“I grew up on an organic crop farm in Flevoland, the Netherlands. My parents never went abroad and we always stayed close to the farm, we never travelled far. I always imagined the world to be so much bigger, but now I have travelled to many places and it actually feels quite small.
Distances can be large and time to travel from one place to another can be a lot, but it is easy to connect to the other side of the world, also at a personal level. People from different sides of the world have more similarities than we sometimes realize.
My family is my home and the most important to me. Wherever I go, I always send them pictures and imagined how it would be if my parents or sisters were with me at that moment. Especially my youngest sister, she is visually impaired and she is not able to travel by herself. However, she is always following me online wherever I go. My parents always supported me and I am grateful for that.
I always thought I wanted to live and settle in a foreign country, cultures and the differences were interesting to me. However, actually living abroad for 2 years, has made me realize that Netherlands is my home and where I belong. I am now working for the Hanze University Foundation, I really believe that by giving more people access to quality education, people are empowered to create more chances for themselves. Everybody has different goals in life, but not everyone grows up in the same environment.
I have met many motivated and passionate people, their homes are in area’s with less facilities, chances and opportunities. But they have ideas. Their dreams are big and they take steps, one by one. People want to see the place that they call home develop and create opportunities, not only for themselves, but for their communities and the generation after them. Sometimes it takes a relatively small investment to support these people and the people around them.”
Alida de Winter has been working for the Hanze University Foundation since 2017. She lived in Istanbul, Turkey and in Guangzhou, China. She grew up in the Netherlands.