New Scots Series

This week in our #NewScots series, meet Rouzalin who is Syrian – Armenian.

Photo by @Ciara_Menzies

Rouzalin is named after the flower, rose, and she is just as lovely!

“My grandparents are Armenien. I was born to a father and mother from Beirut, Lebanon and I was born in Aleppo. I have grown up between Beirut and Aleppo. In my later years, I was educated as an architect in Aleppo for six years. I taught architectural design for four years before moving to Edinburgh. I’ve been in Edinburgh since 2012, doing a PhD in architecture in a subject called “sustainability” and I have related the subject to hotel buildings with specific designs. It’s been six years and I’m at the level of writing my PhD.

I miss my home in Syria. Edinburgh castle reminds me of the old buildings in Syria, and the mountains and snow remind me of Lebanon. The homes in Edinburgh are lovely. I look forward to the day I can afford to live in a house like I used to with my parents”.

One of the many things Rouzalin loves about Scotland is Scots’ ginger hair. Rouzalin tells us, “I love ginger hair. One time I dyed my hair the orange colour.”

Rouzalin lets her creative juices flow and makes friends with locals and newcomers by attending The Welcoming’s Creative Space on Saturdays. “I find it a really good activity for me because I have lots of friends there and David (the facilitator) is a really lovely person.”

With a desire to make a lasting contribution in her new home, Rouzalin shares, “My dream for the future is to get my career back in architecture either by continuing to teach at university level or having my own practice. Also, since a child I’ve been dreaming of doing some acting.”

“Maybe I can be like either a famous architect or famous actor here!”

To support #NewScots like Rouzalin, enabling her to contribute to Edinburgh life donate here:

Creative Space is hosted by The Welcoming every Saturday between 11am-3pm. Come along to do some arts and crafts, play board games and meet new people. Just drop in, no need to book. Refreshments (fruit, biscuits, tea and coffee) are provided.

Previously in #NewScots:

This week in our #NewScots series, meet Vilo Gonzalez from the Canary Islands.

Photo by @Ciara_Menzies

Vilo Gonzalez, from the Canary Islands, has been living in Edinburgh since winter 1999. “I was very excited to come and see what Edinburgh is like. It was very wet when I arrived.” However, nothing could surprise him about Edinburgh after his years of extensive travelling. “I lived in London for 3-4 years and I worked in Sydney, Australia, for a year and I’ve spent time in France and Italy”

Vilo brings his spirit of inclusivity and friendliness to Edinburgh, which have been developed through his travels. He has adapted well to his new life here. “For me, Edinburgh looks like the capital of the Canary Islands. The city centre looks similar.”

On the Scottish accent, Vilo remarks, “It is a very pretty language. It is a happy language. I think it is difficult also!” The Welcoming allows opportunities for newcomers to meet locals so newcomers can become familiar with our accent.

The Welcoming offers a host of programmes and classes to newcomers like Vilo, to equip them with the skillset to integrate and make a contribution in their new home, Edinburgh.

There is no doubt that Vilo is proud to call himself a #NewScot. “I feel very much Scottish. It’s very nice for me and comfortable for me. Scotland is very nice.”

To support #NewScots like Vilo, enabling him to make a positive impact in Edinburgh, donate here:

To feature in our #NewScots series or for more information speak to Lucy in the office.

Previously in #NewScots: 

This week in our #NewScots series, meet Petr Belaska from the Czech Republic.

Photo by @Ciara_Menzies

Petr Belaska, a photographer from a small town near Brno, Czech Republic brings his love of travel, photography and geography to Edinburgh. Back home Petr worked as a photographer taking the annual ‘school photos’ for primary and secondary kids. Since arriving in Edinburgh in August 2014 he has worked in a factory. “My goal is to find work as a hotel receptionist and welcome people to Edinburgh”.

Caitlin Rodgers, Befriending Coordinator at the Welcoming said “Petr has the most enthusiastic, bubbly nature, he’d make a fantastic receptionist. He has explored areas of Edinburgh unknown to me and I’ve lived here most of my life. He’d be a great source of hints and tips to holidaymakers.”

Petr tells us “I was stunned by the 7  hills of Edinburgh. I had climbed them all within my first two weeks here. I love the castles. I’ve visited 6 look out towers in Scotland. My favourite is Calton Hill. These towers are quite similar to look out towers in my home country. I take photos everywhere I go. I’d love to share my photos with other #NewScots to suggest places for them to visit.

I really like learning Scottish words. I love exploring the historic background of places. I read about the “Braw Braes”. I downloaded an app so I can look up these Scottish words!”

“I am indeed a #NewScotsman. Since I’m a Scot now I’d love to try wearing a kilt.”

To support #NewScots like Petr, enabling him to contribute to Edinburgh life donate here:

To feature in our #NewScots series or for more information speak to Lucy in the office.

Previously in #NewScots: 

This week in our #NewScots series, meet Oldaliza from the Dominican Republic.

Photo by @simon_hossack

We asked Oldaliza what she thinks about Scottish people. “They are very friendly and helpful. It’s really funny if you bump with someone and it’s your fault, they say sorry. Everyone say sorry and thank you a lot. I love this”

“Aye, why do people say aye? Now I know it means yes. At first I don’t understand this”.

Oldaliza loves Scotland. “In my country most people live in houses, they are very colourful. It’s very different here, the architecture is impressive. I love it”

We asked her what a typical meal is in the Dominican Republic, she told us that ‘Chivo Picante’ or spicy goat is very common.

Help #NewScots like Oldaliza to feel at home by donating here:

To feature in our #NewScots series or for more information speak to Lucy in the office.

Previously in #NewScots: 

This week in our #NewScots series, meet Mohamad from Syria.

Photo by @Ciara_Menzies

Mohamad has been in Edinburgh for a year. When asked if there is anything in Scotland that reminds him of home, he responded, “Yes. The Welcoming is like Syria because in Syria if we ask anybody to help, they come. And here, I see that. I see that in Scotland. They like to help”

He laughed when we asked him if he’s learnt any Scottish words, to which he promptly replied: “Wa’er”[water].

Scotland has already welcomed more than 1200 Syrian refugees, with around 150 resettling in Edinburgh. The Welcoming supports #NewScots in Edinburgh with learning English, finding jobs, making friends, learning about Scottish culture, tackling climate change and lots more.

Donate to help #NewScots like Mohamad settle into their new home by clicking here:

To feature in our #NewScots series or for more information speak to Lucy in the office.

Previously in #NewScots: 

This week in our #NewScots series, we introduce Tagridh Safat from Egypt.

Photo by @simon_hossack

It’s her third month here and she says “Edinburgh is amazing. There are lots of greens and landscapes and the people are very friendly”.

Tagridh worked as a broker in the Egyptian stock market. She is working hard to improve her English so she can find a job here. We asked what she thought of the Scottish accent.

“It’s hard, oh my god its hard, I studied English in school in Egypt, came here and people talk so fast, I can’t understand what they say. One time a plumber came to my home, I told him look I don’t understand anything you say but it is your job so you can do what you want”

We told her about the term #NewScots, Tagridh said “Do you think I will be a New Scot?, its amazing because I feel safe here, which is a good point as I have two daughters and I feel safe here”

As well as attending English classes, Tagridh volunteers with The Welcoming’s Befriending Programme, using her Arabic language skills to support other newcomers as they resettle in Edinburgh. She helps out in our weekly Arabic Café, teaching local volunteers some words and phrases in Arabic. She is a fantastic teacher, full of encouragement and energy.

Donate now  to support activities at the Welcoming, helping #NewScots to feel at home.

To feature in our #NewScots series or for more information speak to Lucy in the office.


Previously in #NewScots:

Photo by @simon_hossack

We are excited to launch our #NewScots series!

In this series, we want to introduce you to some of Edinburgh’s newest residents. Around 10,000 foreign nationals come to live in Edinburgh every year, with more than 1000 from over 70 different nationalities joining our classes and activities at the Welcoming! Every Friday over the next 12 weeks we will celebrate this diversity by introducing you to #NewScots who will share a little about their experience of living in Edinburgh.

This week, meet Guillermo Garrido who comes from Spain.

We asked Guillermo what his impression of Scotland was, he told us he finds people very friendly and open. “One time before I got on a bus I didn’t have enough change, I only had a £2 coin and needed £1.60 in change. A guy at the bus stop offered to pay my bus fare. It was really impressive that he paid for me.”

We asked him about his dream job, he said “I want with all my heart to become a journalist; I don’t know if I’ll get there but that’s my dream.”

Donate now to The Welcoming to help newcomers like Guillermo settle into their new life in Scotland!