WHEN Brigadier John Shanahan needed an expert translator in the field while he was leading troops in Afghanistan, he turned to 16-year-old Kabul resident Khalid Khalid.
Mr Khalid had enrolled in an intensive English language course in Afghanistan.
He topped the course, giving him the opportunity to work with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as they sought to overcome the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
“The Aussie accent at first proved a challenge, but within a year I was rubbing shoulders with the top brass from Australia and the United States who appreciated my skills in both language and diplomacy,” Mr Khalid said.
After four years service to the ADF, Mr Khalid felt it was no longer safe for him to remain in Afghanistan and asked to move to Perth to continue his education.
“With my ability to speak seven languages, I could have taken up a position in Defence Force operations,” he said.
However, he had set his sights on studying dentistry at UWA.
The now 24-year-old enrolled in a Flying Start course at Canning College where he aims to complete years 11 and 12.
Like Khalid, many other students at the college have overcome adversity and persecution in their home country.