Student Journeys

From Iran to Community Organiser at SU

In pursuit of my dream of becoming an event designer and organiser, I moved to London, the city of my dreams, less than six months ago. One month after my arrival, I found a job as a community organiser, which was as easy as finding a needle in a Haystack. I’m talking about waiting in line at the Student Center to find a job, looking through the maze of websites and emails, and I finally had it. As a Community organiser, I could go to different events, build a decent network for myself, and most of all, get to know other cultures, but this isn’t the case for every student; I was one of the only few, and I want to change that. I remember waiting in line behind many confused international students, looking for answers which could be given to them much more quickly. The first event I participated in as a community organiser was black month History; I was just amazed by everything, Like a child tasting ice cream for the first time. I was amazed by the power of events and how they can gather people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, celebrating together for one united cause. Coming from an isolated country like Iran, I was so excited to see how different people from various backgrounds became friends, and the differences I thought we had were similar. Divali, Christmas, and Global Exchange were some other events I participated in as a community organiser. I was there for students to see how the events could have improved. Still, a fantastic result of this participation was our dialogues with students in a friendly space and in a friendly manner, where we talked about their problems and reported them back to my manager. It is fascinating that others see different issues I couldn’t, giving me a broader vision. But this job was not only about events; we had stalls for LGBTQ societies and misconceptions around disabled communities through which we tried to give voice to the unheard and light shed to the unseen.

We also got feedback on how to do better and what to do next, which gave me ideas for direct communication between students and officers if they had helpful ideas. But this was just a part of my journey; as a student of event design and management, I wanted to start as soon as possible. I planned and organised Yalda night, which celebrates the Longest night of the year in Persian culture. I chose this event to be my first because I knew it by heart, but I didn’t want only Iranians as my guests; I wanted a room full of the world, so we invited students, each from a different part of the world, to celebrate with us and we shared Persian music and dishes of delight, in a night which was not long enough. My days are filled with working on Nowruz, celebrated in many countries. It is also the Persian New Year. Thankfully, I could gather a couple of other societies to participate with us in this event, sharing the joy with everyone. It is stressful taking my first steps as a professional. Thanks to my fantastic network, I had the opportunity to assist in the Chinese New Year as well, seeing the dance of a dragon and teaching us how to write in Chinese, an experience to be remembered. More importantly, I was so lucky to be able to assist in the DEN event, which will happen on the 1st of March, celebrating every one of us, all from different backgrounds, but in one community and celebrating all together. Ultimately, I want to share my ideas, experience, and energy with the students and use my SU platform to engage students to achieve their goals.

Maryam Salehi

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