As lecturers and other employees are busy ‘workshopping’ in Het Kasteel (the Sparta Stadion), students Christian (IBMS, from England) and Leo (IBL, from Sweden) catch us up.
What are you doing here?
Christian: ‘We are helping with this Focus afternoon about internationalisation. We’re working for CoIA, the Centre of International Affairs of HR. We’re ambassadors.’
Is that a job?
Christian: ‘Yes, we are getting paid.’
Leo: ‘But it’s also a lot of fun, and you get to see new places.’
So what does an ambassador do?
Christian: ‘For example, we hold intake interviews with students who want to come here from abroad. We usually do so via Skype. They aren’t official intake interviews. It’s just to make them comfortable coming to Rotterdam.’
Leo: ‘We tell them what life in Rotterdam is like, and what their housing options are.’
And do you meet them?
Leo: ‘Yes. Occasionally someone will come here before making a decision to study here. We show them around on campus and let them sit in during a lecture.’
And what did you do today?
Christian: ‘We met with managers of study programmes, among other things. It’s good that we know certain people so we can introduce students to them; in fact, we kind of are the intermediaries between students and the management. This Focus Day happens to be about how to make contact with foreign students easier. And that’s also something we do.’
So you guys said: hire more ambassadors…
Christian: ‘Exactly! It’s good if people who come here know someone right away.’
Are you also involved when it comes to Dutch students wanting to go abroad?
Christian: ‘There are quite a few Dutch students in my class. They know I’m an ambassador so they do ask me things from time to time, like applying for a visa. We refer them to the CoIA as well. As ambassadors we have to be well-known, which is why we are featured on posters and why we have our own Facebook group.’
What is it like to be famous?
Christian: ‘The fact that people know me is fun, but what’s most important is that we can make the students feel good.’
Jos van Nierop