How We Carry Home - The Stories of 6 International Students

by: Ariel Bussani

Maastricht, Netherlands, is a bustling student city rich with thousands of international students, such as myself. Hearing the stories of so many cultures and experiences made me curious about how each of these students were able to carry pieces of their unique culture and home with them as they left behind these places. We each see the world differently, and everyday items to us can be treasures to those who know its story.

Over the course of 2 weeks, I biked across the city to visit the homes of each student, and document how they’ve carried a piece of home with them.

Cagla - Germany/Turkey

I brought a lot of necklaces and accessories with evil eyes with me to Maastricht because it belongs to our Turkish culture. People can knowingly wish negative thoughts on you, but the power of the eye is that some people unknowingly and innocently cast the curse on others. That's why it's important to wear an evil eye somewhere on your body to ward off this curse and protect yourself throughout the day from the negative energy of others because it is believed that it can cause for instance injuries.But it is also important to mention the fact that the evil eyes are known and used in many other cultures.You can also hang them on the front door or in the car, it does not always have to be worn as jewelry.

Blue is the color of evil eye protection. The traditional color for good karma, positive energies, and protection against the evil eye.

Mrignayani Dasgupta (18) - India

This is my Grandmother’s Saari. A Saari is a 9 yard long piece of cloth that is intricately designed and is draped around the body in a specific way! The Saari I chose is very close to my heart. It belonged to my grandmother. For me, when I hold it or wear it, I can instantly feel like I am hugging her and I can feel the warmth that she used to have. The Saari is not just a piece of cloth for Indians. Every single Saari holds a special memory and a special emotion.

Eva (20) - Tel Aviv, Israel

This is a plate from the market in Jerusalem. It says “peace” on it in Hebrew.

Anya (19) - Indonesia

I brought this particular plushy because I’ve had it since I was 8 and I felt like it was always there through my growth until now. It also reminds me of home and brings me comfort when I need it :)

Jil (20) - Germany

Whenever I walked in the door at home, the first thing I looked at was this picture. Now I have taken it with me to Maastricht and it is the first thing I see when I come into my room. It feels a bit like home.

Nuna (18) - India

My mom was just learning to crochet and the first thing she decided to make was a sweater for me. That’s why I brought it to Maastricht.