When Tanziel Imtiaz moved to Rochdale from Riva del Garda in northern Italy aged 14 in 2016, he spoke no English.
With one year to learn a whole new language in a new country before sitting his GCSEs at Falinge Park High School, Tanziel was motivated to reach his full potential and achieve the best outcome he could for his family.
He said: “Since my childhood my parents always wanted myself and my younger brothers to get our education in the United Kingdom, which is why we moved to England.
“Born and raised in Italy, my first year in Rochdale was tough, when I literally had one year to learn a whole new language and revise for my GCSEs in year 11. Not only could I not understand and communicate effectively with my teachers in school, but many people had low expectations of me.
“In Italy, secondary schools begin in year 6 and you have your GCSEs equivalent in year 8, called ‘Esami di Terza Media’, which I sat and achieved a high score of 9/10.
“I knew to succeed in England I would have to hustle every single day, which is what I did.”
Even with just one year in Rochdale, Tanziel achieved an outstanding six A*s and two A grades at GCSE level, along with an A in further mathematics which was a subject only available to 10 students studying at Falinge Park High School – Tanziel was chosen as one of them.
He continued: “My GCSE achievements boosted my confidence and after two years of determination and hard work, I also achieved grade As in A level biology, chemistry and mathematics at Rochdale Sixth Form College.”
Now 18 years old, Tanziel will move on to study medicine at the University of Birmingham in September.
“My course in medicine (MBChb) is five years long,” he added.
“I’m hoping to gain the privilege of improving and saving human lives by working as a doctor.
“Today, after all this struggle, I would like to tell every student in the years below me that no matter how difficult your circumstances are, YOU are the author of your life’s chapters. Make them motivational for others.”