Student - 9 maart 2017

‘Are you a refugee?’

Since arriving in the Dutch ‘city of life sciences’, life has not ceased to entertain me. One incident, or rather a chain of events, particularly intrigued me. Several Dutch people in and outside of Wageningen have asked me: ‘Are you a refugee?’ When I replied: ‘No, I am a student from India’, they said: ‘Okay! Then it’s cool!’

At first, I didn’t understand this, but when I probed deeper, I realized that many Dutch people have a morbid fear of having refugees around them. ‘They are different, man!’, they said to me. ‘Come on’, I said, ‘they are not so bad.’ ‘Well, one cannot say what they might do.’

Apparently people in the Netherlands, Germany and other European nations experience the coming of refugees from Syria, among other countries, as a social problem. Although most Dutch people will never say anything bad, their anxiety is apparent. And since I have somewhat similar features as the people from refugee camps – or so my Dutch friends think – I find myself in a difficult predicament, for I am also categorised as ‘problematic’.

I cannot comment on whether this new situation in the Netherlands is good or bad and I don’t know whether the anxiety of the Dutch is justifiable. As a rule, they are friendly and forthcoming and I just hope this stays the same. Anyhow, I prefer not to be mistaken for a refugee.

Pranav Kulkarni, Master’s student of Animal Sciences, from India

Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to resource@wur.nl and earn twenty-five euro and Dutch candy.

NL: Geen vluchteling

Nederlanders vragen Pranav Kulkarni vaak of hij een vluchteling is. Als hij dan antwoordt: ‘Nee, ik ben een student uit India’, zeggen ze: ‘Oké, dan is het goed.’ De vraag verwonderde Pranav, tot hij doorkreeg dat veel mensen in Nederland de komst van vluchtelingen uit Syrië en andere landen als een sociaal probleem zien. ‘Ik kan niet zeggen of deze nieuwe situatie in Nederland goed of slecht is en of de angst van de Nederlanders terecht is’, zegt Pranav. ‘Maar ik word liever niet aangezien voor een vluchteling.’

Re:acties 2

  • Eridanus

    It just shows how xenophobic our country has become, or has always secretly been.

  • Carolina Da Silva

    I can't really explain how unhappy I felt when I read this; but I will try. In my opinion, this is very disrespectful with the refugees and indicates a lack of empathy with others struggle and pain. I invite the author to read what he wrote replacing the word refugee by Indian, as an exercise. Also: what is with this ilustration? Do you guys think is funny all the pain and fear people are facing to try to save their lives? I don't. In my opinion, this should not had happened and I think it might give uninformed people a very bad first impression of Wageningen, if they come across this text. Unnecessary and sad.


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