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Aheng Barzanji


I probably feel 50% Danish and 50% Iraqi. But I am not torn. On the contrary, being raised in two cultures has enriched me and given me a strong set of values. I don’t feel foreign at all.

Some people are very quick to draw conclusions about me because of my headscarf. But in many respects I am the exact opposite of their prejudices. I am very sporty and I have practiced both karate and football for several years. I am also strong-minded and I have an opinion about everything.
It was my own choice to wear the headscarf. In our family, it is our own choice, and my sister has chosen not to wear one. In the Koran it says that there is no compulsion in faith, and I believe that faith, and the way you practice it, is a private matter, as long as it does not clash with the laws of the country. I have encountered a lot of opposition, but my family has always believed in me, and I always knew I would reach my goals.

When I completed high school, I applied to the University of Southern Denmark, where I now study medicine. The problem with living in Copenhagen and studying in Odense is that I use up to six hours daily on travelling back and forth. So during the week I have no time for anything else than university, commuting and reading. But I have now realised that if I want to prevent myself from suffocating in my studies, I must lower my ambition level a little and reserve time for things that make me happy. So I now spend most of my weekends together with my friends, and I can feel how this has eased and lightened my otherwise overloaded everyday life.

26 years / female / single / medicine student / Frederiksberg / from Iraq / Kurdish background / came to Denmark in 1999 / residence permit 2006

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