International students integrating in the Netherlands
As part of the LONKT project, the idea was instigated by our Student Career & External Relations Coordinator, Sanne de Jong, for the benefit of our International students, to help them integrate and network with the local Aventus students. Sanne says, “Sometimes international students are very introvert or even confused about how to associate with the local people, so our buddy system speed-dating program will help to break that shyness and build relationships within the local society”.
Buddy System Speed-Dating
The purpose of the programme is to minimise the primary hesitation and doubts of new students arriving in the Netherlands. For some International students, Dutch culture is completely opposite to their own culture. After the students arrive at Wittenborg, they are invited for the speed-dating program along with other local students from different institutions. Meanwhile, current students are also invited if they are willing to make friends among the new students. During the speed-dating session, all the students mingle and exchange their contacts, answering questions about their own countries, and even get tips and pointers to resources like good departmental stores, public transport, libraries, etc.
One of Wittenborg’s student ambassadors, Kavinga from Sri Lanka, says, “I strongly support this programme especially for new students, since through this new students can collect information about study, part-time jobs and life in general from a local perspective”.
As an International student himself, Francis Uzoma Odoemenam from Nigeria says, “It is always a little bit difficult at the beginning to adapt yourself into a new environment in a new country.” For Francis, the whole buddy system speed-dating was a good initiative, as there were people from various cultures sharing their own cultural differences. Francis says, “Buying a bicycle can be a struggle in a new country, and after my speed-dating session one of the students helped me to buy a bicycle”. He was surprised to see that all the students are so friendly and so eager to help each other.
by Sonia Rahman
©Wittenborg University Press