CIS seeks integration

A new Committee of International Students (CIS) is aiming to be the beginning of a strong and organized international community at TU Delft.

If Big Brother was watching the TU Delft campus, what would be noticed first? Would it be the diversity of nationalities and different appearances and behaviours of the students that move around our university every day? Would we see the 2,000 international students behaving differently from the rest of the community? Are you one of these students who moved from other parts of the world to be a part of TU Delft? Do you feel like you are integrated into this community, or do you feel isolated from the rest? Do you often feel illiterate in not understanding all the Dutch signs, posters, and newsletters around you? Are you satisfied with the housing you receive? As one of these international students with some years of experience in Delft, I always felt there was something lacking: the involvement of international students in the issues related to them. Well, today there is a new Committee of International Students (CIS) that is aiming to be the beginning of a strong and organized international community at TU Delft.
TU Delft has one of the oldest histories in European higher education. It has, however, a very young international population and is seeking to establish itself as a pioneer in the area of internationalization.  Being a young part of this old history means that the international community has many barriers to cross in order to become one with the rest.
TU Delft is known for its vibrant student life and diverse choice of extracurricular activities. TU Delft engineers are famous not only for being technical experts with high analytical abilities, but also for having social capabilities and networks. One of the main reasons for this is that TU Delft students take matters into their own hands and manage the organization of their social environments. Students are often members of student societies, study associations, and sport or cultural associations.
The international community however is being managed not by themselves, but rather by university employees with little information about what the international students want. In some areas we want to be treated the same as the Dutch students, in others we have different needs.
A group of international students with diverse backgrounds have finally come together as board members of CIS, in order to be the voice of the international community. CIS has pinpointed three major areas where special attention is needed. First, the integration of the Dutch and international students; second, the communication and information accessibility; and finally, the management of housing for international students.
The goal of CIS is to allow international students to actively participate in improving their, and fellow students, educational and social environment. CIS aims to bridge the gap between the national and international student community. By producing new strategies and policies, CIS seeks to improve housing conditions. CIS is also finding tools to provide clearer lines of communication from TU Delft to the international community.
Right now CIS is in its early days and generating many ideas in reaching its stated goals. The creation of an international student society, where both international and Dutch students can participate in social, cultural and sport events, can be one of the bases for improving integration. This student society can also see to matters such as housing. Housing can be vastly improved by a better management of distribution and mobility between the existing and potential future accommodations for students, with the idea being of getting the right student at the right place. And finally, more accessible and interactive communication tools should be available to students to inform them of events, provide online communities and forums, and offer a tool for the students to transfer information.
CIS could develop into an organisation capable of managing the international community together with the university and giving each student the true TU Delft experience. After all, international students don’t travel all the way to the Netherlands just to study, but to also get to know the Dutch culture and enjoy the unique features of TU Delft. CIS’s future goal is to maintain continuity and create the basis for the existence of a true international community at TU Delft, where the voice of the international students is put on the map of the university. 

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