My name is Bijan, I’m 30 years old. My father came to Germany from Iran to study and met my mum here. I just visited Iran for the first time with my dad.
What did you expect from your trip?
I had heard a lot great things about Iran, so I was curious. Of course I expected to meet lots of people, whose names I had heard, but whom I had never met. Especially my dad’s brother and sister. At the airport I was bit nervous but it was much more relaxed than I thought. When entering the country, you had to show both passports, but they just looked at it and that was it. It was all relatively normal and I wondered why I hadn’t come earlier. My first impression of Tehran, was that it was much more liberal than how it is portrayed by western media. The city is very diverse. Once, for example, we drove with a female taxi driver and many women had their headscarves as far back as possible. That of course changes once you leave Tehran.
How did your family receive you?
They were all very happy to see me. They asked me why I don’t speak Farsi and why I didn’t come earlier and I didn’t really have a good answer. I of course blamed my dad for the Farsi (grins). But we were all able to communicate as most people spoke some English or even German.
Did you see yourself as a tourist or did you feel that you had come home?
I tried to fit in. I for example wore a proper shirt, because many people wear dress shirts instead of Tshirts. I didn’t feel like a total stranger, but I also didn’t feel completely at home. I was somewhere in between, but that’s normal.
So, do you feel more German than Iranian?
I guess so. I grew up in this society. It’s good to know the other culture and a part of me is proud of not „only“ being German. But sometimes when I talk of my mixed heritage, people even say: oh come on, you’re so German.
Have you every had problems because of your heritage?
Not really. I guess everybody who looks different has at one point had a experienced a bit of racism. When I lived in Bonn I had a fight with my landlord and he told me: „We had foreign tenants before and we never had any problems with them.“ I was a bit shocked, because I hadn’t experienced something like that in Frankfurt at all.
Do you think Germany is a multicultural society?
Yes, definitely – just look at the figures. My answer is probably not true for the whole of Germany. It depends whether you ask somebody in Frankfurt or in Bavaria or in eastern Germany. But Germany depends on being multicultural, because that’s the only way we can maintain our standard of living. The political policy of course has to improve, as we are not yet as open to other cultures as we should be.
Interview by: Sella Oneko
Follow Sella on Twitter: @sellaoneko