Lojain participates in the TV program Puberruil: ‘I was only in the Netherlands for a short time and did not speak the language very well’

In the TV program adolescent swap, two adolescents with completely different lives exchange home and family. For a week they live the life of the other adolescent with different parents, customs, rules and activities. Lojain al Obaid (17) from Gouda is participating in this program.

Lojain has only been living in the Netherlands for a year. She came to live in Gouda with her parents and younger brother and sister. As a child she and her family fled the war in Syria. The family is forced to live separately from each other for a while. Lojain and her sister and brother live in Dubai with their mother. After a few years they can happily live with their father in the Netherlands.

puberty swap

Through her father’s language school, Lojain is asked whether she wants to participate in the Puberruil program. “At first I was very enthusiastic”, says Lojain. “I thought it would be great fun to participate and see a Dutch family,” she says. After agreeing to participate in the program, Lojain begins to have doubts. “I suddenly became very nervous and didn’t dare anymore. I had only been in the Netherlands for a few months and did not speak the language very well,” she says. Fortunately, the employees of the TV program know how to reassure her. “They were such lovely people and they made me feel more relaxed again,” Lojain laughs.

Lojain embarks on the adventure and trades with an adolescent from the Brabant village of Liempde. The language barrier is creatively solved by her new family. “The parents just spoke Dutch to me and I talked to them in English. That way we could still talk to each other,” says Lojain.

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Lojain and her mother © Anne-Wil Rozendaal

By swapping with another adolescent, Lojain is completely immersed in Dutch culture. One of the biggest differences between the two cultures is the eating habits according to Lojain. “I don’t think most Dutch food has that much taste,” she laughs. “I’m used to having a lot of spices in the food and that creates intense flavors,” she explains.

Full agenda

The busy schedule of her barter teenager also surprised her. “My barter teenager has a lot of sports and other hobbies that she goes to after school,” says Lojain. This is new territory for Lojain. She has never played any sport herself. “In Syria, that is not common at all. I did play football in the street with other children, but not at a football club,” she says. That doesn’t mean Lojain is bored. She goes to a language school to master the Dutch language and she also has plenty of other hobbies. “I really like drawing, so that’s what I do a lot with,” she says.

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An artwork by Lojain © Lojain al Obaid

To study

Lojain is preparing for her education in Marketing, Journalism and Communication. “Studying is very important in Syrian culture, so I’m really looking forward to starting my education,” she says.

Lojain has learned a lot from adolescent swapping and has absolutely no regrets about participating in the TV show. She now feels completely at home in the Netherlands. “Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming. I feel at home here and I really want to build my future in the Netherlands”, she concludes.

Would you also like to see Lojain’s participation in Puberruil? Then watch NPO3 on Tuesday 12 April at 9 p.m.

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