Northern Ireland

Syrian refugees and their thoughts on adjusting to life in Northern Ireland

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Media captionBBC Newsline's Tara Mills speaks to Mohamad (20), Heya (19) and Rouska (16) about life in Northern Ireland

More than 50 new Syrian refugees arrived in Northern Ireland on Tuesday and will live in the Craigavon area.

They are the third group to settle here since December. But, what about the ones who came before the new arrivals?

Heya, 19, and her brothers, Mohamad and Rouska, left their home in Syria four years ago and moved to Lebanon.

Each had to leave school and find work, a process that has made their transition to life here even more difficult.

Image caption Heya said the transition to life here has been difficult but her and her brothers are 'happy now'

"The language is the main thing," said Heya. "I learnt some English in Lebanon but I had left school which makes it very hard to catch up.

"The teachers are helping me but it is quite hard."

Heva has made friends with two Polish girls at her school in north Belfast.

"That has been good. We went to the cinema and it was good fun."

Image caption Mohamad said he had not heard of Belfast until he was told it was where he would be going

Her brothers have not been so fortunate.

They speak no English at all and Rouska, 16, is finding daily English classes on top of his school day quite tough.

Speaking through an interpreter he said: "It's difficult but it's still better than my life in Syria.

"I like the food, I like it so much and I like the culture."

Mohamad, 20, cannot go to school and is training at college to be a hairdresser.

"My father wanted to make sure that I didn't have to join the army in Syria.

Image caption Rouska, 16, said he was finding daily English classes on top of his normal lessons quite tough

"If we didn't come here, he would have gone somewhere else. To Turkey. Anything to stop me having to be in the army."

The siblings are Christian, like some of the other refugees who have settled here.

Mohamad had not even heard of Belfast until they were told by the UN that it was where they are going.

"My first thought was that I came to the countryside, and then whenever I started knowing about Belfast people - I love it"

Heva admits the last six months have been hard but the Princes' Trust and their workers have provided invaluable support.

"They've been really lovely and we haven't felt alone.

"We are happy now."

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