During the Annual Introduction Days (AID), new students from all over the world come together in Wageningen to get to know the university, the associations and the city. But also to get to know each other. For example at the Crossing Borders festival, where all continents of the world were celebrated.
© Kaavya Raveendran.
AID-participants were invited to visit all continents and try activities from each region, such as baking ‘stroopwafels’ (Dutch cookies), getting a henna tattoo, learning belly dancing or relaxing with a yoga session.
The African and Latin dance workshops were very popular. ‘It was a great opportunity to learn about the culture of the students I’m going to study with', says Catalina Ramirez, a master student from Colombia. ‘I particularly loved teaching salsa to my Chinese friend.’
Why organize events like the Crossing Borders festival during the AID? ‘Wageningen University is a very international place so it’s important for all students to be aware of the diversity', says chair of the AID-board Femke van der Wolde. ‘Crossing borders is a step in this direction.’
Studying, working and living together
Heather ten Ham, project leader diversity and inclusivity of the Student Service Centre, agrees with Van der Wolde. According to Ten Ham, the festival includes activities that contribute to a better mutual understanding between different cultures and nationalities on campus. ‘The new students come from many different cultures and backgrounds. Introducing them to the diversity on campus, helps prepare them for studying together, working together on assignments, and living together.’
‘Getting to know one another can help create mutual understanding', Ten Ham continues. ‘For example, if you know that a fellow student is quieter because he or she is from a culture where it’s less normal to share your opinion, you might be more inclined to ask his or her opinion and hear their point of view. More understanding for each other can provide room for more acceptance and room to talk about each other’s differences and find common ground.’