Spotlight of the week: with Barend

Name: Barend Otterman
Age: 20
Study: Bsc. Human Geography and Urban Planning

1. How would you describe diversity in general?
To me, diversity is very important. I personally think that diversity eventually leads to more acceptation within society, because coming into contact with people from other backgrounds makes it possible to see situations from a new and different perspective. Through communication it’s easier to get to know different cultures and easier to listen to other opinions. I think diversity gives us the possibility to look a little further than our own experiences and feelings.
For example, I noticed that negative attitudes towards ‘others’ are pretty common in the small town where I grew up in Overijssel. It could very well be something that arises from the lack of diversity in the town, since only talking to the same people with the same opinions and preconceptions keeps a lot of negative stereotypes alive.

2. Where do you see diversity at the UvA, where do you think diversity should be improved?
Although Amsterdam is a diverse and multicultural city, the University of Amsterdam doesn’t really represent this. In my opinion, this lack of diversity is something that deserves more attention. I think that Amsterdam United is doing a very good job of creating awareness of the problem and educating people, which hopefully goes a long way with both teachers and students. I sincerely hope that Amsterdam United and the entire UvA can come together and create a university where everybody feels at home.

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