A Syrian refugee, who only started learning English two years ago, is showing everyone up after coming top of his year in his final year 12 exams.
Saad Al-Kassab, 18, who fled war-torn Syria to Melbourne Australia in 2014, scored an incredible 96.65 ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) in his final exams.
He learned English with his brother Omar within two years by watching Question Time from Federal Parliament and studying an English-Arabic dictionary, Techly reports.
Saad and his brother Omar spoke at a TedX conference about their journey to Australia and how they had suffered in their homeland:
Prior to 2014, Saad had not been to school for two years because of Syria’s bloody civil war.
Before his family managed to escape to Australia, Omar (17 at the time) was shot, captured and tortured by armed forces while protesting for peace and democracy.
Saad said he used Question Time to learn because: “The way they speak, they speak proper English. They speak slowly, so you can catch words.”
To be honest, I was expecting a high score, but it felt so good to see it. I felt really happy. I was just overwhelmed.
I’m really grateful for being given the opportunity to be able to come to Australia and study here. Despite all the difficulties, I was given a new life. I really wish I can pay it back one day.
Despite finding out that his friends had been killed in Syria, Saad worked hard for his exams in order to not only reach, but completely surpass the average ATAR score of 65.20.
Monash University have offered him a scholarship which Saad hopes to take up in order to study biomedicine or medicine.