Jalal Vatmani

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I try as much as I can to become a Dane and behave like any other citizen in Denmark. I try to learn about Danish culture and language, but it probably won't be 100 percent perfect. I work and pay my taxes, and they are some of the most important factors for me. I used to be a Muslim, but I have converted to Christianity. Denmark is my new home, and here I am fine. I miss my family, but we meet whenever possible in a country that is not chasing me, close to my homeland.

I get really sad when people humiliate me. I have experienced that people believe that I am a freeloading refugee, and have chosen Denmark consciously, because I wanted to sponge off society. But I didn't know about Denmark. I knew the country existed, but nothing about what it was like.

As a Kurd in Iran, you have to go to a Persian school, talk like a Persian and behave like a Persian. When you are in a country like Denmark, you should behave like a Dane, but Denmark and Iran are very different. Because in Denmark, I have the same obligations and rights as the Danes. I didn't have that in Iran.

In the beginning, I never thought I could learn Danish, but now I have become quite good at it. My Danish girlfriend still laughs at me when, for example, I say "humokolse" instead of "hukommelse" (memory). We sort of have our own version of Danish at home.

I have been working for a year now, and I have come a long way with regard to slang and professional jargon, and I have even learned something that my Danish girlfriend calls “craftsman humour”. Humour is also very important in order to function well socially.


Jalal Vatmani / 29 / male / Danish girlfriend / labourer / Rønne / Kurd from Iran / came to Denmark in 2015 / residence permit in 2017