After a long journey from the chaos of the Syrian civil war to pursuing a higher education in London, a 19-year-old Syrian refugee shared his insights with Anadolu Agency on the eight-year war, the problems faced by refugees, and Turkey’s efforts to help the region.

Marking Dec. 18, International Migrants Day, Ishmael Hamoud told how he travelled illegally from Syria to the U.K. to continue his education. Now he studies global politics and international relations at Birkbeck, University of London.

When he was just 15, Ishmael’s high school closed down due to the ongoing Syrian civil war, forcing him

Read more: From Syria to UK: A young refugee’s unique story