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Entries for 'saeed'

Culture clash

Culture clash

“Saeed, wake up! We need to go to the hospital quickly. Your uncle is undergoing surgery. We are not sure what the problem is. You could probably explain it better”, said my father to me the very next day after my arrival back home in Saudi Arabia. Great, here we go again! The rumors are true, I have become the unintended family phys...

Missing

Missing

Maastricht University prides itself on its problem-based learning approach in education – a system which has been adopted by almost all Dutch universities and many others around the globe. The edge that Maastricht once had no longer exists. Therefore, the university must remedy the situation. Otherwise, the university might struggle to attrac...

Powerless

Powerless

“Please take a seat!” This is how we start the family meeting, my very first one with a doomsday scenario. We need to discuss the treatment options, although we do not foresee recovery; the patient’s health is worsening. The family wants answers that we cannot provide. They are desperate and shattered. Their father came in with a ...

A series of disappointments

A series of disappointments

I was walking through the hallways of the university, incredibly excited for my first tutorial group. I could not wait to see what would be brought on the table in an international group with different backgrounds and cultures. My first disappointment: my group consisted of ten people. Seven of them were from Saudi Arabia, like me, and the other...

Speaking Dutch

Speaking Dutch

Me: Hi, my name is Saeed Banaama. I am a medical intern at the emergency department. Do you mind if I take your history? Patient: Yes, sure. No problem. You have to learn it too. Me, with a polite smile, in an apologetic tone: Before we start I have to admit that I only recently learned Dutch and as a result, it might come across as odd or no...

Letter to the Dutchies

Letter to the Dutchies

Every time I talk to my supervisor I feel a bit guilty. It was and still is a struggle to address him on a first-name basis. Back home in Saudi Arabia you are expected to address people formally unless you are very good friends. In fact, if someone is older than you, you would always find an appropriate term for them. Now keep in mind that my super...

I want to be happy

I want to be happy

What I really want is to be happy. I would love to have a small family of four. A daughter and a son, living somewhere scenic where the children can go play outside safely. Yes, sure I would like to have enough money to be able to enjoy life, but I am definitely not aspiring to be filthy rich. I do not see the point. This is the typical respons...

Dutchies and their diaries

Dutchies and their diaries

Yesterday, I asked a Dutch friend of mine: “Shall we go to the cinema tomorrow?” “Yes”, he replied enthusiastically. I saw the excitement beaming from his eyes – it was a movie he was keen on watching. But all that zest went down the drain when he said: “Oh wait, I have to check my diary.” I realized we wil...

Prof. X and his colleague

Prof. X and his colleague

“Sorry, what’s your name again?” “Saeed.” “No, I know your first name, I just need your last name.” While I was trying to gather my thoughts to figure out the importance of my last name, the professor managed to read it on my student card. “Oh, I see, Dr Banaama. Is that how you pronounce ...

An awkward silence - or not

An awkward silence - or not

More than a year after the attack on Paris, months after that in Brussels and not long after the so-called Islamic State attack on Nice, my family arrived in Europe. Tension is on the rise. Politics is shifting to the right and the conservatives are gaining in popularity in most countries. Everyone is scared and afraid as uncertainty unfolds. I ...