Challenge for newcomers

From August 25-28, around 1,200 students participated in an intense competition during the Introduction Programme.
International students worked in groups of 10 on a project assignment to design a product, tool, experience or activity.

It had to cater to new international and Dutch students in a university based in the city their team was named after. Within four days, and only for a few hours each day, students had to research the background of the city, decide on a master’s study subject related to it, come up with a product design and pitch it well. “The calibre of the project teams was very high. We found them engaged by the project and working hard on them,” said Sophie Vardon, programme manager.

The projects were then judged by a jury panel comprising representatives of local business and ambassadors. Team Amsterdam 3 won in the Best Product category and team Gouda 1 won Best Presentation. Like most teams, Amsterdam 3 had a multicultural team with students from eight different countries: Lebanon, Indonesia, India, Spain, Greece, Mexico, China and Germany. “We wanted to come up with something slightly out-of-the-box. A design for an app had won last year, so we felt that would be a bit clichéd,” said team leader Chadi Aoun, M.Sc. Chemical Engineering.

The team finally came up with an idea that was different, but incorporated an app as well. The master’s subject they proposed was Tourism in Recreation Management. As tourism students need to be well acquainted with their city, they created a discount card that would work for major tourism spots, course books, eating places etc. Called the MiXXX card (Modern Intercultural Exchange), it would also accrue points for rewards. “The card also has an app which informs users about Flash Discounts and MIXXX credits and so on,” adds Anoun.

According to aerospace student Marco Galli, who was the student coach for Gouda 1, the team emerged stronger having overcome their cultural differences. “What really surprised the jury was how they quickly agreed in a common background, food, and how they managed to merge and integrate their different dishes into one multicultural dish. They even prepared the dishes and recorded the process, thus making the audience part of the experience,” said Galli.

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