[i] I see a painting you’re holding. Would you please tell me more about it?

[r] Yes, that’s my painting. I love this painting. This is a ballerina. And we have two lives here. A beautiful life here and a war here. You can see it in 2 ways. From here to here or the other way around. Yeah. I mean, I used to want to be a ballerina. But that was a little hard, because then I had to wear a headscarf. So, yeah. That was a little hard. Yeah, with ballerina, with dancing, or with your hobbies, you can change everything. So dancing makes this life better. If you see from here to here. And also, I’m this ballerina and I want to leave the war behind. And come to a better life and a better future.

[i] Thank you. When did you make that painting?

Maybe 4 or months ago I made it here in Holland.

[i] How did that happen? On its own? What triggered it?

Nothing. I didn’t think. I didn’t think of anything. Because, yeah, I started with the ballerina and then everything came, yeah.

[i] Okay. You just told me something or this beautiful painting. Now can you tell me a little more about who you are, what your name is, where you’re from? That kind of question.

[r]Yeah, I’m [name], I’m 19 years old. I’m from Syria, I lived in the beautiful city by the sea, called Latakia. I lived with my parents and with my little brother. I had a big family there, lots of girlfriends. I went to school. Yes, I had a safe life before the war. Yeah, this kind of thing. I did high school. But I don’t have a degree. I didn’t take the exam. So, I studied everything, but without a diploma, and then, after that, I came to Holland, yeah.

[i] Okay. You said you’re from Latakia.

[r] Yes, Latakia.

[i] When exactly were you born in Latakia? What year?

[r] Yes, 1997. February 5th.

[i] You always spent your childhood in Latakia?

Yes. I spent my childhood in Latakia. Yes, with beautiful memories there, and yes.

Yes? Could you give me an example of what you remember of Latakia?

[r] Yeah, every Friday I went to a park with my family, my grandfather, my aunt, my grandmother and my parents and my little brother. We have a big park there. It’s called Madina Riadiya. And we played there together, cycling, yes, nice food. Nice food, yes. Lots of things done. And we also went to the sea, we went to the sea. Swimming.

[i] What years were those, about?

[r] That was before the war.

[i] But when about?

[r] 2004, 2005, 2006, yes. When I was 10, yeah. Or every holiday or every summer we went to the mountains, yeah. We have beautiful mountains there. With valleys and, yeah. And we stayed there for about 3 months or so, or 2 months together in a house. And every year we changed the house. Yeah, yeah. The houses.

[i] Why then?

Yeah, yeah. Every time we have a different house. Yeah, to change. Yeah, that’s better.

[i] Okay. But it wasn’t out of necessity, but because you wanted to.

[r] Yeah.

[i] And that was in Latakia too, huh?

Yeah, Latakia.

[i] Which house did you live in the longest in Latakia?

[r] The last house was, yeah, I lived there, yeah, 2008 to 2015. It was a very nice house.

[i] Describe it. What did it look like?

It’s a tall building. A tall building. I lived on the second floor. Yeah, it was. I have my own room there, and my little brother has his own room. And a big living room. We have two living rooms. A big kitchen. Yeah, bigger than here. Our houses are always bigger than the Dutch houses.

[i] How come?

Yes, we always have big houses. Here I find the houses very small. Yeah, yeah. A little small. But in Syria, it was big.

[i] It takes some getting used to, I guess. For you too?

[r] Yeah. Yeah, I have to get used to it.

[i] So you had a better life before the war? A good life?

[r] Yes.

[i] You said you lived in a big house. When you were little, remember that time? What toys did you play with? What girlfriends did you play with?

[r] Yeah, I do have girlfriends, and so far I’ve been in touch with them. Through Whatsapp or something. We were friends when I was 10. So, we’re 9 years old together. We used to go to a nice place to play with school all the time, yeah. Also in the same place, the park. Yeah, it’s very big. Yeah, it was very big. We could always play there, we could always play there.

[i] What did you play with?

[r] With my girlfriends who were at school.

[i] But I mean the toys.

[r] Yeah, oh yeah. With the ball.

With what?


A ball.


And not with the Barbie?

Yeah, too.

Also, but only. I have a little brother. He doesn’t like Barbie.

[i] Okay.

[r] I have a nice memory, too. I was at a private school in the last year.

[i] Private? Private school?

[r] Yeah, private. The last year, I had to study very well to get a trophy.

A trophy?


[i] Okay, and what was that the trophy?

[r] Yeah, a little trophy if you get very good results, you get a trophy, with a party. Stuff like that, yeah.

[i] But you know what that is? Then what was it that trophy?

[r] Yeah, if you get high results, you get one of those…

[i] Such a statue, statue? Or something else?

[r] Yeah, a cup.

[i] Okay, did you get it? Did you get it?

[r] Yeah, yeah.

[i] Nice. Yeah. Do you remember anything from your childhood? Something funny? Funny? An incident, whatever you want to say.

Something about my childhood? Yeah, I have some very nice memories about the Sugar Festival. We have, like, two, one Sugar Festival a year. 3 days we always go to my grandmother’s, yeah.

Is she alive?


[i] Okay.

[r] I’ll be in touch with her through Whatsapp. We need to talk every day.

[i] Should we?

Yeah, we have to.

[i] Should, okay. And what exactly do you remember from this Sugar Festival? What was the most fun?

Yeah, every Sugar Festival we bought a new toy. They wanted that. My dad wanted that. Yeah, as a present. Then we also got money, from my grandfather, from my grandfather, from my uncle, yeah, from my whole family. That’s traditional. And we’d wear new clothes and eat tasty things.

[i] What was the nicest present you got?

[r] I love every present I got. Yeah, because every present has something nice, yeah, nice intentions from the man, the woman or the person who brought it for me. But I love Barbie.

[i] Do you?

[r] Yeah.

[i] Do you have one at home? Barbie.

No, unfortunately not.

[i] Did you bring any of those toys or anything from your country that’s important to you?

No, unfortunately not, but they’re at my grandmother’s house now, yes. She keeps them.

[i] And then you went from elementary school to high school. What school was that and what year was that?

[r] From 2012, that was high school. Or 2013, sorry, I started elementary school, high school. Whole 2 years.

[i] What’s that school called?

Maher Ajanzaher. Also by the sea.

Okay, what do you remember from that time of high school?

I remember my girlfriends. We went to a restaurant or a cafe together. But that was a little dangerous. Cause the war started. You can’t go out or anything.

[i] You finished high school or not?

Yeah, I studied all the books, but no diploma. I didn’t take the exam.

[i] What was the reason for that?

[r] The reason? Yeah, I can’t. I had to come to Holland. Yeah, I didn’t have a chance to take the exam.

[i] And when you said you came over by plane to Holland.

[r] Yeah.

[i] But before that, your father had fled Syria.

[r] Yes.

[i] Can you tell us anything more about that?

[r] Yes, in November 2014 my father came to the Netherlands, and we stayed in Syria, waiting 9 months to come here. My father came here with a ship, a big one, and stays in the sea for 7 days and we don’t know anything about him, we couldn’t call him or anything. Yes, and in August I came with my mother and my little brother to the Netherlands by plane from Turkey. Not from Syria, we also went from Syria to Tripoli in Lebanon. and from Tripoli with sea also to Mersin. In Mersin I saw my father there.

[i] Where was that?

[r] Mersin.

Mersin? Where is that?

In Turkey.

It’s in Turkey.

Yeah. And after 9 days we went to Holland, by plane in Schiphol

[i] With your father or-?


[i] But that means you were already recognized as refugees.


[i] In Turkey?

No, no. In Turkey. That was good, because with our own passport-

[i] You could just come to Holland with your own Syrian passports?

[r] Yeah, yeah. No, no. My dad was here first. That’s why we could come to Holland with a visa.

[i] Okay, so. Just for my image. Your father came to Holland first.

[r] Yeah.

[i] You went to Lebanon.

[r] Yeah.

[i] And there came your father-

To, to help us.

Okay, clear now. That’s when you and your father went to Holland.

[i] When you arrived in Holland. What did you see?

[r] Yes.

[r] Oh, some tall people. Very tall people, blond and strange. And a lot of bikes, too, on the street. That was, yeah, I was surprised.

[i] You thought that was weird?

Yeah, tall people. Really, very tall.

[i] What else did you find strange or something? Or fun or less fun?

Yeah, they’re very nice. Very nice at Schiphol. Always laughing. Yeah, very nice. And here is also very quiet. Quiet, quiet country. Not as busy as Syria.

[i] You said quiet. Hmm, maybe you were looking for peace after so much misery in Syria.

[r] Yes, I went to Damascus, Aleppo, Hamma, Homs, yes, Tartus, by car.

[i] In Holland, when you arrived, you went to a place. Where were you going?

[r] Yes, I went to Amsterdam, to Damsquare. And I went to Rotterdam, to the Euromast, and to Rotterdam Zoo too. And I went to The Hague, and Tilburg.

[i] But those are places you went. But I mean, you came straight to your dad’s house?

[r] No, first we went to Tilburg to stay in dad’s boyfriend. My, my father’s boyfriend’s house. The house to stay. We stayed there for a month. Then we went to camp.

[i] What camp was that?

AZC camp.

In what town?

Here in Utrecht.

Here in Utrecht. How long did you stay there?

Yeah, less than a month. And then we got the house.

This house?

This house.

What do you think of this house?

[r] it wasn’t that clean or that good, but dad changed it. Yeah, we painted the walls, and the floor, too. Yeah. Everything, actually.

[i] That was August 2015? About a year ago.

[r] No. It was October. Because we stayed 1 month in Tilburg and 1 month in the AZC camp in Utrecht. In October I started the Dutch course.

[i] Course Dutch. At a school or at an ROC?

[r] No, not yet. I am going to do a transition year in the ROC. But I learned the language in the LestBest.

[i] LestBest.

Yeah. A language school, course. I’ve done six courses.

You say six courses. What do you mean by that?

Yes, we have A1, A2, B1, B2. I did A1, A2, B1 and half of B2.

[i] Okay, actually you’ve learned different levels of language and now you’re on B2.

[r] Yes.

[i] And that’s in less than 1 year, 8, 9 months.

[r] Yes, exactly.

[i] What do you think of this?

[r] I like it, I like it very much, and I find it a bit difficult. I’ve worked very hard to learn the language. And also, I have to, yeah, improve my language. And improve the vocabulary, yes.

Develop your vocabulary.

Yeah, develop your vocabulary. I had to go to the school 3 days a week, and the lesson, too, takes 2.5 hours.

[i] So you started school in October at LestBest.

[r] LestBest, yes.

[i] And now you’re at level B2 in about 8 months, I think, 9 months.

[r] Yeah.

[i] I think that’s pretty handsome.

Thank you. And I’m gonna do a transition year in ROC.

What does that mean, the transition year?

[r] Yes, we have to study different subjects, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and if I get them, Dutch and English, Dutch Society. Yes, I have to go 4 times a week. And, yes, I have to get very good results to go to university after 1 year. Or to University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht.

[i] Okay, so you want to go to college or university. What do you want to do there?

[r] In college?

[i] Yeah.

[r] I want to study architecture.

[i] Why did you choose architecture?

Why? Because Syria needs it.

[i] Very handsome, very nicely put.

[r] And I love drawing and creative things. I want to do something for my country.

And do you know how you want to do this? How you want to do that?

[r] Yes, after the transition year maybe I can go to Utrecht University to study there. Yeah, but I don’t have a lot of information about it. But I can know that in the ROC, or get information about it.

[i] But you’re planning to go back and rebuild that country someday, when it gets quiet in Syria, huh? I guess that’s your dream.

Yeah, that’s my dream.

[i] Of course, you’ve seen some things in Syria. But you also see a lot on TV, situations, the bombings and so on.

[i] But where does that come from, that desire to go back to build your country?

[r] Because I love my country. And my family. And my country gives me a lot of things, a lot of things, and I have to build it up, one more time. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And all my family stays there, and my memories, my friends. My life, actually.

[i] Okay, you’ve been living in Utrecht since October, 2015. What neighborhood is that?

[r] We live in Columns, Mayor of Tuylkade. It’s a nice neighborhood, I think it’s very quiet and safe. We always say hello. We have nice neighbors here actually, and yes, they come to visit too.

[i] Okay, don’t you, uh, don’t you have any contact with the neighbors?

[r] Yeah, not too much, but yeah.

[i] Who are they, the neighbors?

[r] Yeah, we have a neighbor here with her dog. She came to visit us. Visiting us. And her name is Ella. But now she went to Eindhoven. She moved. Yes, and we have another neighbor. Yes, we always say hello, but he hasn’t come to visit yet. He hasn’t come to visit yet.

[i] Do you have any more contacts with the neighbors?

[r] No. Cause we have trouble with that. I have trouble with it, we have trouble with it, because my mother and father don’t speak much Dutch. Yeah, that’s a little difficult. I can translate, but not always. Maybe I have a class or I’m in school. They have more contact with Syrians.

[i] Syrians? Who exactly? Are they your families or someone else?

[r] I don’t have any family here. But I have, we have– my aunt lives in Belgium. In Antwerp. She came to visit us too, 2 days ago. But that’s all. We have girlfriends here, are around here. Here on the same sidewalk but also on the other street. With me too, yes, were students, Syrian students. I have good contact with them.

[i] Okay, so you have contact with some Syrians here, with the neighbor who moved. What else do you do in your spare time? When you’re not going to school or–?

[r] Yeah, we try to go to another city, yeah, Dutch, or we stay at home, or we go walking to Old Columns, or we go biking downtown, walking, yeah, nothing more.

[i] Do you have a favorite place around here or in the city of Utrecht?

[r] Yes, the center further, I like Wilhelminapark, yes, I like it very much. And also Old Columns, there are windmills.

[i] Mill?

[r] Mill.

[i] Okay, you mean that merry-go-round?

[r] Yeah, that merry-go-round. Yeah, river. Yeah, very nice.

[i] And if you go to a park, Wilhelmina Park, for example, what do you experience in a place like that? What gives you that?

[r] What gives? Yes, a beautiful nature. Quiet, too. I like quiet places. Yeah, just watching the water, walking with my mom, taking pictures, or eating something.

[i] Picnicking?

Picnicking, yeah.

You said, I’m going to the center, which center is that?


In Utrecht. What do you like about the center?

[r] The shops, and also High Catharijne.

Catharijne, yes.

Catharijne, yes. I think it’s very, very beautiful. You can do a lot of things there. Eating syrup waffles, for example.

[i] You said you planned to volunteer at a studio.

[r] Yes, the studio.

[i] What kind of studio is that?

[r] Yeah, help the elderly with painting or drawing. What do they want? Do they want colours in red or orange? What do they want? We can help them. Yeah, I haven’t done that yet. But I will, also in September. But I have the idea now, but I haven’t done it yet.

[i] Where did you get that idea?

[r] You mean the studio?

[i] Yeah, doing the volunteer work.

[r] Yes, also LestBest, they said that we can do a volunteer work there to improve our language.

[r] It’s fun to do, in free time. I think yes, that’s very nice, I want to do that. We’re going to a volunteer center in Utrecht. Yes, I met there, I met a lot of nice people from the municipality as well. I’ve seen a woman there who helps me, helps me, helps me. Yeah, I chose that. Because I want to do something with my hobbies. Yeah, it’s drawing. I like that. And also not far from my house, which is in Overvecht. Can walk to it if I want.

[i] You said, you start in September. What, did you see that place over there? Who are they?

[r] Yeah.

[i] Tell me about it.

Yeah, I went to the ROC. I went to the ROC, with my mother to ask, yeah. What am I supposed to do? I want to study there. But me, my teacher in LestBest also helped me. and we meet with a teacher who works there. I get enough information and I did an intake test, June or July. In July.

[i] Okay.

[r] Yeah, with Dutch, English, Math and Physics. I had to do 6 hours, yeah, an exam and the test. And I passed. So, I can start in September. But I, I want the transition year. I can do that in Amsterdam, at VU University. And I went there to ask, but I chose here. Because it’s not that far. I can take the bus once in a while, yeah.

[i] You said you live with your parents and brother. Can tell you something about it. What are they doing here now? Like studying.

[r] my mom and dad go to school, a Criptus school at church. Now they’re at A1 level. And my little brother goes to ESK.

[i] What’s that ESK?

[r] ESK is a school for people under 18. Yeah, I’m older than my, went to the, yeah, he sits there with a lot of people, too. Not just from Syria, also from Palestine, from, yeah, Spain, yeah. They do, they do a lot of things. They went to a camp, 3 days, yeah, in town, in another town. Or did they do projects, sold something. Yeah. I like that. He likes that, too.

[i] Do you have good contact with your parents, with your little brother?

[r] Yeah, I don’t like my parents. They’re my friends, actually. I can say anything to them. Solve my problems, yeah, argue, if I have to say something, yeah, I don’t have any problems. They’re young, too. They understand me very well. And my little brother too, yeah. We always go out together. Do we do something together, sometimes, I have beautiful family.

[i] Nice to hear that. I pretty much know where you stand now in terms of studies and future plans. Of course, you’re young. But have you experienced events in your life that were very important to you? Key moments that changed your life?

[r] Yes, coming to Holland changed my life. Everything has changed. I mean, I have to be responsible for a lot of things now. Yeah, I didn’t actually do anything in Syria. My dad did everything outside, and my mom inside, for example. But now I have to translate, for example, I have to talk to a lot of people, talk. I always go with my dad to his appointments, to translate as well. Or to VWN or volunteers. They have us, I also have to-

[i] you said VWN.

VWN, yeah.

[i] Refugee work.

Yeah, they always have us. Yeah, I’m always gonna be in charge of the mail that I gotta get, that we gotta get, I mean, the mail, yeah.

What do you mean, the mail?

Yeah, mail from the municipality, mail from ING.

[i] Administration, so to speak.

Yeah. I didn’t do that in Syria, only here in Holland. But I’m getting strong. Strong.

[i] Stronger.


[i] So that’s a change in your life. So you have to take up your responsibility, also towards your parents now, and your little brother. What, what does that do to you? Feelings? Is that hard? Difficult? Do you find it easy?

[r] At first I thought it was difficult. But now no, don’t. I think it’s easy now. Maybe in Syria if someone said “I want to interview you,” I’d say no. I can’t, because I’m getting scared. But not now, no. I can do anything. And I didn’t cycle in Syria either, now I learned to cycle, and I always go to school by bike. I don’t find it difficult and I really like it.

[i] So, you’re actually saying that you didn’t dare before, a lot of things. Bit scared, but now you’re not scared anymore.

[r] No.

[i] And that now you actually make your own decisions in your life.


Was that your idea to interview you, with your permission, or how was that? When I got your details, did you decide to be interviewed or-?

Not exactly. Because I discussed it with my parents first and then I can make my own decision.

[i] But then you made your own decision.

[r] Yeah, yeah. There’s no problem, so.

[i] You’re working on some things. Like learning, of course. Doing volunteer work later, where you can use your hobbies. Teaching people to draw or paint. But that time you’re here, that little year, what has it meant to you in terms of development, who else are you? Have you become different? Have you moved on? In terms of development, how are you? What you can do now, you couldn’t do before. Can you describe what that has done to you that one year, in terms of development?

[r] I’d better talk to people, give my opinion. Don’t be shy. Even in Syria, yes, I was. And, yeah, I can go out on my own. It wasn’t so safe in Syria, I always had to take the car to school. But here I can only go to my school. I also went to The Hague on my own. I didn’t dare in Syria to go to the other city. But here, here I did. Yeah, I’m getting, I’m getting stronger. Me, I dared to vomit loose first. I speak English. In Syria, I didn’t dare. But here you do. So, yeah. Yeah, the contact, got better than in Syria.

[i] What are you proud of? Of, yeah. Are you proud of you? If so, of what?

Of what do you mean?

[i] No, of yourself.

[r] Yes, I’m proud of myself. Cause I’ve been working really hard. And I always see the results. Yeah, yeah. I’m proud of my parents. Cause, his life’s different anyway. For example, my dad doesn’t have a job. He has to learn the language, and he does, he doesn’t do anything. I find that very difficult for him. So, yeah, I’m proud of them. Because they can live and get used to life here. Yeah, everything’s different here. And I’m also proud of Syrians in general. Because they’re really very handsome. And yes, they don’t have an education now, for example they have to repeat his education here in the Netherlands. Because in Syria is different than here, but they continue to work hard and yes, I think that’s very good, and I’m proud of it.

[i] You have been away from Syria for less than a year now. Do you miss anything else in Syria?

[r] Everything. I miss my family, my girlfriends and my country. My town. The sea. The weather. Because the weather here is always annoying, in Syria no, we have very hot weather. And I miss my language. It’s easier for me to get in touch, it’s easier for me to get in touch with people. Because that’s Arabic than in the Netherlands. Yes, I can say anything and here I have to try, sometimes I don’t understand if my pronunciation is not so. Yes, I have trouble with it. That’s why I miss my country. But I will improve my language.

[i] Well said. Do you think you’ve adapted well to life in Holland or do you still have trouble with that? The adaptation. You’re rooted in society?

[r] You mean get used to it?

[i] Yes.

[r] A little, not like that.

[i] What’s difficult about that?

[r] In society. It’s very different for me. I have to get used to it. So far I don’t have any Dutch girlfriends, for example. I have a language coach, who I meet every week, we can speak language. Yes, but, every time is different. Sometimes a joke, or an idiot, idiom, Dutch idiom I don’t understand. Yeah, yeah, but it gets easier in the future. I’ve been living for 1 year, so yes. For example, after 5 years I can get used to it. But so far it’s going well. The Dutch are very nice.

[i] You say you don’t have any Dutch girlfriends. That’s because of the language barrier, I think.

[r] No, because I was at a school, where all the people there are Syrians. So, yeah. Maybe in the switch year I’ll meet Dutch people. Maybe, but now I didn’t have a chance to meet Dutch people.

[i] The city of Utrecht. You said you liked the city. You mentioned some places. Do you want to stay here or do you say I’m going to another city?

No, I want to live here. Because if I go to Rotterdam, for example, I want to go back to Utrecht. I feel at home. Utrecht means my own city. And a beautiful city. I know all the streets now. I don’t want to change everything now. I know it. I like it, so I want to stay here.

[i] There’s a good match with the city?


Nice. But what makes it so attractive Utrecht? You said something about the neighborhood being quiet. But what else is so nice about Utrecht?

The people here. All the people here are Dutch, Moroccan, Turkish. It’s not that people here come from countries. I think that’s better. To have contact with the Dutch. Yes, and it’s not so big, it’s small, and you can see everything, something, something organized for example. Few trams. [trams] That’s better.

[i] Little what?

[r] Trams.


Trams, yeah.


[r] That’s better, and you always have to come to Utrecht if you want to go to another city. The heart of Holland.

[i] Okay, but are you disappointed in anything in Holland? What were your expectations when you came here? When you found Holland, the expectations. Did they come true, did they, the expectations of you come true or not?

[r] Yes, do you mean with society or?

[i] Yes, with your life. How it goes, your plans, of course. Everybody has a plan, did they come true or do you say no that’s–

I think it’s too easy to study. I still find the language too easy. When I came here, yeah, I other things, I have to work more hard. If you want to go to college, that’s very difficult, for foreigners. Have to do the transition year and take the exam, VWO for example. HBO, learning the language very well. Always the new words, you can’t do all the words. You also have to take the Staatsexamen, I didn’t know that.

[i] That’s the only disappointment actually that it’s harder to learn the language faster, but otherwise you don’t have any disappointments in your life?

[r] No, no.

[i] We’ve talked about your life. If I may recap. You said you were from Syria, Latakia. Lived in Holland for one year now. You actually went to school shortly after that to learn. So you’re busy learning. But you will also volunteer at a studio to teach older people how to paint. You are building up your life. You want to go to a university or college. You want to do architecture to rebuild your country. I see a lot of passion in you, a lot of energy. I see that as actually great achievements. In the sense that you’re already making your contributions to society. You’re studying. That’s hard work, huh. And you’re volunteering. I see that as a contribution. Is that how you see it? Or isn’t that what you’re saying?

Yeah, I guess so. Yeah, I mean it’s good.

[i] Contribute to society, to the city where you live. I see what you’re doing right now, that’s a form of contribution to society.

[r] Yeah.

[i] So, you see it that way, too?

[r] Yes.

[i] Okay, before I finish the interview, I’d like to ask one last question. Of course, you’re very short in Holland. 1 year. Of course you have a residence permit. But in 5 years you will be allowed to become a Dutch citizen.

[r] Yeah, maybe.

[i] Do you want that? If so, why do you want that?

[r] Yes, I do. Because, after 5 years, maybe I’d get Dutch. I have here. I live here. I study here. And I’m learning here. And I want to get a lot of experience. So, maybe, yeah. I want to, yeah. But no one knows what would happen after five years. But the idea, yeah.

[i] But that means you’d have to give up Syrian citizenship.

[r] Why? Can’t you do it together?

[i] I happen to know that you can’t.

Would that be a problem for you?

[r] Yes, maybe yes. That’s a problem.

See, actually, you don’t know yet. You’d like it.

Yeah, yeah.

[i] You actually want to become a Dutchman but retain your own nationality.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] You’ll still be a Syrian, of course. No one can take that away from you. But it’s a passport, a piece of paper. But the law now is that you have to renounce your own nationality.

[r] Yes, I find that difficult. Because we have a country. Why? We have our own nationality. I know you do. So, that’s not a problem, for me.

[i] Okay, we’re almost at the end of our interview. I’d like to ask you to give us another chance to tell us what you forgot, what you really want people to know about you, about your family, about Syrians in general. Do you have anything to add to the story?

I want to say to all people that nothing is impossible. You can do anything if you work very hard. And yes, you have to think about the future and not think about other reasons. But only now. This moment, this is important. And yes, life is very beautiful. Maybe we don’t get many things or we don’t get what we want. But that’s not so bad, that’s not so bad. You can change everything and yes, that was it.

[i] Thank you for your beautiful and wonderful story.

[r] You’re welcome.

[i] And on this one, I close our interview. Thank you again.