​Delft residents welcome newcomers at the Big International Student BBQ

More than 450 international students were officially welcomed to the city of Delft during the Big International Student BBQ, held on August 30, 2014.

Organized by Delft Christian group Taste!, in cooperation with student housing organization DUWO and the Gemeente Delft, the event was an opportunity for local residents and international students to get acquainted with one another. Community members living in the Roland Holstlaan area opened their doors to the international community by inviting students over for a free barbecue dinner.

“With the start of a new academic year and international students arriving or returning to Delft for their studies, we thought it could be fun to welcome (back) the international students living nearby Roland Holstlaan 751 by hosting a big BBQ,” says Taste! spokesperson Dominique van Werkhoven. “Some of the Taste! community members live together in a community house with a big, beautiful garden that is also open for use to the neighborhood. What better way to meet the students living in the DUWO-owned flats literally next door to the community than by inviting them over for a free BBQ dinner?”

Initially intended as a gathering for 80 to 100 people, the barbecue turned into quite the grand affair. The event generated an overwhelming interest among international students and residents alike. “[Prior to the event,] posters about the barbecue were hung in the buildings and on Friday there were 130 registrations,” says DUWO Social Manager Marjolijn Fortes, in a statement published on the DUWO website. “But in the end, 450 students visited the BBQ on Saturday. It really was a success! The students loved it. Also, it was clear that many international students needed a place where they can get together outside their rooms.”

With the success of their first big event, Taste! plans to organize more activities that will build contact with people in the neighborhood. “It was really great to be able to welcome and meet students from over 20 different nationalities and to see them connecting with one other,” Riley shares. “We also hope to organize an ‘international feast’ where everyone can bring a dish from his or her country to share with others! And during the year, there will be other spontaneous activities.” In the meantime, the group hosts the Delft International Café –an informal gathering where people come to relax, play games and make friends– at Roland Holstlaan 751 every Friday evening, from 20:00 to 22:00.

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