[Meet the fraternity] ABC Islands Association

What motivates someone to trade in an idyllic place like the ABC islands for the Netherlands? It ain’t the weather, but the TU Delft sure proves a draw. Student association ABC Compas is here to make the islanders feel at home.

The board members of ABC Compas showing the flags of the three islands represented by the association (L-r Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire). (Photo: Chris Reichard)

  • Name: ABC Compas
  • Associated countries: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao 
  • Established in: 2011
  • Number of members: 154

What does the ‘Compas’ part of your name stand for?

Juliet Huiskes (19), vice-president: “We provide guidance to the people that come from Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. We show them the way around Delft. Many have never been here before and do not know anyone.”

Who can become a member?

Jillian Oduber (20), secretary: “Anyone who feels at home with us. Most members come from Aruba or Curaçao, but people from the other islands are welcome too.”

Why were you established?

Nadège Heyligar (26), president: “First and foremost, it was to be together as a group. There are more people from the islands here than you expect. Second, it was to establish connections for later on in life.”

How come so many people from the ABC islands want to study at TU Delft?

Juliet: “Unless you want to study something like Aruban law or hospitality, there are not a lot of opportunities back home. There is no technical university.”

Nadège: “Also, all of us have Dutch nationality, so we can study here on the same terms as Dutch students.”

What are some of the differences between the Netherlands and the islands?

Nadège: “We speak Papiamento, Dutch and English. A sentence is rarely in one language.” 

Juliet: “Things are more laid back on the islands and there are less rules. Missing a deadline, for example, is not a big deal.”

Which typical Caribbean events do you organise?

Nadège: “We celebrate Anochi Krioyo – creole evening – during which we cook traditional food and play music. The thing that makes it typical though are the people.”

What else do you offer students?

Jillian: “Anything that can help our members develop. Social events. CV checks. Connections to foundations that offer jobs on the islands.”

Do many people stay here after they finish their studies?

Clinton Cao (23), media manager: “People mostly go back when they are older, but supposedly only 30% of the people that come here ever move back permanently.”

Read last week’s interview with the Belgian Association here

  • In this series we meet TU Delft’s student fraternities. These fraternities are called gezelligheidsverenigingen in Dutch, which translates as social clubs, but in fact they’re far more than that. If youd like to suggest a fraternity for us to cover, please email us at

Elise Mooijman / Freelance redacteur

Editor Redactie

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