Refugees Share Their Stories in UU Podcasts

“If you don't have a status, you don't have anything.”

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An intimate look at the experience of seeking asylum in the Netherlands is given in three podcasts. In this powerful set of personal interviews, we learn about the challenging and often traumatic process of the asylum procedure and building a new life in the Netherlands. We hear directly from newcomers about their experiences of despair, resilience and their suggestions for a better process. Here's a sneak-peek into their stories:

Fatma from Turkey

Fatma describes life in the asylum seekers’ centre, both good and bad. She studied courses through the Incluusion programme and applied for a Master’s programme. She felt she didn’t have enough information about how she should send the application. The grading system, motivation letter, and references were different in her home country. She needed her application documents to be in the perfect shape, but she didn’t know what this shape was. Her classmates and teachers helped her with the application and she got accepted. For people who are negative about refugees, she says that people are really trying to integrate. Nobody comes here just for the sake of being here, there is a lot of hard work in integrating in a new country.

Idris from Sudan

Among other things, Idris talks about how differently people perceive you when you are no longer a tourist, but a refugee. He shares his struggles and frustrations in trying and failing to be admitted to a university Master’s programme. And he shares that he experienced there are preconceived stereotypes about him not only in society, but also in institutions: if your last name is not Dutch, you have way less chance to be called back by a company.

Refugee from Iran (anonymous)

In the first episode, a refugee student reflects on her experience of relocating to the Netherlands, the process of the asylum procedure and her personal experiences with the IND interviews, which will lead to an asylum seeker either getting a refugee status or being rejected. She also describes how being part of the university made her happy and gave her the opportunity to learn new things. She was, however, not prepared for the new education system which made her feel out of place.

Unsettling Knowledge Podcast

These podcasts were produced by Rachel Gillett and Malina Yallanki, with the support of the EDI Office and Incluusion. The three podcasts are part of a larger series called “Unsettling Knowledge”: from the Dutch rice table and contested street names to the Eurovision Song Contest, sports and racism, the "Unsettling Knowledge" podcast reflects on how empires and colonization have shaped contemporary society and culture. 

Together, hosts Rachel Gillett and Matthijs Kuipers, speak with scholars, community members and experts to uncover traces of empires in the present and confront controversial topics head-on with those involved. 

You can find the podcasts on the Decolonisation group-website or directly on Soundcloud.

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