Celebrating the People on the Street Part 2
- Q: Has being a board member of ACE changed you in any way?
- A: Yes, I think it changes everyone. You kind of have to become a new person. I think identity has to do with what you’re doing and who you are around. So working in a professional environment molds who you are. I’m suddenly being way too formal with my friends and family. Even with my parents! It’s really strange.
- Q: Is it difficult to balance being a student and being a board member?
- A: Yes, because when you’re working in a team things become more important than your own individual life. Of course the study is important, but that’s something that’s just for me. Somehow when you’re working together with other people their work and that everything goes together smoothly becomes more important.
- Q: What do you like about working here?
- A: Well, I live really close… so that’s nice!
- Q: When was the moment you realised the world was unequal?
- A: There is actually no particular event that I can be name or would remember where I realised the world was unequal but rather a period in my life. After graduating from high school I volunteered abroad for a year in Chile- one of those white kids volunteering jobs that make you feel better – I was working in an educational project with kids with a very low socio-economic background. What I realised back then was how the amount of opportunities I have had are because of passport, country and how in future they will open doors for me where as other people who are just as bright and deserve at least the same opportunities don’t have this opportunity just because of the place where they were born or the circumstances they were born in. I think also, you can very much link this to the current refugee crisis. In my home country Germany there are many people who question if we are taking in too many refugees and I think there is a similar debate all over Europe – why should we help refugees? – What we have to realise is that we could be those people. They are people with good hearts and who deserve the same opportunities that I was lucky to have in my life.
- Q: Can you give one piece of advice?
- A: Many things that are seen as a problem in the present, or that we worry about or are angry about in retrospect you can laugh about them, so life is a joke sometimes and you shouldn’t take life too seriously. You should focus on things with which you have influence over and things you can control.
- Q: Do you have an example.
- A: If you have a flat tire it could make your mood very negative for the whole day. But in reality, it is not really a very big problem. These things happen, you have to accept that you can’t change it which should help your negative mood to disappear. You should always focus on your circle of influence and try not to worry about what is in your circle of concern because you can’t change it.
- Q: When do you feel most yourself?
- A: It sounds crazy, no.. maybe it doesn’t sound that crazy. If I get up and I have things to do that day, it doesn’t really matter what they are, but they are commitments I have like school, work or just having a coffee – you know with a friend, not by myself – then I get ready and I get on my bike – I feel myself. Cycling across the bridge with somewhere to go, preferably if the weather is nice.
- Q: What was your most beautiful thought today?
- A: Thank god it’s friday!
- Q: What are you doing right now?
- A: I’m just waiting for my dad to go to the bathroom then we are driving home so I can get surgery on my arm for the second time.
- Q: What is or has been your biggest struggle?
- A: Accepting that people won’t always understand my brothers condition and that it is normal for people to be scared at first. I had experiences when I was little, when I brought friends home and they were scared of him, he doesn’t always have control over what he is doing and doesn’t understand the consequences – he can just pull people hair. Now I don’t care anymore, I know my brother, I know who he is and he is an important part of my life.
- Q: Can you give one piece of advice about moving to the Netherlands?
- A: Get ready to not see the sun, if you’re from the south! Also, if you come from a collective culture where you are used to doing everything with other people, you have to get used to doing things on your own.
- Q: Can you give an example?
- A: Going to the supermarket is an example, at home [in Spain] everyone from your house would go together and you would cook together. Here everyone goes separately and has dinner and different times.
By Nora Fiskaa Ljostad (embrACE) & Olivia Hobden (Credo)
This article is a collaboration with embrACE the magazine for the International Faculty Association for the faculty of Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC). You can pick up a printed version of this article (and many more) from the outside the ACE offices in M7 and around campus.