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Embracing New Beginnings and Fashion Dreams in Australia: Abir’s Story

By Emma Prineas | February 13, 2024

Hailing from Lebanon, Abir’s journey to Australia in 2021 marked the beginning of a new chapter in her life, one that would see her embracing the challenges and opportunities of settling into a new country.

Moving to Canberra to join her husband, Abir was excited to leave behind her life in Lebanon, which included a career in retail that began after she left school early due to her father’s passing.

Abir was determined to make the most of her new life in Australia, starting with mastering the English language to integrate and contribute to her new country.  


It wasn’t long before she discovered the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at Navitas, a lifeline for migrants like her, offering free English classes, funded by the Australian government, designed to help newcomers navigate their way into Australian society. 

“Finding Navitas was very important to me so that I could learn English and be able to join the workforce, so that I can be useful in my new community,” Abir says. 

“Joining the AMEP was so important for me. It wasn’t just about learning English; it was about gaining the confidence and skills I knew I needed to thrive in my new home”

Abir – AMEP, Canberra

Her favourite part of AMEP was meeting other students, making friends and learning about the diversity of Australian culture. 

“I was so happy when I did this course as I’ve learned a lot about Australian life.  I’ve also learned to be confident and gained communication skills by taking part in the program. The AMEP has given me so many new skills that I can use in my work.”

The AMEP offered her more than just language lessons; it was a deep dive into Australian culture, an aspect Abir found crucial for her integration.

“I knew it was important to learn a lot about Australian culture which I really love!”

Her hard work and dedication paid off when she landed a job at Modesta Boutique, a dream opportunity that came her way after a successful work placement as part of the Settlement Language Pathways to Employment and Training subprogram of the AMEP, delivered by Navitas as Pathways to Work.

“Working at Modesta is a chance to continue my passion for fashion retail, which I’ve been involved in for over 20 years.”  

Abir wants to continue her studies while she works in the industry she loves, the retail fashion industry.

“My hope for the future is to manage a boutique shop one day or own a boutique. I am currently very happy with my job and looking to improve the business.” 

Abir – AMEP, Canberra

To those newly arriving in Australia, Abir offers a piece of advice that echoes her husband’s wise words on her first morning in Canberra, “He told me, ‘The key to success here is to pick up the local language.”

Abir’s story inspires anyone facing new beginnings, reminding us that with determination and support, new horizons are always within reach. 

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