WUR provides plenty of opportunities to interact with fellows from diverse backgrounds. Resource blogger Kaavya Raveendran wonders: is this just to burn extra alone time or a genuine effort in the direction of camaraderie? And are the Dutch equally interested in integrating with the internationals?
© Sven Menschel
One of the things all students moving to foreign environments look for or expect to experience, is making connections within the international community. WUR life encourages you to integrate with the said community on many occasions. From AID, to group works, to student associations and One World Week, there are plenty of opportunities lined up for you to be able to interact with fellows from diverse backgrounds.
But since quite some time now, few questions have been circling in my head. Do we celebrate diversity to just create more awareness and acceptance of our differences? Are the Dutch equally interested in integrating with the internationals? Do we connect with the international community beyond just our distinguished cultures? And lastly, is this all just to burn extra alone time or a genuine effort in the direction of camaraderie?
At WUR, no doubt, we all carry our identities in association with our home countries with pride. We all are also curious to know about global culture, food and other interesting aspects linked to diversity. I have personally witnessed this energy among students where they come together and learn so many new things about each other which only an international community can offer. So, in all, we all reap the benefits of being part of such a wide-ranged community. art and hard-earned too, but my life shouldn't just be revolving around getting a degree.
In my experience, the native people, that is the Dutch, are comparatively less enthused by the existence of this community. While I see many Dutch faces at events and workshops, their percentage is much lower than the turnout of international students. Dutch people probably possess the best ability in the world to make small talk. They are extremely inquisitive to hear about you and your culture, but in my experience only a handful want to connect with you beyond just this curiosity.
That brings me to my next point. International students I have met so far are very easy to bond with. They are open to not just acquaintances but also friendship. Here things go beyond just discussing our cultural differences to connecting on an individual level. Curiosity fades and trust builds up. These connections based on trust are a product of genuine efforts, which require both time and energy. From what I see, as we grow older, we cocoon into our comfort zones, that is, we become more and more reluctant to prioritise this in our lives. So, let me end here with one final question, are you living the international life or missing out on the benefits it offers?