I am 100% Syrian. I don’t think I will ever feel Danish. People will always ask me where I come from.
I was 14 years old when I fled on my own to Denmark. My parents were well-known activists, so we could all have been exposed during the escape if they came with me. It was really terrible leaving my family and my homeland. I left everything I knew, and I didn’t know where I was going or whether I would ever see my family again. We flew to Algeria, drove and walked to Lebanon, and from there by boat to Italy. I was scared and I felt completely alone. On the way I wasn’t able to get in touch with my family, and this made me even more anxious. It took us about a month to travel to Denmark, and when I look back at my journey, I know that I was one of the lucky ones. Many disappeared during the journey. On arrival, I was put in a residential institution for children and young people. I couldn’t speak the language, and it was unpleasant, but it also forced me to learn Danish really fast. Every day I would sit in my room and teach myself five verbs. After two years I was reunited with my parents. It was the best day of my life.
Being on my own from 14 to 16 made me very independent, so it hasn’t been easy living with my parents again. I am used to making my own decisions, and even though they had many rules at the institution, it is quite different being in my parent’s custody again. They also have a hard time. They have lost everything, and it is tough to see them having to start their lives all over again.
17 years / female / single / 10th grade / Birkerød / from Syria / came to Denmark in 2014 / residence permit in 2015