Science - March 25, 2004

‘For us the Dutch are just as international as the rest of us’

What can Wageningen student organisations offer international students? Wb put the question to the big student clubs and some study organisations. Part six: ISOW, Gen. Foulkesweg 1a, behind the Aula.

Type of club: It’s already in the name - ISOW is an organisation for international students in Wageningen. They offer cultural and educational activities. Chairman José Lozano: “We want to offer our members a feeling of belonging to an association.” The list of weekly activities shows that you can follow a range of dance classes (salsa, Greek and Mexican), do yoga, learn Dutch, see movies or perform in their theatre group Evropi. In addition they organise parties. The club relies on members who organise activities on a voluntary basis.

Openness: ISOW is open to all students in Wageningen, but international students are the principal target group. “For us the Dutch are as international as the rest of us.” Some activities, for example the salsa lessons, have some regular Dutch visitors. There’s even a Dutch girl on the board. Lozano values their presence: “It offers a chance to enrich your culture.”

International members: ISOW currently has 170 members. You can become a member any time you want, for a period of 3 or 6 months or one year. “New students join every week.”

Language: Everything is in English. “Only the teacher of the Mexican dancing class speaks Dutch and Spanish,” laughs Lozano. Nevertheless ISOW also has a Dutch class. “International students want to learn Dutch. It’s useful. At the university you can speak English, but when you’re in the supermarket you don’t know what’s there on the shelves. Besides, language is also culture.”

Does ISOW have anything to offer non-Dutch students?: They offer a lot of activities to pass the time and get to know other international students. If you’ve been able to find their building, ISOW is approachable. Because their building is not equipped for parties, these take place at other clubs, like the party this Saturday at Unitas. You can register for the weekly newsletter on the internet site: www.wau.nl/isow

Yvonne de Hilster

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