I came to the U.K. from Russia in 2006 and am now settled in Birmingham. Since moving here I have learnt English, completed postgraduate study, worked in several companies and I now run a charity assisting migrants from Central and Eastern Europe living in the UK.
England is such a nice country. The people are so warm and welcoming. I'm very proud to be a member of the congregation in Aston Parish Church in Birmingham. My friends in church were so keen to listen to me even though at first we did not have a common language. They spoke slowly and clearly to me, it really helped me to learn English.
Many members of our congregation came to the UK from all over the world. We have people from Jamaica, St Kitts, Iran, India, Syria, Russia, Thailand, China, and Togo to name just a few.
Western culture is very different to what I am accustomed to, but I was lucky to find friends over here and receive enormous support and encouragement. This has given me the confidence to progress and now I am able to help other people who, like me, have come to the UK and would like a helping hand to guide them.
What I enjoy most of all is traveling around the UK. I have seen so many amazing places and events - medieval battles or stock car or boat racing. It seems that having fun is very important here!
I would tell any migrant coming to the UK to look at everything, try everything, and not be shy to speak to people. Life here is so interesting and gives many opportunities to explore a different culture.
I believe that migration is good for everyone. It makes us more confident, sociable and gives an excellent life experience.
The other good feature about the UK is that it is much warmer in winter than in my country!
This interview is part of a series of stories of migrants in Birmingham produced by participants of Migrant Voice's 'Many Faces, One City' project. The project celebrates the contribution of migrants to life in Birmingham. It brought together migrants and host community in Birmingham to build their skills in telling stories of migration through text, photo, film and social media.