Prospective Curtin student Azizi Mahmoodullah has only been in Perth a year but he’s already fallen in love with the people, the opportunities and the peaceful quietness. Originally from Afghanistan, Azizi experienced first-hand the turmoil and constant struggle for education in a country that is still suffering through war.
Working as a translator for the Australian army in Afghanistan inspired Azizi to relocate to Perth and start a new life. He plans to study Civil Engineering at Curtin next year and one day construct the world’s most beautiful buildings.
How did you come to Australia?
I came to Australia in December 2013 from Afghanistan. When I came, the [Australian] government provided me with a house and a caseworker, who introduced me to the city, the hospital and the University. I’m happy here, Perth is a very beautiful city, very quiet and with very nice people. I put in an application to Curtin to study Civil Engineering and I’m doing the Curtin English Language Bridging course at the moment.
What was it like living in Afghanistan?
When September 11 happened I was very young. In 2004 I started learning English, which enabled me to start working with the Australian army as a translator in Afghanistan. I worked as a translator from 2008-2013 until I came to Australia. The Australian army have good behaviour and a good sense of humour.
Afghanistan has too much war and enemies. I’d like Afghanistan to improve because now the situation is not good but they’re working on it. I can’t go back right now because the situation is not good and my life would be under threat from enemies. I need to study here because I didn’t have enough education in Afghanistan. Schools in Afghanistan are not like Australian schools, they’re completely different.
How are schools different in Afghanistan?
You can go to school and there could be no teacher, when the teacher comes there’s no students. Sometimes there’s no classes, no equipment, no workbooks or blackboards or furniture. In some of the schools in Afghanistan the enemies control the area and the school. So students cannot go to school, it is very complicated.
I have two sisters and three brothers in Afghanistan. My sisters are at school and my brothers are working in the Afghan army. I miss my family and I miss my friends but I want to make friends here, I am happy here.
Can you tell me about your experience as a translator?
I worked with the army as an interpreter and sometimes I translated lectures from my language to English using a computer. It was really hard because you have to do it word for word, sentence by sentence. If you make a mistake it’s a very big problem. I started working with the Australian army seven years ago when I was only 19.
You work in teams and each team has about 200 people. The Australian army does artillery training for the Afghan army, and we work to help them communicate.
If you could give one piece of advice to a group of people what would it be?
You need to be hardworking and honest, and also education is the most important thing. All young generations should consider studying.