August 20, 2019
Latest News
Entertainment

The Syrian refugee who turned his room into a dictionary to learn Dutch

The Hague, Jun 12 (efe-epa).- A Syrian refugee who arrived in the Netherlands in 2016 has plastered the walls, furniture and ceiling of his small room with colorful and bright words in Dutch, which became his method to master the language.

"When I see a new word I search for it online and then I work with it: I paint it in colors, I decorate it with pretty calligraphy and that way I then remember it," 30-year-old Hassan Fakhane told Efe Wednesday.

Fakhane started learning Dutch like this in 2017 during his stay at his seventh and last asylum center before being transferred to a small apartment which had blank walls.

Fakhane put sticky tape on his flashcards and placed them on the walls, but he didn't stop there.

When he ran out of space, he continued around the frames of the windows, the two small tables he owns, the wardrobe and even the ceiling.

The result is a gigantic, colorful mosaic with nouns, adjectives and verbs in Dutch and in smaller lettering their translation into Arabic.

Whilst he is talking and if he can not remember a word, he searches for it in the room, points at it and says it.

Fakhane fled from Syria at the beginning of 2016 because of the war.

He spent six months in a refugee camp in Turkey but his dream was to live in Holland.

"I am a florist and all the beautiful flowers in Syria came from here," he added.

Fakhane paid a group of smugglers 2,000 euros to help him cross the Mediterranean on a small boat.

"We were around 30 people but the journey took three hours," he said.

He first arrived in Greece and from there, continued onto Holland on foot, by bus and when he was lucky by train, which took a month.

Most of his fellow travelers stopped in Germany, but he continued on to the Netherlands.

Nearly three years later, he continues to study the language in his room and paints canvases, his favorite hobby.

"I am self-taught through photos and videos," he told Efe. "Other times I imagine things and draw them, it is a bit like modern art."

His flat has been subsidized by the government.

He shares a bathroom and kitchen with another 18 refugees and works as a volunteer some hours a week at an older people's home which gives him a good opportunity to practice his language skills chatting to residents.

His primary goal though is to secure paid employment.

"I would like to be a florist again but I don't have a problem with doing something different. I am looking for work online," Fakhane continued.

According to official data, 55 percent of refugees in the Netherlands do not want to return to their country of origin even if the wars were to stop.

"I might return in the future," Fakhane said. "But in 10 years time, I think I will still be here. I hope to have a lovely family and a good job."

Even though his long term goal is to stay in Holland he keeps in contact with his five sisters, brother and mother.

"They are in Damascus. I speak to them nearly every day, especially via WhatsApp."

Even though Fakhane has passed his Dutch language exam, he still uses his creative method to continue to broaden his knowledge.

"Not long ago they invited me to a 'coffee-shop' and spent some time with Dutch people who showed me new words, albeit amid plenty of laughs," he said smiling.

"I jotted them down but when I looked up their translation....they weren't very pretty so I took them down." EFE.

By David Morales Urbaneja

News history
Colombia, victim of lucrative exotic animal smuggling

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

Graffiti festival lights up giant facades in Moscow

By Fernando Salcines

Brazilian gov't mining policy threatens Amazon, indigenous leader says

By Maria Angelica Troncoso

The farm caring for Israel's abandoned animals

A voluntary facility in Israel, The Freedom Farm, is a refuge for animals that have been ejected from the food industry, abused or abandoned. The site has...

Spain's Battle of Flowers floats prepare for parade

By Miguel Ramos

Young faces of Aceh celebrate Indonesia’s independence

Indonesian students in elaborate, colorful costumes walked in a parade during celebrations on Sunday marking the 74th anniversary of Indonesia's...

Indonesia marks independence anniversary with pole race, dancing

Indonesia celebrated its 74th anniversary of independence from the Netherlands on Saturday, a milestone marked with official celebrations, traditional...

"Easy Rider" star Peter Fonda dies

Washington, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- US actor and filmmaker Peter Fonda, who became an international star in 1969 with "Easy Rider," died Friday at his home in...

Quito video art makes viewers reflect on migration, environment and memories

Quito, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- An unprecedented exhibition in the Ecuadorian capital is making viewers reflect on such concepts as migration, the environment and...

Delivery workers unite to protect themselves from Mexico City dangers

By Zoilo Carrillo

Woody Allen wraps up filming of new romantic comedy set in Spain

San Sebastian, Spain, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- American director Woody Allen on Friday completed shooting on his latest movie, a romantic comedy filmed in Spain...

Famous Madrid chef returns to her Dominican roots

By Manuel Perez Bella

Aquarium in South Africa joins WAZA world alliance

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town recently became a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), a global alliance for zoos, aquariums,...

By Ana Sánchez

Social media backlash erupts in mainland China against Hong Kong protests

By Jesus Centeno and Victor Escribano

A stroll through New York's iconic Madison Square Garden

By Alvaro Celorio

Panama City celebrates 500th anniversary with cake for 4,500 people

Panama City, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- Panama City, the first Spanish settlement on the Pacific coast of North America, on Thursday celebrated its 500th...

Foreign tourism to Mexico up 7 pct. in 1st half of 2019

Mexico City, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Mexico in the first half of 2019 rose 7 percent relative to the same period of...

Half a century later, Woodstock once again highlighting unity, freedom

By Helen Cook

Rogen: There's a difference in comedy between offending and insulting people

By David Villafranca

You're pulling my finger!

Competitors were getting their digits out on Thursday to take part in bouts at the German Finger Wrestling (Fingerhakeln) Championships in...

Thousands of festival flowers adorn Brussels Town Hall

By Dulcinea Campayo López

Changing tastes: Tempting Uruguay's palate with "Wagyu" beef

By Branden Luis Figarola

Rosalia to perform at MTV Awards, announces new duet with Ozuna

Madrid, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- Spanish pop sensation Rosalia will be performing at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards along with a number of other artists,...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.