A Celebration Of Friendship

Finding Community And Friendship In The UK

Recently a previous international student who was based at Guildford University during their studies, returned to give a lecture on their journey since leaving the UK.

This individual, Shakardokht Jafari, is now CEO of a medical company looking to benefit medical practice through developments in Radiography.

She spoke to how Friends International gave her a wonderful opportunity for friendship during her time at university, how she found community and how this made her time in the UK more memorable, read her account below:


“In 2010, I embarked on a journey to pursue my Master’s degree in the UK, leaving my children and husband back home in Kabul. Arriving in a foreign land, I felt the weight of loneliness and uncertainty. However, amidst this new chapter of my life, I found solace and support in an unexpected place – Friends International.

Navigating the intricacies of a new culture and society can be daunting, but Friends International became my guiding light. They not only helped me understand the nuances of British culture but also provided a sense of belonging and camaraderie. I felt a genuine connection with the people involved, knowing that I could trust them wholeheartedly.

As time passed and my family joined me in the UK, Friends International continued to be an invaluable source of support. With my children enrolled in school and without a car to navigate the unfamiliar terrain, Friends International stepped in, offering practical assistance and emotional support. From Sunday lunches to organised events, they ensured that we felt welcomed and included every step of the way.

What truly stood out was the genuine friendship we formed through Friends International Guildford. Coming from a religious background where trust is paramount, finding like-minded individuals who shared our beliefs was a blessing. Knowing that the members of Friends International believed in God gave us reassurance and peace of mind. It was through this bond of friendship and shared faith that we forged lifelong connections.

As I reflect on my journey, I am deeply grateful for the unwavering support and friendship of Friends International. They played an instrumental role in helping my family and me settle into our new country, providing not just assistance, but a sense of community and belonging.

Through their kindness and generosity, we not only found our footing in a foreign land but also gained cherished friends for life. The bonds we formed with members of Friends International Guildford transcended cultural barriers and enriched our lives in ways we could have never imagined.

Looking back, I am reminded of the profound impact that acts of kindness and friendship can have, especially during times of transition and uncertainty. The warmth and compassion shown to us by Friends International not only eased our integration into British society but also left an indelible mark on our hearts.

In essence, our story is a testament to the power of friendship and community, and the invaluable role organizations like Friends International play in fostering a sense of belonging and support for individuals and families navigating new beginnings.

As we continue our journey forward, we carry with us the memories and friendships forged through Friends International, grateful for the love and support that has helped us flourish in our new home…”


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