New ISP going for better housing
Brazilian Wongtschowski was chosen by the MAKS programme students to represent her MSc programme. Zilbermann is from Guatemala and represents the international students in Animal Sciences. Both agree that there is much that can be improved.
Housing is an important subject: "We are not in favour of the policy of SSHW," says Wongtschowski. "When we arrive we are simply given a key to our new room. By the end of the first week there are already many MSc students with complaints about their accommodation." The ISP would like international students to be able to indicate before they arrive what kind of room they would like and on what kind of corridor, just like Dutch students can do. They are not happy with the situation now, where most international students are automatically placed in the Bornsesteeg. "Some, like me, want to live with Dutch students to have a chance to get to know the culture of our host country. After all I've come to study in the Netherlands and I have international friends through my course," says Zilbermann. "It's a question of personal taste, but also of culture." The ISP is also worried about the shortage of accommodation available for students who come with their family to the Netherlands. The Panel suspects that there is an increasing number who do this, and is going to look into the matter.
The ISP would like to see easier access to university buildings outside office hours. "Many students do not have access to a computer at home. Especially when they are writing up their thesis they need to work in the evenings and weekends," declares Wongtschowski. They are also keeping an eye on the reorganisation of the Dean's Office, which is becoming integrated into the Central Student Administration. The international students really appreciated the special help offered in the past by the Dean's Office together with the ISP. Wongtschowski: "The information-point where we could go in the first month with practical questions about shops or bikes and for help with paperwork was especially appreciated."
The two new ISP members find it a pity that MSc students take a long time to go to the ISP with their complaints. "We are their representatives, so we expect their input," says Wongtschowski.
MSc students Jaime Zilbermann and Mariana Wongtschowski are two of the twelve new ISP members. Photo: Guy Ackermans