Author: Lea Shamaa (Lea Shamaa)

The Internationalisation Struggle at UvA
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The Internationalisation Struggle at UvA

When high school students search for their future university options, they'll most likely end up on a 'top universities' list to estimate how good their options will be compared to others. Especially since these undergraduates are usually out-of-country people who can't really make a personal guess as to how a university will turn out for them. 

Everyday racism at UvA: ‘You’re so pretty for an Arab’
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Everyday racism at UvA: ‘You’re so pretty for an Arab’

If I got a Euro for every time I've been asked if women could drive in my home country, I'd probably be able to afford a car. Being a Lebanese student at the UvA, I've experienced a fair share of implicit racism when telling others I have an Arab background. It has put me in difficult situations in which I felt like that aspect of my identity was something of less importance to my White counterparts. While these racist interactions vary, they more or less follow the same story each time: stereotypical Western views and comments on Arab cultures. Many fellow Arab students have encountered similar experiences of everyday racism from their peers at our university. Everyday racism was coined by Philomena Essed and highlights the lived experience in which structural forces of racism are upheld by everyday interactions. Here, I open up a short conversation about everyday Arab racism at the UvA with stories shared by some of its students. 

Internationalising the lunch table at the University of Amsterdam
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Internationalising the lunch table at the University of Amsterdam

I had never spent much time at the Roeterseiland campus until my classes started taking place there during my last academic year. One day, I decided to grab some lunch at the campus cafeteria in building E. I was met with a wide assortment of foods, ranging from vegan and vegetarian to meat- or fish-based options. But, that wasn't the main thing that stood out to me. It was the number of international food options it offered — meals from Pakistan, Lebanon, Vietnam and Mexico. The colours of the different country flags painted the scene of the cafeteria so beautifully.