Apeldoorn Deputy Mayor Nick Derks Discusses Collaborations with Wittenborg

 Apeldoorn Deputy Mayor Nick Derks Discusses Collaborations with Wittenborg

Derks Visits School and Meets with Students, Housing Team and Executive Staff

Wittenborg had the pleasure of welcoming Apeldoorn city councillor and Deputy Mayor Nick Derks for a visit on 15 March. Derks, who is responsible for the economy and higher education at the Municipality of Apeldoorn, came to the school with the goal of gaining further understanding of the demands of the sector, gathering policy insights and discussing possible partnerships.  

In addition to visiting Wittenborg’s housing facilities, where he met with the housing team and also spoke to some of the students, the councillor also attended a session with a group of international students and a meeting with the school’s management team.  

Apeldoorn councillor and Deputy Mayor Nick Derks said he was grateful for the warm welcome from the Wittenborg family. “It was inspiring to speak to these motivated students about the issues they encounter in Apeldoorn. I'm already looking forward to my next visit to Wittenborg.” 

The school’s CEO, Maggie Feng, thanked Derks for his visit and highlighted that the meeting was very productive and insightful. She also emphasised Wittenborg’s commitment to keep working hard and making Apeldoorn home to talents from all over the world.  

“Our student housing team enjoyed the attention and was proud to show Nick the studios that are so popular among our students. Students and colleagues also appreciated Nick’s visit to the classroom: they had the chance to express their challenges but also their gratefulness for being the new citizens of Apeldoorn. Finally, the executive and advisory boards had a fruitful discussion with him about the future of Apeldoorn. We delved into topics such as higher education and research, collaborations, the revitalisation of the city centre and the newly launched Expat Centre Central Netherlands,” she said.

 Apeldoorn Deputy Mayor Nick Derks Discusses Collaborations with Wittenborg

Wittenborg's Director of Governance, Karen Penninga, highlighted the importance of the school’s connection to the local government. “In addition to attracting a significant number of international students and professionals to Apeldoorn, Wittenborg has been involved in several initiatives that have a positive impact on the city. Therefore, these partnerships are mutually beneficial and contribute to local and regional growth.” 

According to External Relations & Events Manager Sophia Faraji, Derks’ visit was incredibly valuable. “The opportunity for our international students to engage directly with local authorities like Nick not only fosters a sense of community but also allows for crucial dialogue about the students’ experiences and needs while living and studying in Apeldoorn.” 

She adds that during the conversation students highlighted the importance of strengthening the relationship between local businesses and international students. In Faraji’s view, this exchange of ideas not only benefits students but also contributes to the development and growth of Apeldoorn as a vibrant international city. 

 Apeldoorn Deputy Mayor Nick Derks Discusses Collaborations with Wittenborg

“Nick's receptive attitude towards the students’ feedback was truly encouraging, and I believe this type of interaction lays a solid foundation for ongoing collaboration between students and local authorities. It's moments like these, when diverse voices are heard and respected, which remind us of the power of dialogue and the potential for positive change. We look forward to the continued engagement and partnerships that enhance the student experience and enrich the fabric of Apeldoorn's multicultural landscape.” 

IBA student Alexandra Kukthina, who is also Wittenborg’s External Relations & Events Administrator, explained that the session involving Derks and the students centred on relevant local topics. These included the housing crisis in Apeldoorn, ways the municipality could help international students to integrate into the local business community and the aspects of the city that are valued by students such as its greenness, safety and cleanliness. 

“I felt honoured to attend the Deputy Mayor’s session and I consider it a great opportunity provided by Wittenborg. This activity gave international students the chance of raising concerns on important topics to a representative who may contribute to finding and implementing solutions. On top of that, we also got to know the future projects for the development of Apeldoorn.” 

WUP 26/03/2024 
by Ulisses Sawczuk 
©WUAS Press