Country: Iran, 66.4 inhabitants, 40 times the size of the Netherlands
Loves: humanity and beauty
Hates: the fact that many people have to live in poverty
You arrived on 10 August, what was your first impression?
‘Fresh air and beautiful weather, but it does not seem to be like that all seasons… Before I came here, I heard Groningen has a good reputation for its living conditions and I saw that was justified. Compared to my hometown Teheran it is very calm and safe. And flat, Teheran is surrounded by high mountains. The Dutch are very kind, civilized and open-minded. Thanks to my good connections with IBS-Programme Administrator Rose Coates and International Student Office staff members Etelka Csonka and Hedy Elliot I managed to migrate to Groningen. But when I woke up in my student house in Paddepoel the first morning, I thought I was in Shanghai. There were lots of Chinese students.’
Last time you visited Teheran?
‘On 9 August I left Teheran. I had been working for six years as a senior project engineer for EBARA, a Japanese air conditioning company. They have an agency in Teheran, I have been working in Austria, Belgium, Australia, Thailand, Pakistan and the Centre of Africa in very different circumstances. In Sudan for instance, we installed a system for heating, ventilation and air conditioning in a hospital.
‘It was my dream to continue my studies. It is my goal to explore new markets and to upgrade my marketing skills. After that I hope to find a job in Europe, Australia or Asia. Maybe I can even start my own business. If I want to go back to Iran after fourteen months, my company will take me back. I hear Dutch women are very sweet for their husbands and attached to their family and children. I like that. So I want to find a beautiful Dutch girlfriend.’
Why did you choose for Groningen?
‘I searched the internet for many countries to study. I chose for the Netherlands, because the cost of living and the study expenses were relatively low. And of course I knew quite a bit about Groningen and Hanze University because my sister graduated two years ago at the School of Engineering and my niece teaches at the School of Computer Science. So I have some relatives here.
‘I keep in touch with my parents over the internet. My mother is a very modern woman. She has an internet connection, rather unusual for a middle-aged housewife in Iran. She is the bridge to my father at the moment. Phone calls are way too expensive.’
Can you give us an Iranian proverb?
‘Naborde ranj ganj moyasar nemishavad. No pain, no gain.’