 or 21 when I arrived here in Australia. It’s only been four years, but I feel like I have grown up so much in that time.

When we were in Iran, my mother would talk on the phone to my aunt and cousins who had come to Australia 10 or 15 years ago. When they talked about Australia they would say, “You don’t know what words like freedom or justice or equality mean, until you can see this country”. So I had that first impression of Australia. Those beautiful words were dancing in front of my eyes.

While I was in detention, I was trying to figure out the real truth about Australia because you have no idea what is going on outside. You have no idea what outside even looks like.

But since leaving detention, I have learned that Australian people are good. I have always been treated kindly by them. So I guess, for me, that is the real impression I have of Australia; not the one I had in detention.

My main goal has always been to affect people’s lives and to help bring peace into the world. In Iran I originally planned to study law. But for political reasons, the government in Iran didn’t allow me to study law, even though my scores were very high.

So then I decided on a different field, media, thinking if I couldn’t change the laws, maybe I could inform people and help create a pathway to a new kind of freedom. But then I had to flee with my family.

When I came here, I was introduced to a whole new set of laws. But it also got me thinking. If people can change the way they interact with each other, then individually they can get to that point of peace.

I’ve seen how the counsellors at Foundation House can affect people. They help people to find a pathway to peace. I believe in the peace that starts within us.

I don’t want to call it difficult

Yes, it is still difficult, but I don’t want to call it difficult. Instead I call it exciting. It’s learning about a whole new world.

When you learn a new language it’s not just the language, it’s the pathway into the culture, to meeting people, to communicating with others.

I came into this country. I certainly wasn’t planning to, but this is life. Now I am here, I must learn how to communicate.

Different paths and different methods

I have never had anyone at Foundation House tell me you should do this.

The counsellors show me different paths and different methods, then I choose the best path for me. What they do is help me figure out what I need to do and who I want to be.

Moving forward on my journey

One of the things that has really helped me was receiving a Quentin Buckle Study Grant from Foundation House. That prize was one of the main steps that helped me to move forward on my journey.

At the time, I was struggling to take the IELTS exam, the English language test, which was a university requirement. It cost about $300, and that was so expensive for me and my family to afford. So I used that grant to sit that test and to buy study materials. Now I’m studying at Swinburne University.

Winning that award meant so much to me.

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