I like to listen to what my heart says and do what I want. My name is Rima, I am a Kurdish 21-year-old girl from Aleppo, Syria. First, my family lived in the Kurdish regions in Syria in the North, but there were always problems with Arabs and Kurds. Even though Syria is Arab in origin the Kurds were living there before. Many people dislike the Kurds. However, with the war, everything changed. People used to be impolite to us, but with the onset of the
Our decision to leave is hard to explain. You have to leave your country behind. However, you are leaving it in a way you do not recognize. It no longer is your country as your country once was due to all the changes. For me, it was really difficult because I had to finish school first. Going to school during wartime is tough. I was still doing my A-Levels when the war started. Of course, we did not know that it would become even more difficult. So, we stayed for another two years in Aleppo. I finished my Abitur and even started studying Architecture for one year. But it wasn’t long until I had to stay home because going to university was too dangerous.
Now, I am in my first semester of Architecture in Weimar. I always loved architecture. In school, I was in the drawing club, and since those early days, I just knew I want to build things and create all kinds of new things. One day I will be a successful architect and I will make new things that people have yet to discover or make. My studies here are so different
Being a woman in Syria is of course very different. You are treated like you are no more than a weak person that cannot handle oneself. Even though there were a lot of girls
Back in Syria, everything has to do with society and religion. However, religion and society are two pairs of shoes that should not be tied together. The society does not understand religion. Society misunderstands these two pairs of shoes too often and is shaped by male perspectives. The people have to find their own way. It is neither the fault of society nor religion. In Germany, I see the benefit of learning and being influenced by German culture. It affects me, and in turn, influences of both cultures will affect each other. I believe that cultural exchange benefits and enhances society. While German society has welcomed us in such a warm and nice way, I believe that integration takes time. Within time we will just learn to accept each other. I think it can be done if we simply have our hearts clear and open to others. The problems always seem the same – each person has his or her own ideas. It is important to listen to each other, hear different ideas and work with one another to find the best ideas together. I try always to look at the souls of people and treat people as they treat me, and I believe this to be the best approach.
When I first came to Germany, it felt very strange to be in this new country with all these new faces, new behaviors and this language that I did not understand. Now, I do not feel strange anymore – I like Germany, there are so many things that I like about this open-minded culture. However, of
Interview by Flora Roenneberg #Education4Integration campaign, sponsored by H&M Foundation