Interview with: Babet, from the Netherlands, student social work at Saxion Enschede

My motivation to participate in Keeping Democracy Alive was that I wanted to do something other than a regular educational programme. I wanted to learn about myself and I wanted to discover how I am in a different country alone. I never went anywhere completely by myself.

For me, the Keeping Democracy Alive programme was mainly about how you can help other youngsters to participate in democracy and society, how you can have a voice, and how you can decide what you want. I wanted to develop my competences and qualities, because I want to become a good social worker later on and I think this helps with this development. I could learn how I work in groups, etc.

Since the programme has ended, I have a new view of myself: I realised that a lot of people like me and that I can be myself – no matter what. When you are yourself, you are the best you can be. A lot of people are not themselves and that is very annoying for me, because I think that we can and have to be ourselves. For me, the most surprising was that I made so many friends on such a short notice. I cared so much about people that I didn’t really know… Some connections were even much stronger than I had in my “real” life. It was very strange to discover these feelings.

“Since the programme has ended, I have a new view of myself: I realised that a lot of people like me and that I can be myself – no matter what. When you are yourself, you are the best you can be.”

The activity that interested me most was Take A Step Forward. We heard sentences about the rights of people living in a country. When it applied to someone with a specific role (like student, unemployed, politician, etc) we had to take a step forward. Finally, we could really see the differences. I thought “wow, In Finland and the Netherlands people are way higher some other countries. They were having way fewer opportunities than we have in the Netherlands. I think that was very sad to see. Everyone should have the same opportunities, but a lot of people don’t have that.

Since the programme I am more interested in society. I am reading the news more than before. Before I was not like “woooow, what’s happening?”. It was new to me that I became more interested in these topics. Now I am asking myself questions about what is happening here and there. Before I was not caring a lot, while now I am sometimes really touched when I hear news messages. If this happens I now discuss it with my parents as well. In general, I have more discussion with others about society and I feel more mature than I was before.

I made the following programmes possible;

Keeping Democracy Alive

Stay Human 2 – Gender Based Violence and LGBT+ Rights