About 180 new Masters students have gone through the AID without a mentor. Many of these ‘orphans’ have been adopted though.
There were enough volunteer mentors to cater for the new Bachelors students, but not for 180 of the 613 Masters students who signed up. The AID committee tried to make sure they would have a good AID anyway. 'We gave all the groups without a mentor something to wear that would make them recognizable. Like an eye-catching hat. If everyone wears the same it strengthens the group feeling', says Suzanne de Bruijn, chairperson of the AID committee.
Sangwhan Lim from South Korea, who has come to Wageningen to study landscape architecture, is one of this year's 'orphans'. And at first he was in a group that did not include a single Dutch student either. 'That makes it really difficult. The biggest problem is that none of us speak Dutch. I went to the supermarket to buy milk, but it was sour.' Sangwhan had bought buttermilk. He decided to look for help. During a walk through the town centre he met another group and tagged along. 'I don't know where the rest of my original group is. We have lost contact with each other.'
Games at the Bongerd: riding rodeo with phone.
Asking around, it appears that most students have found a solution like Sangwhan's. Most of the mentors do not mind. 'We had a very big group anyway, with fourteen 'children'. So one or two more doesn't make much difference.' Haregot Haile Zerom from Eritrea did not find this an appropriate solution and set off cautiously on his own. 'I haven't bought a bicycle yet, nor a mobile phone. I don't dare to. If I had had a mentor, I am sure I would have organized that.' He would like to belong to a group, but he has not asked anyone. 'Just ask if I can join another group? Won't people think that's strange?'