News - April 5, 2017

Blind speed dating

During One World Week, ISOW and IxESN organised a speed dating session – one with a twist: during the dates, one of the two participants was blindfolded. Student editor Madhura Rao joined in to experience how it is to be on a – literally – blind date.

Foto: Remo Wormmeester

One World Week brings with it an overwhelming display of Wageningen’s rich cultural diversity and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it! As I browsed through the brochure listing the agenda, one particular event caught my attention. It was different from most other events in the sense that it wasn’t specific to a certain country or culture. The event in question was organised by ISOW and IxESN and was called “Blind Speed Dating”.

I arrived at the venue without knowing what to expect. I had never taken part in a speed dating event before, let alone ‘blind’ speed dating. Onna Nieuwenhuis from IxESN explained that One World Week is about social integration and they wanted to create awareness about living with a disability. ‘Regular speed dating is about judging people superfast based on the way they look or the way they dress. We want to take that out of the equation and then ask people if it makes a difference’, she added.

Each table had a blindfolded person awaiting their next date. I was supposed to walk up to a table of my choice. My first date was with a sweet Austrian girl named Jana. We had a really nice conversation about the most random things. We spoke about our favourite take-out meals, the cheesiest pick-up line we had ever heard, and how awful it was to have classes at 8:30 in the morning! This isn’t really difficult, I thought to myself.

Next, it was my turn to be blindfolded. As I sat at the table waiting for my next date, I began to get anxious about whether anyone would even come up to my table at all! I realised how much easier it was to be able to see and just walk up to someone’s table. Within a couple of minutes, I was joined by a Hungarian gentleman and we started talking. I was highly bothered by the fact that the other person could see me but I didn’t have the slightest idea as to what he looked like!

This experience was a highly impactful and it made me reflect upon whether I was doing enough on my part to ensure that my peers with disabilities felt accepted. The initiative was well thought out and I’m definitely looking forward to attending the next blind speed dating event!