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Leenstelsel Protests, interviews: Hadiatou & Maria

The cost of university has affected me in a great way because I'm about to finish my bachelor's degree. And my idea was actually to continue studying afterward. But a few months ago, I saw my student debts and I was shocked. As a consequence, I've decided to stop studying for like six months, and then work to try to earn some savings that I can use to invest in my Masters because I do not want to continue borrowing so much money. So it has impacted me because now I'm going to get a six months delay in my studies.

I came here because there are politicians and the new government is about to be formed and I want them to know that we students cannot continue having such high debts. We are the next generation. And it cannot be that we start our lives with such a high student debt. So I'm just here to let my voice be heard and let them know that we demand change.

What kind of change do I want to see? I do want to get compensated. Our generation is called the pech generatie (unlucky generation). And that's for a reason. So I want some kind of compensation. At the same time. I also don't want the quality of education to go down. I want it to be good. So they need to find a way to make the quality of education good. So that's what I'm asking for, good education and compensation and the abolishment of the leenstelsel (loan system).

Hadiatou Barry So my name is Maria Martinez Doubiani, I am 22 years old, and I am a law student in my final year at Hanzehogeschool Groningen, HBO.

Whenever I look up my student debt on duo, I feel depressed and I feel sad. I started to do fewer things for school and work more. So it's like you need to have a balance between work life and study life. But as I see it, students with more money, higher incomes, or rich parents only focus on their studies, so they get like an eight on their final year. While I reach like a seven or six so that's a bit hard.

And mental health is not discussed. That's interesting because it's important to keep talking about it. Because there are a lot of students who struggle, we saw it during the pandemic. And the curfew made it difficult because we are used to going out, having dinner with our friends or going to parties, or festivals and right now everything has been falling apart. And then we have the debt and this idea of, do we get a job after we finish school? And then we also want to buy a house in the future and start a little family, but without the money, it's hard and near impossible.

So I am here first because we want to see the seats at the table, at the formation of the new coalition. And second, because we have to speak up if we don't do it now then when? And the other part is because well, you meet other people. And it's socializing but with a distance of course, and it's important because if not now then when.

Maria Martinez Doubiani


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