When I came to Denmark, I only felt a little foreign, even though I did not know the language, society or culture. But now, after six years of working, learning Danish, and being a volunteer, I feel very, very foreign.
I made an experiment when I came to Denmark. The first day I went to my flat, I bought flowers for my neighbours. I told them who I was, and that I was hoping we would become good neighbours. They were kind and said thank you – and that was it. People are very helpful if you ask them for help, but it never becomes a relationship. But I can see now that the Danes are also like that to each other.
I dream that people perceive me as an individual, and respect that I come from a different culture, and that we can learn from each other. No one should claim that he is better than me because he is Danish and I am Syrian. You can have better skills - be better at work, more active in society. You can compare activity, but not colour or nationality. What I miss most in my life, is that I don’t always have to prove that I am a good person.
I am a volunteer in the Red Cross and at an IT café at the library, because I think I owe something to the community due to all of the good things it has done for me. In Syria we have always been told that we should help others if we can. In Denmark, it is more organized. Here everything goes through associations. I prefer the Danish model. If I favored the Syrian, I would have to change the whole lifestyle here.
34 / male / married / one child / civil engineer in business development / Herning / from Syria, Kurdish background / came to Denmark in 2013 / residence permit same year.