Humans of TU Delft: Charbel Saleh

Who are the people who study and work at TU Delft? We meet them in Humans of TU Delft where they talk about their work or other activities. When Charbel Saleh came from Suriname to study at TU Delft, he wasn’t expecting such a culture shock. But luckily, he has learned to value some of the cultural differences.

Charbel Saleh: “I have learned some good things here, like planning.”

“My parents are from Lebanon and they moved to Suriname during the 1980s. So I have two cultures and now I live here. But to be honest, I feel Surinamese.

I came here in 2013 for my bachelor’s and I’m in my 5th year now doing my master’s in building technology. If everything goes well, I will graduate in February 2019. We do have a university in Suriname, but it’s not recognised internationally. But, of course, TU Delft is different and the Netherlands was something totally new for me.

I thought it would be paradise, but then I came here and was in culture shock. Everything is about rules here, everything is well managed. In Suriname it’s different, you have more freedom. So the first two months here were really heavy for me. But then after that, I motivated myself and made some friends and from then on it started going really well for me.

The things I miss from home are the temperature, my family, my mom’s food, a little bit of freedom and my friends. But I have learned some good things here, like planning. In life you really have to plan things, even though sometimes it doesn’t go as you plan. You also have to be social because that’s how you build a network. And I really have to be independent.”

Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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