Ben jij een student uit het Caribisch gebied en wil je met iemand praten of zoek je gemeenschap? Je kan hiervoor terecht bij mentoraat Antuba, firstname.lastname@example.org of bij de afdeling studentenwelzijn. Ook studentenwelzijn organiseert evenementen zoals op 10 november een rollerskate avond speciaal voor Caribische studenten.
We talked to several Caribbean students about their experiences in and outside Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.
Student editor Arson talked to Roderick Atmowirono, a 1st-year student in Entrepreneurship & Retail management, and Vanity Lam, a 4th-year student in Communication & multimedia design. What are their experiences inand outside Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences as Caribbean students?
Relatively many Caribbean students study at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences most of them come to the Netherlands for their studies, but what does this all involve?
Vanity (23) is a fourth-year student in Communication & Multimedia design, she came to the Netherlands from Curaçao for her studies and has been living in the Netherlands for about 4 years now. She tells us a bit more about how she started with the preparation, in addition to choosing a study, and registering for stadswonen and DUO, she found it quite difficult to deal with DUO. She received help in Curaçao for arranging her study and got help from her relatives.
Several family members of her also study in the Netherlands, from whom she received a lot of help during her studies, for example with the language. “Especially with reports I have trouble with the Dutch language, my niece helps me by checking my reports on language.” says Vanity.
Roderick, first-year student of Entrepreneurship & Retail Management (student Vanity preferred not to be photographed)
We also spoke with Roderick (19), he started the Entrepreneurship & Retail Management course this school year and came to the Netherlands from Aruba for his studies and has been living in the Netherlands for about 4 months now. He went through the same process of DUO and applying for stadswonen. For this, he took a gap year after HAVO to arrange other matters such as a certificate of authenticity for his driver's license and finding his birth certificate that was still in Suriname.
He participated in the preparatory course of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences 'Subi Jet pa bo Get', where he was prepared and, for example, helped with cooking and finding a room. He also followed an elective course, especially for Caribbean students. That is how he ended up at mentorship Antuba, where Caribbean students can go for advice and workshops.
What do you think is the biggest difference between Curaçao and the Netherlands in terms of culture?
Vanity: In my experience, Dutch culture is a bit more individualistic, and everyone is very independent. I also notice this at school where everyone does their own thing, I found it difficult to find my way.
Because of this, she had the feeling that she did not belong in the Netherlands at the start of her studies and did not know where to go for help at school. Because she has difficulty with the language, she also found it difficult to speak up about things and had difficulty making friends. In the first year, her grades were also low, and she struggled to make it, not getting the help she needed at the time.
Besides living in a new country, having difficulty with the Dutch language, finding a home, and having money problems, she did not receive enough support from her school environment. Teachers and fellow students in particular did not understand her situation, which made her feel excluded, especially in the first year, and because of this she often did not want to go to school.
When she got more friends at school, it became much easier for her to participate because the threshold was much lower. If she didn't understand something she could ask more easily, at the beginning she had the feeling that she would be considered stupid if she didn't understand a word. Vanity is now almost finished with her studies and is researching the sense of belonging within Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. She will be ready in January and has recently found her own place in the city after moving 5 times.
Story of Success
Vanity's story is a success story because only 23% of Caribbean students graduate after 5 years at HBO. Many students are first-generation students and are one of the first in their families to go to college, so there are often a lot of expectations. Many factors influence whether a student completes their studies, it is not just about perseverance. Many students also have to deal with money problems and have to work a lot to provide for their basic needs, which often leads to them getting low grades in class.
Also, other issues such as homelessness where students have no secure place to stay and have to sleep with someone else every few months. It is therefore very important that Caribbean students receive the support they need, not only from within the University of Applied Sciences but especially in their immediate school environments, such as the teachers and the students.
Roderick also does not feel at home yetat school because fellow students quickly make assumptions that he cannot speak Dutch because he is from Aruba. Due to the preparatory processes, he is in a stronger position and feels comfortable with the teachers, but he is not yet comfortable with his fellow students. He has also found his own place in Rotterdam and with the visit of his family who will be accompanying him, he is looking forward to his study time in the Netherlands.
Are you a student from the Caribbean and want to talk to someone or are you looking for community? You can contact the mentorship Antuba, email@example.com, or the student welfare department for this. Student welfare also organizes events such as a roller skate evening on November 10,specifically for Caribbean students.