Utrecht is home to many nationalities. Every week, DUIC features an Utrechter with a different background. The concept was inspired by ‘180 amsterdammers’.
“I try to use Utrecht, and give something back”
Ana has only praise for Rakek, the place where she grew up. It was a small community and she was surrounded by people she knew. She spent a lot of time out of doors, often with her brother and their friends. “I think that the place I grew up helped me to become the person I am today”, says Ana. “There’s room to discover things in a small village: from pinching the beetles out of my mother’s potato plants to playing ice hockey in the winter.” Her village is located in a valley at the foot of a hill, surrounded by lakes and rivers. “That’s my home. It’s where my family, my friends and my cats are.”
And yet at the age of seventeen, Ana left her village went to live abroad. She smiles. “My brother and I were always competing with each other. He applied for a scholarship to study at United World College (an international scholarship that brings together young people from different countries and cultures, ed.) The fact that he was rejected encouraged me to apply. I was admitted and offered a place in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” When trying to find a suitable degree course, she again looked outside her own country. When she was young, she’d never thought that she would travel abroad. “The capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, is a lovely city. It’s green and they have a good approach to sustainability: cars aren’t allowed in the city centre, for example. It’s a great place for students too: rooms are cheap and students are given food coupons. A complete meal costs just two or three euros.”
According to Ana, the university in Ljubljana is good in some respects, but not in social and political studies, which is what she wanted to do. So she decided to go to a University College. She chose Utrecht purely for practical reasons. “I often listen to my intuition and make quick, intuitive decisions. I’m usually very lucky.”
Ana is glad that she chose Utrecht. Her favourite haunts include Koffie Leute, the Film Café and the concerts given by music students in TivoliVredenburg on Friday mornings. She prefers to do her shopping at the market rather than in a supermarket, largely because she enjoys chatting with the people there. “I try to use the city. Everything is so accessible, it’s easy to feel involved.” She does her best to be a part of Utrecht life, as she likes to keep busy. She’s had various voluntary jobs (including lectures at ‘t Hoogt, at ‘Taste before you waste’ in ACU and at the international film festival in Rotterdam). Ana also takes part in Kritische Studenten Utrecht, a social student organisation. “As well as studying, I want to be useful on the practical front too. This semester, I wanted to give something back to Utrecht. I love cooking and baking; my mother and grandmother taught my brothers and I to cook. So five friends and I spent two weeks cooking in the Moestuin, under the name ‘Cultural Cookery’. We raised money for Huize Agnes, a charity that helps women and children to integrate.”
Another thing Ana particularly likes about Utrecht is the nature. “I really enjoy going to Amelisweerd, it reminds me of home. And I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to jump into the canal for a swim.”
Name: Ana Bajt
Place of birth: Postojna, Slovenia
Date of birth: 2 January 1999
Motto: ‘In some ways, life is like a glitter ball; it’s full of fleeting, flashy images and reflections. I say: Let it spin!’
Allemaal Utrechters is a series of interviews with people who moved to Utrecht from another country. We ask them about their background and their impression of Utrecht, revealing the true diversity of our city. The ‘Allemaal Utrechters’ series is a collaboration between DUIC and Culturele Zondagen, and has been made possible with help from Stichting Dialoog and the Municipality of Utrecht. We hope to showcase every nationality in Utrecht.