Saeed Banaama

Saeed Banaama studies Medicine at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. Together with eight others, he takes turns in writing a column for the paper version of Observant.

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 Sau...

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. The...

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 ...

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 disappoint...

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...

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 i...

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 a...

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 ...

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 professo...

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 ...