More joint activities for international and Dutch students

The Erasmus Student Network Delft will have an integration committee next academic year to close the gap between international and Dutch students. How will they do that?

Aoibhinn Reddington, president of ESN Delft. (Foto: Roos van Tongeren)

One out of three international students feels depressed sometimes, says recent research by the ISO, LSVb and ESN. This could be because of the loneliness they experience. ESN Delft wants to change this by organising more mixed activities for Dutch and international students.

“We noticed there was a gap between the Dutch and the internationals,” says Aoibhinn Reddington, President of ESN Delft. “The internationals want to learn more about the Netherlands, but it is not working. I think the ESN is a good party to organise more for internationals and Dutch, because we are not country associated like other international associations and we are growing.”

But why do the internationals have to integrate, why can’t there be different groups? “If you do not integrate, it doesn’t matter which country you are in,” says Reddington. “If you integrate, you are more enthusiastic about the country and may come back to do a PhD or internship.”

ESN Delft was founded in 2015 and focuses on Erasmus programme exchange students. ESN’s  activities are open to everyone: international and Dutch. The association has a culture committee that plans trips to Belgium and Giethoorn, and an activity committee that organises parties. Next year it will have an integration committee as well. Besides the committees, ESN supports the Buddy project.


Patrick (Dutch, right on the picture) is buddy to Kenny (Chinese) and some other international students. “This means that I show them around in the Netherlands and answer questions,” Patrick says. “One time I had to help a guy buy an airplane ticket, and another time I had to fix a broken tyre.” Besides these practical things, they also do fun things together. “We had a dinner and a bike tour,” remembers Kenny. “That was nice. This is a good opportunity to learn more about the Netherlands.”

They also see that internationals and Dutch students are not mingling. “I don’t think it will change,” says Patrick, who did an Erasmus in Warsaw himself.  “It’s such a short exchange so you don’t learn the language and you want to do so many things.” “You meet a lot of people from different countries. I wanted to meet Dutch people,” says Kenny. “That way, you maintain a relationship with the place. An Erasmus alumni association would be nice.”

Fraternity tour
A short exchange is not the only reason of the lack of mingling. “Delft has a huge culture of student associations,” says Reddington. “They are all closed and not very open to international students. Study related associations do a better job.” Patrick recognises this too. “It would be good if student associations would organise more activities with internationals.”

ESN organised a tour through Virgiel. “The fraternity tour gave internationals a glimpse into fraternity life,” says Reddington. “I think we will organise more of this type of thing next year. And I would love to organise a big international festival where all the cultures come together.”  

ESN is currently looking for a new board member, buddies and enthusiasts to fill the committees. Interested? Take a look on their website for more information.

Delta wrote about the (lack of) integration of international students: Seperate worlds

And about international student societies: Student societies typical Dutch? Nope.  There is a whole series about the international fraternities, click on #meetfraternity below to read all the stories. y 

Roos van Tongeren / Redacteur

Editor Redactie

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