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  • Writer's pictureHumans of International Studies


At the Queer Leiden Association, I find it important to show our community that there is a safe space and provide them with support. Because in Poland the queer community is oppressed, this association is a huge opportunity to express myself here more and act against what is happening there. At QL events, I know that I can speak my mind freely, and I know the others will understand my struggles and issues. Community is about helping and supporting each other. Being with people who are close to me makes me feel better, and I forget my struggles for a little while. I think it's all about the people. I’m also a self-learning musician. When I want to learn a song I just do it. There is something magical about it that once I am playing and singing I feel like nothing else matters. I get invested in it and it feels nice to be disconnected from the world and focus on what you are doing. I also really like writing and find it more exciting to make my own story than reading someone else’s because you get to enjoy it while actively creating it. The level to which the world is rotten disgusts me, which might be extreme, but I believe that people in power need to change or there needs to be a change of attitude to prioritise the wellbeing of the people or the planet rather than accumulating economic growth. I’d like to do a lot to change things, but it’s hard to overcome structural barriers. From what I see, the leaders of the world are not willing to cooperate. One single person cannot change the entire system, but it's important to spread awareness in our daily lives, which is what I am trying to do. First, the masses have to express the need for change. Here, education is much more inclusive, teachers are more open-minded and education is less politicised. What was mind-opening was how the things that we take as a given are social constructs, like race or ethnicity, but really it's just how the West decided to look at the world. I have learned how to critically approach all the knowledge and beliefs we have.

(Lena, 1st year, Poland)

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