Meeting the rector

Rector Magnificus Karel Luyben definitely needed the backup of the ‘Pulp Fiction’ mobster duo when recently sitting down to field questions fired at him by students during the latest ‘Meet the Rector’ event, an informal meeting between the Rector and students held at the ‘Jacoba van Beierenlaan’ (JVB) student complex.

The spirited discussions ranged from academics to student life and politics. ‘International Student Integration’, was a core topic dear to the hearts of the 18 students of varying nationalities living together at JVB, a rarity in Delft, where shared housing is usually dominated by the Dutch. Integrated housing, the Dutch job market and better communication were other major topics discussed, with students insisting on living together with the Dutch and mixing academic and cultural life in a truly international university experience. “Although Duwo initially had exchange students living in Dutch housing for a couple months of their stays, it has changed its policy recently, housing the Dutch separate from internationals. This could definitely change!” remarked one of the few Dutch students in attendance.

Rector Luyben proposed initiating a dialogue on international integration through academic culture, noting that TU Delft needs to adapt to changes in world culture, in order to create better rapport between international and Dutch people. He added that TU Delft must adapt to the culture of speaking English, and that the university is trying to create more BSc programs taught in English, which he believed would help bridge the gap between Dutch and internationals.

“There’s no crisis,” remarked one of the hosts, referring to the fact that the Dutch market doesn’t seem to represent a failing economy. The Rector was keen to hear the students’ perceptions of the crisis and how they’d tackle it. A topic everyone showed specific interest in was India and its diverse but unified culture. The Rector asked what European culture and economies could learn from developing countries like India, prompting feisty debate among students.

Although the event officially ended well after midnight, when the Rector departed, student debates went on for much longer. Siddarth Pandey, from Diss, one of the event’s organizers, said: “We’re happy that the most important issues concerning international students were brought into limelight, so that the Rector could offer his thoughts on them.”

Students interested in participating in ‘Meet the Rector’ events can register by emailing The next event is slated for 13 November 2012.

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