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|Lees Christella’s verhaal in het Nederlands|

It is late afternoon. A sharp April wind cuts into my face. As I get off the tram, I see a middle-aged woman approaching me. A while later, lost at the Oostende coast, I would ask the same woman the way. The woman stopped, like she was trying to imagine all the different scenarios that could have possibly led to this moment. She looks at me inquisitively, and asks: “Are you from Surinam or something?”

Ok, I had not expected this.

Following up on her question she added: “Because your Dutch is so good!” Continue Reading

The greatest mistake of my life

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|Lees Suheyla’s verhaal in het Nederlands|

My father decided not to teach me and my brothers the Turkish language, because that would diminish our chance at a good education, or so he believed. Our school told my parents that, if we would learn the Dutch language only, we would become good students: a language deficiency must be prevented.

Regardless of the tireless efforts of my parents, my younger brother still ended up needing the help of a speech therapist. He could not pronounce the letter ‘r’ correctly. This is not very strange, as in Eindhoven the rolling ‘r’ is an unusual sound. Little did my parents know that learning two languages could have actually contributed to the language proficiency of me and my brothers.
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Why I joined the Rutu Foundation

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Language discrimination is often invisible to most people. I never really thought about it, until I read something about the language barrier in academic literature on international relations by Ole Weaver. He criticised this discipline because almost all theories, books and ideas on international relations that are considered relevant were (and still are) produced by white, American and European men.

After reading this, I felt a little uncomfortable and I had to read it again. I looked through my old textbooks and articles that I had to read for my other IR classes and it was incredible: how could I not have noticed the fact that they were all written by the same kind of person? How could I not have second-guessed the theories but always considered them to be ‘fact’? I thought I was a critical student, but this was apparently not the case.

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