A different culture, disappointing accommodation and all that double Dutch. Indeed, the life of a foreign student or worker in Wageningen is not a bed of roses. But since tuesday, the Global Cafe is here once a month.
Why, when there are already all kinds of organizations for foreign students?
'There are, but these are often set up for a particular nationality. For example, a student association for Chinese, Indonesian or Ghanaian students. If you want to go beyond the borders of these communities, things get tougher.'
One could say that it can't get more international than it is in Wageningen.
'This is not entirely true. You hear foreign visitors say that Wageningen does not always cater to foreigners, no matter how international we may be. Much communication is in Dutch and that gives foreigners the feeling that they are missing out on something.'
What are you going to do about that?
'The Global Cafe will provide a meeting place, and also a venue where we can take stock of what's bothering people, so that we can advise the municipality and Wageningen UR on specific improvements.
Otherwise zooms in on students, but for the Global Café, employees are also welcome.
'And their partners, too. We also hear them say that they need a place to meet other nationalities. Moreover, they may be able to help us get research projects in their native countries. We can then offer these as internship or research projects to students in our Research Mediation Programme.'
So it's like: since they're already here...
'We just want to make more use of the richness of all the cultures on our campus. We can receive the visitors, let them do their work and then say goodbye to them. Or we can try to build a permanent relationship. We think that the latter has more value.'
So the first party starts today?
'Yes, and councillor Stella Efde will officially open the Global Cafe. The mayor had wanted to do so himself, but he is otherwise engaged. It's good to see that Wageningen attaches so much importance to this.'
Global Café, specially for foreign students and workers (Dutch people are also welcome). Every first Tuesday of the month, from 20:30 hours in the Vreemde Streken pub.