“You have no freedom there”

My name is Emre, I am from Turkey. I was born in 1985 in central Turkey, in Nevşehir, which is close to Cappadocia. I finished primary school there, and because my father was in the Netherlands, after that I went to the Netherlands with my mother and brother. I came here in 2000. I do not have a Turkish nationality, I have the Dutch nationality.

I went to an international school here, secondary school in The Hague. I also went to Haagse Hogeschool to study, but that didn’t really work out because the language was difficult. Then I decided if I can’t study in the Netherlands I should try to work, so I started working at the supermarket. That was difficult, even though I have the capacity, but working in a supermarket is not for me. But I worked in the supermarket for 6-7 years.

After a while in the Netherlands Emre made the choice to go back to Turkey: “I said that the Netherlands is not for me to study because the language is difficult. So I decided to go to Istanbul and study theology. But theology isn’t for me, it’s not that interesting. So after that, in Kayseri, near Ankara, I started International Business and Management studies. That’s a lot of mathematics, but also a lot of subjects so a very general course, including marketing, also macro-economics and statistics. That was difficult for me but I completed the study. That was in 2015.”

During that period however the situation in Turkey was very difficult: “In Turkey the situation was difficult because of the political circumstances. That time was difficult, our university was closed and our teacher was put in prison. After that I decided to go back to the Netherlands because if I stayed in Turkey there would be a good chance that I would also be in prison, due to the political situation there.

“I also have a lot of family in Turkey, but my father and mother are in the Netherlands. It is sometimes difficult to live here but you are free here, so you can say your opinion, you can do anything you want, you have freedom. But in Turkey, no. You have no freedom there. So I think living in the Netherlands is good. But it is easy in the Netherlands if you have a car and you also have public transport.”

Emre lives in Alphen aan den Rijn now, and has been taking Dutch language classes with Reach&Teach. Although the classes are going well, the online situation can make things more difficult: “This is my first year at Reach & Teach, I am doing Dutch lessons. If I talk honestly, I find it difficult, because I am used to sitting together in class and then having a nice chat, but I find online lessons difficult, but, I have no other choice.

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