Connecting@VU: Conversations on feeling at home

Episode 2

Zakia Essanhaji explores the other side of the coin, as students with different backgrounds speak to her about their experiences with discrimination and exclusion at VU. Together with these students and a student counselor, Zakia discusses which possibilities we can all seize to create inclusive spaces for eachother at our university.

About the host

Zakia Essanhaji

Zakia is a sociologist interested in making and holding spaces for marginalized groups. She noticed that these phenomena are often maintained by the institutional gap between the talking and the doing of diversity within universities. She’s been active at several Dutch universities and the Dutch Socio-Economic Council. She now continues her research at the VU.

“The most marginalization I experience is because of my physical disability, but that is definitely not the only one. I am also non-binary and have a non-heteronormative sexuality, which is also different from the norm. Furthermore, I also consider myself as a spiritual person, which in the more hard sciences is not a typical thing you encounter. All of these small differences that are in me compared to most people, definitely make me feel like an outsider.”


Student, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

“Something that is never asked, but that I have to bring up is you know “what are your pronouns?” Sometimes it is a little daunting being the only person who you know has to kind of make that space for myself, but necessary as well.”


Student, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Are you curious for more episodes of Connecting@VU? Check out the show’s page, and find out more about the other hosts, episodes and makers.