Meet Firas: student, violinist, and soon-to-be famed

Firas - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu

Name: Firas Alsayed
Age: 23
Country of origin: Syria

While listening to Firas it is hard to believe our interviewee is only 23 years old. It would be an understatement to say he ‘has been through a lot’. His frame of mind, however, seems untouched - as one realizes after reading about his dreams and ambitions.

What would be your absolute dream, Firas?
“I want to be well-known. I don’t know how yet, but I am definitely going to be famous after I’ve studied Engineering or International Financial Management. I do have a general idea about what path the walk though, as I like power and the world of finance. Becoming the next Minister van Financien would therefore be my absolute dream. Not that I worry though, now that I’m older and having acquired lots of life experience, I’m pretty sure I’ll properly decide what’s best for me.

Can you elaborate on these life experiences?
Well, obviously, I’ve felt the horrors of war. I’ve seen many people leaving their country. I, myself, lived in a safe neighbourhood fortunately, although ‘safe’ is a relative term. Me and a friend decided we had to flee before it would have been too late. It took us five days to reach Turkey, after which we went to Greece. Pretty soon after we got our travel documents, the UN and Red Cross helped us to reach the Netherlands. 

Firas - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu

You’ve been here for a while now. What is your overall impression about the Dutch people?
When I arrived, I had zero knowledge about this country. I’ve ran into quite some people now and there’s only one thing that comes to mind if I think of the Dutch: welcoming. There are so many nice people in the Netherlands. Honestly, I haven’t encountered any unkind individual so far.

Speaking of which, would you think you are able to realize your dreams over here?
Absolutely. I feel like everything is possible in the Netherlands. I feel empowered by the people around me. Everyone around me encourages me to continue what I’m doing, which honestly, feels pretty good and inspiring.

Firas - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu

In what exactly are you encouraged to continue?
Where I’m from, I went to the conservatory where I wanted to take singing classes. Unfortunately, I could only apply for instrument related classes. Intuitively, I chose the violin. I practiced for about seven months after which the war started. After I got here, I had to start all over again. I’ve been playing for six months now and I feel very encouraged to keep practicing and improve my skills. I would love to keep learning new songs and techniques, to the extent that I eventually can perform in front of many people over here. I’ll definitely keep trying!

Firas - Don't let others decide - aeuoeu - Web Opt - Q

Photography: Chavez van den Born
Supported by: Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland

Disclaimer: this interview was conducted in Dutch and has been translated and rewritten to English.