Haim is in the third year of a law degree at the University of Huddersfield. He was fostered in Yorkshire after arriving in the UK from Israel as an eight-year-old. He tells us his story and how his legal knowledge helps with his burgeoning career as a football referee.
“I had a bit of a rocky beginning, not knowing English and I struggled to fit in. Deciding whether to go to university was difficult, and there were teething troubles in transitioning from being a teenager to an adult. I wanted to remain in West Yorkshire due to the football and my connections with my foster family, which are really good.
“Initially I struggled to adjust to living away from Leeds, so I left Huddersfield after my first year. I spent the next year at another university, but I decided to return to Huddersfield as I had not really met my potential.
“There was a support network here and I had spent a year at home due to COVID-19. I really care about what I do, and I knew that Huddersfield cared as well so I wanted to come back and get it right.
“When I did come back, I got a 2:1 which was good given I had worked at home due to COVID-19, but the support network helped sort out my planning and how I could study. That made a massive difference, and they helped me so that my goals are realistic and not stressful.
“Football has always been important to me, and now I referee in the Northern Counties East league. Studying law certainly helps with dodgy spectators! You get people for whom watching football is an escape, especially on Sundays, but you always get someone who is grumpy.
“Someone argued with me and said I couldn’t get rid of him as it was public land. I pointed out it was in a school’s grounds, so there was a bit of land law there. It helps you build an argument and can be very practical!
“The University’s support network for me as a care leaver is amazing, I can’t expect much more. Every time I have an issue, even non-academic, I know I can reach out someone.
“Sometimes you cannot talk to friends so it’s good to have someone who knows a bit more than you to get a reasonable response. I don’t know everything, so I know I can reach out to my welfare officer or mentor.”
With credit to University of Huddersfield