Christmas and Easter are perhaps the most difficult periods to get through
when you’re not at home and miss your loved ones. Some international
students have found contact families in the Netherlands that welcome them
during these days, and more often when both like so.
ISP member Marsha Grant from Jamaica is very enthusiastic about this
contact between international students and the Dutch, as it enhances a
better understanding of Dutch life and helps international students with
integration here. Her own experience with a Dutch family is very positive,
she relates. The frequency of visits is flexible, to the liking of both the
student and the family. However, at present the number of families is
limited to thirty.
The contact between international students and Dutch families is an
initiative of the Student Chaplaincy. Christien de Jong, who is a volunteer
with the student chaplaincy, tells of one family that built up such a good
relationship with an Ethiopian student that they ended up visiting him in
Ethiopia. She continues, saying that up to now she has always managed to
find enough interested families for the students who wanted contact with
Dutch people, but more families would be welcome.
Marsha Grant suggested that the university could take the initiative as
well and seek Dutch families that would be happy to welcome international
students every now and then. Stella Efdé, head of the section student
affairs of the university, encourages the initiative of the student
chaplaincy and is willing to see whether the university can support the
initiative. The ISP or ISOW could also put items such as this on their
agendas, she says. She added that the university does already organise a
party at Christmas for international students.