Multi Story Edinburgh

Barav - Back to the future - Recalibration, national belonging and having no friends but the mountains

April 09, 2022 The University of Edinburgh Season 3 Episode 2
Multi Story Edinburgh
Barav - Back to the future - Recalibration, national belonging and having no friends but the mountains
Show Notes Transcript

Each episode is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. In season 3 we talk to graduates about going back. But is it back to the beginning or back to the future? In this episode we meet 2020 International Relations graduate Barav Barzani and chat recalibration, national belonging and having no friends but the mountains. 

Originally from Iraqi Kurdistan, Barav Barzani came to Edinburgh to study International Relations. Now back in the capital Erbil, he is keen to start on a career in local government. 

Whether it is returning home after graduation, returning to Edinburgh after adventures elsewhere, or just returning to a place that felt like the past but turned out to be the future,  season 3 of Multi Story Edinburgh explores how going back is never life in reverse. 

All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh. 

Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.

Music: Since When by Mise Darling from 
Artwork: Vector created by vectorjuice / Freepik

Voiceover  0:11  This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season three, back to the beginning, or back to the future? 

Barav  0:23  So I'm in Kurdistan, which is the northern region of Iraq.  We're an autonomous region, we have our own government, so forth. I'm in my room, in my house, where I've lived all my life, pretty much. 

Voiceover  0:35  Barav Barzani. 2020 International Relations graduate. 

Barav  0:41  For me, returning here after university was-- was hard, and it's something I wanted to do, of course, I wanted to come back here and work. But at the same time, it was quite sad to leave a community I've been part of for a very long time in Edinburgh - and people I've always known - because Edinburgh is a small city, and everybody knows everybody and-- and that the precious connections you build, they mean a lot. So it was quite hard to leave.  

It does take time to settle back in once-- once you're abroad for a long time, not in terms of your interactions or being accepted by others, but-- but just in terms of your own self, kind of calibrating to that new atmosphere, that new environment.  

All along, it was-- it was my goal to-- to equip myself with the right knowledge from prestigious universities just such as the University of Edinburgh, to be able to benefit my community in various ways, and invest my skills here  

Because I was raised in this community, and this community gave a lot to me. And at the end of the day, it's my nation, it's my people, it's-- it's my family, my friends. I have grown up here all my life, did all my high school here. So I have that sense of national belonging to this land, to this place. 

And having been granted such an opportunity to be able to study abroad, an opportunity not everyone can get, especially at-- at such a good university, I am obliged to come back and help.  
I'm exposed to more of the world, more ideas, and therefore, I often see the need to bring those here and, then-- and expose the community here to those ideas. I always appreciate my home country, it's-- it's different. You know, it may be a lot simpler, may be a lot-- a lot less developed than in the UK, than London and Edinburgh. But at the end of the day, it's-- it's somewhere I grew up, somewhere I was born in, and that-- that in itself is very precious to me.  

You know, the market place is the traditional Bazaar, and those places they can't be replaced. You usually don't find that in Europe.    

You've probably heard the saying, 'Kurds have no friends but the mountains' - we're surrounded by mountains, there's a lot of nature, rivers here. So that-- that is part of our lives here. But at the same time, Scotland is different, like the terrain is somewhat different. It's greener, because here it gets really hot in the summer. So it's a variation, but it's also similar in its own ways.  

Some activities that we do here that I wouldn't possibly be able to do in many places abroad, it would be shooting; solo or target practising; hunting; it would be swimming in the river. I love to go hiking, I love to go into the mountains, into forests, and walk. It's--it's quite an experience. And we have very beautiful places for that.  

I love to travel I love to see different places and-- and even in the beginning, Edinburgh was a very special place to me. When I read about it, when I first applied it was-- it was the ideal city for me. It was small. It was-- it's in a remote place, and it's surrounded by nature. And those are the things that I really love. So I did have the idea to-- to—to-- to-- stay abroad for a longer period of time, maybe pursue a PhD. But I came to realise that I want to start working. It's-- it's something I want to do, I'm passionate about. So I want to settle down here.  

Currently, it stresses me out. Like it bothers me that I'm not working, that I'm not being productive enough, as productive as I want to be. I find myself having the urge to travel oftentimes and wanting to expose myself to that environment again. 

Voiceover 4:36  We also ask our guests to tell us about a place - somewhere local, somewhere that kind of captures something important, something worth sharing. 

Barav  4:47  So I was born in the capital in Erbil, which is the capital of Kurdistan and it's an it's a very precious city to me. And in the middle of the city, there exists a citadel and it's a huge citadel, and it's-- it's almost 1000 years old and has a lot of houses in it, where people used to live, and I think it's-- it's a symbol of resistance and strength. It's very peaceful. It's ancient, and it's something I would show to any visitor. 

Voiceover  5:18  Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story 

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