Rosilda’s Big Aberdeen Story

20160309_134405-1Rosilda started volunteering with GREC in 2013. The broad accents of the North East were somewhat daunting and Rosilda had challenging experiences before she started volunteering in the third sector.  “When I first arrived in Aberdeen I took a bus from the City Centre to Torry to find accommodation – I had studied English for 5 years but I still had absolutely no idea what the bus driver was saying.  I had the same challenge with many of the local people in Torry.  But I had very nice neighbours who helped me and explained what I should say when I got on the bus (“two stops past the bridge!”).

Rosilda, originally from Brazil, came to Aberdeen with her husband who had secured research work with the University of Aberdeen.  “I thought there may be some opportunities for me here, that it would be fairly easy to integrate and find work.  I tried to find work – I was feeling isolated, my husband was working, my son was in school.  It quickly became clear to me that job references from outside the UK were not valued as highly as they were from local employers.  I took up a job in a school kitchen which gave me some more experience, but didn’t put my qualifications and skills to good use.  I tried to go to College to improve my English so I could find better work – I ended up doing a Business Administration HNC and being encouraged to volunteer with a local organisation to put the new skills into practice.  Someone recommended GREC to me and I soon started as a Volunteer Coordinator on a voluntary basis.  It was great to have so many opportunities to meet people and organisations.  As well as my English improving, I began to feel more confident, to feel connected with many people and cultures.  As a result of volunteering and putting my English into practice, I felt confident enough to take forward my passion for arts and crafts, to take part in art fairs – this has allowed to get more involved Aberdeen communities, like schools.  The opportunities I’ve been given helped me open up and embrace the change of living in a new country.

Rosilda is now an employee of GREC,  providing maternity cover for the Co-ordinator of the In-Trans service (providing Interpreters and Translators across the North East.  . Settling in Aberdeen and learning to embrace the dialect is an on-going journey.  Rosilda says: “It maybe will never feel like “home”, but I am happy with the life I have made for myself here, and excited about the opportunities that the future holds.”

Aberdeen Issues from this story

  1. Aberdeen, despite the economic downturn,  has much to offer.  There are 80 different languages spoken as a first language by pupils in Aberdeen’s schools.  Being anxious trying to speak a second language is  familiar to anyone who has tried to order  food on a foreign holiday. It  can be a very intimidating experience.  Have you thought about how isolating it must be for people for whom Doric is not their first language?
  2. The journeys that bring people to Aberdeen can be very complex, and often people do not arrive with the confidence they may require to settle and thrive in Scotland.  Are there enough opportunities for people to develop and practice their English language skills in order to then be able to engage and participate fully in the community?
  3. Volunteering is a fantastic way for those who are not confident with their English to improve their skills and increase their self-esteem.  Can you accommodate volunteers, apprentices, staff who are trying to improve their language skills and contribute to Aberdeen’s economy?


GREC’s mission is to advance equality for all people. To achieve this our objectives are:

  • to tackle discrimination – pursuing equality for all
  • to promote community cohesion – supporting strong and stable communities and promoting respect for diversity
  • to manage diversity – working with partners; providing constructive challenge; and helping to address issues e.g. migration
  • to collect evidence and undertake research – gathering information; informing services and policy

GREC’s current projects include:

  • equality and diversity inputs to primary and secondary pupils, including promoting and organising the annual Anne Frank Awards;
  • a casework service for those who have been the victims of hate crime or prejudice (on the basis of ethnicity/race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender);
  • a counselling service for victims of hate crime and prejudice, including a specialist service for children and young people;
  • two research projects, one on the economic experience of ethnic minorities in the North East and the other looking at the fish processing industry in the North East;
  • training on equality and diversity, hate crime and prejudice incidents, the Equality Act 2010 and more;
  • an interpreting and translation service (In-Trans) used by NHS Grampian, other public bodies, individuals and private business;

GREC relies on the efforts and support of our many volunteers.  We are committed to the positive involvement of volunteers and good practice in volunteering.  GREC have achieved Volunteer Friendly accreditation – a national quality standard assessed locally by ACVO.  GREC are also part of the Aberdeen Volunteer Co-ordinators Network and attend pertinent training related to the recruitment, retention and support of volunteers.


What Happened Next

What will happen as a result of Rosilda’s Story?