[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 in two ways. From here to here or vice versa. Yeah. I mean, I used to want to be a ballerina. But that was a little hard, because in the future I wanted 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 with dancing, this life gets 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?

[r] Maybe 4 or 5 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 about 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 a beautiful town by the sea called Latakia. I lived with my parents and my little brother. I had a big family there, lots of friends. I went to school. Yeah, 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? Take an example, what do you remember of Latakia?

[r] Yeah, every Friday I went with my family, my grandfather, my aunt, my grandmother and my parents and brother to a, to the park. We have a big park there. It’s called Madina Riadiya. And we played there together, cycled, 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 that?

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?

[r] Yes, Latakia.

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

[r] The last house was, yes, I lived there, yes, 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 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 bigger.

[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] Yes, I do have girlfriends, and so far I’ve been in contact 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, same place, too. It’s really big. Yeah, it was very big. We could always play there, we could always play there.

[i] What were you playing with?

[r] With my friends who were at school.

[i] But I mean the toys.

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

With what?


A ball.


And not with Barbie?

Yeah, too.

Also, but only. Cause I got a little brother. He doesn’t like Barbies.

[i] Okay.

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

[i] Private, private school?

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

[i] A trophy?

[r] Yes.

[i] Okay, and what was that trophy?

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

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

Yeah, if you get high results, you get that trophy like…

[i] A statue like that, statue? Or something else?

Yeah, a cup.

[i] Okay, did you get it or not? Did you get it?

[r] Yeah, yeah.

[i] Nice.

[i] 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 nice memories about Sugar Festival, too. We have, like, two, one Sugar Festival a year. 3 days we always go to my grandmother’s, yeah.

Is she still alive?


[i] Okay.

[r] I’ve also contacted her through Whatsapp. We need to talk every day.

[i] Should we?

Yeah, should, should.

And what exactly do you remember from this Sugar Festival? What was the most fun?

Yeah, every Sugar Festival, we bought new toys. She wanted that. My dad wanted that. Yeah, as a present. Then we got money, too, from my grandma or my grandpa, or my dad, my uncle [uncle] , yeah, my whole family. That’s a traditional thing. And we wore new clothes, too. And we 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 intention from the man, the woman or the person who brought it for me. But I love Barbies.

[i] Do you?

[r] Yeah.

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

[r] No, I’m afraid not.

[i] Did you bring any of those toys, 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 to high school after elementary 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. 3 years.

What’s the name of that school?

Maher Ajanzaher. Also by the sea.

What do you remember from that time of high school?

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

[i] You finished high school or not?

[r] 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 go to Holland. Yeah, I didn’t have a chance to take the exam.

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

[r] Yeah.

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

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

[r] Yes, in November 2014 my father came to the Netherlands, and we stayed in Syria, and we waited 9 months to get here. My father came here with a ship, a big one. He stays in the sea for 7 days and we don’t know anything about him or anything, we couldn’t call him or anything. Yes, and in August, last 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 we could with our passports.

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

[r] Yeah, yeah. [r] 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. Then you and your father went to Holland.

[r] Yes.

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

[r] Oh, some tall people. Very tall people, blonde and it was 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 very quiet here, too. Quiet country. Not as crowded as in…

You said quiet. Maybe you were looking for peace after so much misery in Syria.

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 [the Dam] . 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 visited. But I mean, you came straight home from your dad’s?

[r] No, first we went to Tilburg to stay with my dad’s boyfriend. My, my dad’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 this house, this, this house.

This house?

What do you think of this house?

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

[i] That was in August of 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. ROC, I’m going to do a transition year in the ROC. But I learned the language in Lest Best.

[i] Lest Best.

Yeah. A language school, course. I did 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 vocabulary, yes.

[i] Develop your vocabulary.

Yeah, develop it. I had to go to the school 3 days a week, every class, 2.5 hours.

[i] So you started school in October, at Lest Best.

[r] Lest Best, yeah.

[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.

[i] And I’m gonna do a switch year in ROC.

What does that mean, transition year?

[r] Yes, we have to study different subjects, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and language, 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 or Hogeschool Utrecht after 1 year.

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

[r] In college?

[i] Yeah.

[r] I want to study architecture.

[i] Why did you choose architecture?

Why? Because, yes, 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.

[i] And do you know how you want to do that? 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?

[r] Yeah.

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 of things on TV, situations, the bombings and so on. 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 Tuyllkade. It’s a very nice neighborhood, find it very quiet and safe. We have nice neighbors here actually. We always say hello. And yes, they come to visit too.

[i] Okay, do you, do you have a lot of 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 [name] . But now she went to Eindhoven. She moved. Yeah, and we have another neighbor. Yeah, we always say hello, but he didn’t come to visit yet. He hasn’t come to visit yet.

[i] Do you have any more contact with neighbors?

[r] No. Cause we have trouble with that. We have trouble with that, 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? Is that your family or someone else?

[r] Unfortunately, I have no family here. But I have, we have, my aunt lives in Belgium. Antwerp. She came to visit us too, 2 days ago. But that’s all. We have friends here, Syrians. Are around here. Here on the same sidewalk and also on another street. And 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? If you don’t go to school or…?

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

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

[r] Yes, the center further, I love 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, it turns. [off-road Mill or Westbroek Mill] The river. Yeah, very nice.

[i] And if you go to the 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, shops and also Hoog Catharijne.

[i] 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, studio.

[i] What kind of studio is that?

[r] Yes, it helps the older people, the elderly with painting or drawing. What do they want? Do they want colors, do they want red or orange? What do they want, we can help them. Yeah, I’ve never done that, not yet. But I will, also in September. But I have an 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 Lest Best, they said we could do a volunteer to improve our language.

[r] And something fun to do, in free time. I think yes, that’s very nice, I want to do that. We’re going to Volunteer Centre in Utrecht. Yeah, I’ve met a lot of nice people there too. I’ve seen a woman there who 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 not so far from my house, either. It’s in Overvecht. Can walk there if I want.

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

[r] Yeah.

[i] Tell me about it.

Yeah, I went to ROC. I went to the ROC, with my mother to ask, yeah. What do I have to do if I want to study there? But I, too, my teacher in Lest Best helped me. And we meet a teacher who works there. I got enough information and I did an intake test, June or July. In July.

[i] Okay.

[r] With Dutch, English, Maths 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 to learn about transition year. I can do that in Amsterdam, Free University. And I went there to ask, but I chose here. Because it’s not that far. I can go by bus.

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

My mom and dad go to school, a… school at church. They’re also at A1 level. And my little brother goes to ISK.

What is that ISK?

[r] ISK 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 camp, 3 days, yeah, in town, 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 still young. But have you experienced any 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 changed. I mean, I have to be responsible for a lot of things now. Yeah, in Syria, I wasn’t actually doing anything. My dad did everything, outside, and my mom inside, for example. But now I have to translate, for example, I have to talk, talk to a lot of people. I always go with my father to his appointments, to translate as well. Or to VWN or volunteers. They help us, I also have to…

You said VWN.

VWN, yes.

Refugee work.


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

What do you mean, the mail?

Yeah, mail from the municipality, mail from ING, mail…

[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. You have to take responsibility, even to your parents now, 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 get 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 like it a lot.

[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’re actually making your own decisions in your life.


Was that idea of interviewing you your idea, with your permission, or how was that? When I gave you your details, did you decide to be interviewed or…?

[r] Not exactly. Cause 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 did, you did 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 yes, 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 another city. But here, here I did. Yeah, I’m getting, I’m getting stronger. Me, I dared to speak English 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, they live different lives. For example, my dad doesn’t have a job right now. 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 very well until now and get used to life here in the Netherlands. 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 first, sometimes they don’t understand my pronunciation like that. Yes, I have trouble with it. That’s why I miss my language. But I will improve my language.

[i] Well said. Do you think you have adapted well to life in the Netherlands 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. I don’t have any Dutch girlfriends, for example. I have a language coach. Every week, we can speak together. 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. I like the Dutch very much.

[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, say, Rotterdam, I want to go back to Utrecht. I feel at home. Utrecht means […] city. And a beautiful city. I know all the streets now. I don’t want anything else now. I know it. I like it and I want to stay here.

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


[i] Nice. But what makes it so attractive to you 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 like that, people from other countries, tourists. 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] , that’s better.

[i] Little what?

[r] Trams.

[i] Trams.

[r] Trams. Yeah, subways.


[r] That’s better, and you always have to come to Utrecht if you want to go to another city. It’s 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] Yeah, you mean with society or?

[i] Yes, with your life. How you doing? You have plans, of course. Everybody has a plan. Have they come true or do you say no that’s not…

[r] I find it easy to study. I want language too easy. When I came here, yes, I other things, I have to work more hard. If you want to go to university, that’s very difficult, for foreigners. Have to do the transition year and take the exam, VWO for example, or HBO, learn the language very well. Always the new words, you can’t learn 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 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 contributing 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?

[r] Yeah, I guess so. Yeah, I mean it’s good, maybe.

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

[r] Yeah.

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

[r] Yeah, yeah, exactly like that.

[i] 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] Yes, 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 it can’t.

Would that be a problem for you?

Yeah, maybe yeah. That’s a problem.

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


[i] Become a Dutchman but retain your own nationality.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] Of course, you’ll still be Syrian. You can’t take that away from anyone. But it’s a passport, a piece of paper. But the law is now 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 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. 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, wonderful story.

[r] You’re welcome.

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