Van Bergen Award for TU Delft employees

Qing-yi Fan and Kim-Lan Jong Baw won the Van Bergen Award for internationalisation and diversity in the Cultural Interaction Initiative Competition with their project plan, Buddy Talk.

“It was an idea we already had for months, and then the competition came up, and it was the perfect opportunity for us,” said Fan, CEG international office employee. “Our idea fit the rules of the competition and the goal of enhancing intercultural interaction between international and Dutch students. So we decided to elaborate our idea,” explained Jong Baw, an LDE trainee.

Buddy Talk focuses on language development and is essentially a platform and network for international and Dutch students to help them learn a new language. At Buddy Talk students will be able to indicate which language they speak fluently, and which language they want to learn. A match between two students will be made and they can then teach each other the language of their choice. “Our plan is to facilitate by organising events, speed-dating and lectures for people who have to deal with intercultural communication,” said Jong Baw. “The idea is to create a sort of community, so you don’t only have contact with your buddy, but a network of people,” she explained.

Fan and Jong Baw aim to match buddies according to hobbies, interests, age or where they live. The hope is that the more in common buddies have, the more successful their partnership will be. From personal experience, the pair know how hard it can be to find a buddy alone, and one with common interests harder still, they appreciate the need for buddies to click.

They plan to launch their scheme at Leiden University in September 2015, and to be successfully established by early 2016 when they hope to expand the programme to TU Delft. Participation will be free. “It costs a lot of money most of the time to follow a language course, and a lot of time, two things students do not have,” said Jong Baw. 

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