Record number of international students welcomed to TU Delft

1,550 students from 80 countries have just arrived to a warm welcome from TU Delft’s largest Inter-national Introduction Programme ever.

This record intake of bachelor, master and exchange students meant months of hard work and organisation for the university’s Central International Office (CIO). “The Introduction Programme needs to be a mix of all the administration that’s necessary for living and studying in the Netherlands, plus a challenging social-cultural and academic programme, aimed at fostering teamwork and friendships”, said Sophie Vardon, International Introduction Coordinator at TU Delft.

The two-week programme began at Schiphol airport, where new arrivals were met by some 58 volunteer student coaches, driven to Delft, helped with their registration and then taken to their new homes.

Finding accommodation for every new student in a small city like Delft was something of a challenge. “We could not accommodate everybody in the city itself”, said Nitant Shinde, an MSc student working with the CIO; “it was just impossible.” So some students have to live in The Hague, Rijswijk and even Schiedam, which is a ten-minute train ride from Delft station. Less than ideal, admitted TU Delft Vice President for Education and Operations, Anka Mulder, but at least in one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, we managed to organise housing for everybody.

The programme also organised a range of fun and useful events including a bike market, a recycling bazaar, a getting-to-know-Delft ‘city rally’, and a group photo on the roof of the library featuring flags of each student’s country. There is also an ‘IP App.’ and ‘Delftulip’, an online information and community platform for international students at TU Delft.

More Dutch students involved
This year, Dutch students were encouraged to play a greater role in the International Programme, partly so that non-Dutch students would still have some support in place after the first two weeks. “I’ve heard that after a really packed first two weeks, students sometimes have a feeling of “now what?” said Tim Odediren, another MSc student working with the IP. At the Dutch students’ Welcome Week, student associations take a prominent role, so Odediren mailed over 130 associations, including all the sports and culture societies. “And many associations, from jazz to rowing, were very positive becoming involved in the International Programme for the first time this year – that was a huge step!” There is also a ‘buddy system’ called Tandem Delft which brings Dutch and international students together; and for the really enthusiastic, there is a free ‘Learn Dutch’ course over the summer.

Rocket launches
For many students, working on an academic project as part of a team will be a whole new experience so the IP also featured a four-day project to build a water rocket using only recycled plastic bottles, cardboard and sticky-tape. Prizes were awarded for the best poster presentation and the rocket that stayed airborne the longest, at the multicultural celebration that ended the two-week programme. Team ‘Maastricht 1′ won the multicultural teamwork rocket launch with an impressive flight-time of 20.5 seconds and when asked why he thought they’d won, the team’s spokesman said: “The first day, we all drew our own flags and stuck them on the rocket. That’s what did it!”

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