Making new friends in a foreign country can be a daunting experience. But not to worry. At Wittenborg University, the student society, SWIFT, organises many interesting and fun activities for international and Dutch students to meet and mingle.
Their latest event was the end-of-summer barbeque which was attended by a large number of students and staff at Wittenborg’s Spoorstraat location in Apeldoorn last week.
Currently, the organisation has about 10 executive members who organise activities. It is led by Michelle Haminga, Shadi Jongstra and Erik Coerver. In an interview, Michelle explained what the organisation will focus on in the new academic year and how students can join:
How is SWIFT organised?
We rely a lot on teamwork. I am the secretary, but we also have people doing promotions, posters and helping out on event days. We meet about once a week and more frequently when we have upcoming events.
How did the society come about?
We approached Wittenborg’s office manager in December of 2015 and she referred us to the CEO, Maggie Feng, who supported our proposal and from there on we started organising events. The barbeque was our third big event.
What is SWIFT’s goal?
To enhance the student experience in general and to help internationals make new friends. We are all from different countries and many of us don’t have friends and family here. We don’t want people to get lonely or homesick. Also, we want to promote Wittenborg and Apeldoorn in a positive way.
What will you focus on in the new academic year?
A lot of students want to do sport, so getting together a sports team from Wittenborg will be one of our priorities. We also want to get involved in charity, and perhaps organise a charity event collecting presents for children in hospital or something.
Want to join?
Students who want to join can contact SWIFT via our Facebook page by posting a message there or email us at email@example.com or, of course, they can just approach us in person at school. They can also approach us with questions about Apeldoorn, for updates on events, if they have suggestions or just to get general information about school or the Netherlands.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press