From the Point of View of… Baraa Alnawakil

“Within a few weeks, I already knew that I had been granted refugee status. That was very good news. It was a feeling of complete awe. I was now a resident of a new country and I took it upon myself to learn about my new duties, culture and language.”

What was it like, going to a Dutch university? “It was a privilege. And totally different. In Syria, you have this hierarchy in the universities. The professor is someone who comes, gives the lecture, and leaves. The students listen to the professor and do what he says and there is not a lot of room for discussion. Here, it is not that way at all. You can discuss things with your professor and he listens to you and helps and supports you. You have this connection, this relation. I remember I was in one of the lectures and the students called the professor by his first name. In Syria, this would be considered a lack of respect. Academically, I think the way it is done here is much better; it motivates you and gives you the creativity to expand upon your knowledge. It encourages you to be critical and to find arguments that support your point of view. This is how you develop and learn. Instead of just receiving knowledge and repeating it. To me, it was fascinating.”

Stephanie Dijkstra
2019 Spring

← Back