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TINA (3rd year)

“As soon as you try to move outside the square, in which immigrants are expected to be in, things become a bit difficult. An example of that would be being treated as a guest, which might seem innocent at first sight. However, I do not see myself as simply a guest since I also contribute to the Dutch economy through paying an international tuition fee rate and working for a Dutch university. To give some context:

I lived in Iran for 20 years and I was lucky enough to be born in the capital Tehran. I moved to the Netherlands in 2019 after having studied sociology in Tehran, so just before the Covid outbreak. To move here in 2019 was a very stressful time as the Iranian currency dropped very suddenly to a fifth of its former value. So apart from the pandemic, I was also encountering other economic and administrative hurdles in my life, during which the university environment proved to be a very welcoming and safe space, to which I, an international student, could belong to. Despite this welcoming environment, I would still say that I had the typical immigrant experience, during which you do not feel like a complete part of the new society you are living in, but you are also not being recognised as a complete citizen back home. An example of that stems from my work in the university council. While my mainly Dutch colleagues perceived some of my statements as being too complicated and unnecessarily polite, friends and family back home would often point out my direct rudeness when visiting them back home. I would like to raise awareness for those Internationals, who are mostly left alone in their experiences and help to build a space in which our interests can be voiced – which is why I engage in the student body so actively. Because I am convinced that I am an immigrant – but I am not a guest.” (Tina, 3rd year, Tehran; Iran)




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