Dialogue with Ruth

I remember the first moment I met Ruth. She was 18 years old, just like me. Once a moment I realized that our lifes are very different. I was having a gap year after high school, travelling and doing voluntary work. While Ruth was working. She was working in my hostfamily. I had a lot of good conversations with her.

I asked her about her future. She told me she was working and going to university as well. She was enthousiasticly telling me, she wanted to be a tour guide. But too bad it is hard for her to get a job as a tour guide. Because a lot of European people want to be a tour guide as well, and they are able to speak more languages. 

I thought she was suitable to be a tour guide. So I taught her some English, and something about the European culture. She taught me something about the Peruvain culture, in Spanish ofcourse. But indirectly I learned how lucky I am. That so much things which are luxury for her, are normal for me. For example having a hot shower and going to school and university.

I feel a little ashamed when I tell her that I just took a gap year to think about what I really want. I tell her that I'll be starting the studies International Business in September. She asks me what I want to become, but I don't know yet.                                 That's such a big difference between us. In Peru all the kids know what they want to be, and they start to study. But in The Netherlands most kids start studying, switch possibly to another studies, and afterwards decide what they want to be.

I ask Ruth about what she learned from her job. She is a cleaner and waitress in the café of my hostfamily. She thought she learned to listen carefully and to solve problems. Great skills to be a good tour guide. 

If I look to myself. I learned to be flexible and to take initiative from my part-time job at home. But more from my volunteering job in Peru.

We both want to learn how to introduce ourselves. Because if we can introduce ourselves in a proper way, people can get a better image of us. That is a fantastic skill if you want to get in touch with new people. That is probably the way we want to learn it. Just to meet a lot of new people, and introduce ourselves many times. 

We would like to use the skill in our career but in our daily life too. In our daily life, it is fun to meet new people. Just to have a little conversation with somebody you meet on the street. But in our career it is very useful too. If you introduce yourself in a good way, people will remind you better. That will help you to get a job. 

She is proud that she is going to university. Because she really reached it by herself, she is working for it. I am proud of being independent, because I am travelling on my own. But I don't think that I am that independent. She is independent, as she earns her own money. I am independent in another way, I am at the other side of the world without anyone I know. That are such different things. 

When I ask her if she thinks she helps people with her skills. She doesn't know if she helps somebody. But she takes care about her 3 little brothers, if needed. So we decide, she definitely helps her parents and her brothers with being careful.

The question is hard for me as well. But I think my answer is a bit the same. I was helping kids from poor families at my volunteering project. I think I used the same skill; being careful.

Ruth thinks Anna Carina, a Peruvian singer, inspires her. Unfortenately she couldn't name one song. But she likes the happy melodies. And she thinks Anna is very successful now, but she cares about poor Peruvian people.

For me Beyoncé is an inspiration, because she is such a powerful independent woman. 


It was so good to talk to Ruth. We were so much different and the same at the same time.

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