Student - May 12, 2011

Student societies go international


There is an exotic flavour to Ceres, KSV Franciscus and SSR-W this week. The three student societies are joining forces with ESN, WSO and ISOW to organize the first International Week, aimed at fostering contacts between Dutch and international students.

The idea for an International Week has been simmering for some time, explains KSV's Kester Smits. 'Wageningen University continues to grow, and there are more and more international students. If the major societies ignore that trend then they are really missing something. We would have preferred to have organized something when the Erasmus students came to Wageningen but we didn't manage that. We definitely wanted to do something this year and so we ended up with May.'

The intention is to hold an international week once or twice a year, following the example of Grongingen. Five student societies in that city have jointly been organizing all kinds of activities for more than ten years now, with the aim of letting international and Dutch students learn more about each other's culture and customs.
Smits realizes it may remain just a one-off experiment as it depends on the effort put in by individual committee members. 'But we will certainly urge the new committee to upgrade the International Week and turn it into something special.'
The International Week started Wednesday evening with a workshop on salsa dancing at Ceres. On Thursday there is a pub quiz at KSV Franciscus. The International Week ends on Friday at SSR-W with a barbecue in the garden and a closing party.
The University has not made any contribution although it does encourage internationalization, says Smits. 'We might be able to get some money from the University for next year. At the moment it is just the societies that have put in money, time and effort.'
Nine teams have now registered for the pub quiz. KSV has bottles of wine on offer for the first ten teams. 'That is roughly 50 students and we have room for 120. I hope it's a success. Many international students tend to decide at the last minute whether to register.'