“There’s no way you are going to perform well in your studies, if your personal life isn’t in order.”
– Tunmise Odediron, 31, Half Nigerian, Half Malaysian, President of ISR
“I was born in Nigeria but I’ve grown up in India, Rwanda, China, the US, the Netherlands, and I also did an internship in Belgium for 3 months. I have to admit I didn’t have many of the struggles that I saw my peers having when it came to being an international student as I went to boarding school when I was 10 to 12 years old, so I learnt how to be independent at a very young age. I didn’t have to deal with all these issue of missing home and adapting to new places, and I was also able to figure out practical stuff in my life much easier.
However, some of my friends that I started university with back in 2008, are still studying right now and I really believe that’s because they had a bad start in their studies. There’s no way you are going to perform well in your studies, if your personal life isn’t in order. For example, one of my friends lived in Rijswijk, but studied in TU Delft and in the first months, he would do all his groceries in Delft because he didn’t know where to go in Rijswijk. Things like this and information that a lot of Dutch students take for granted, is something ISR really tries to help internationals with, which is one of the reasons why I joined. I see ISR as a way to help international students but also as a way to meet new people and be part of a family.
A lot of times, internationals think the problem with integration is because of Dutch people, but I think the problem comes from both sides. Internationals have to make their own steps to meet Dutch people half way. One big advice I give to every international, is to take Dutch courses because learning the language really helps with meeting people and becoming part of the society. I actually joined a student association in 2012 and we had some Dutch board members, and only after that point, I really felt like there was a curtain lifted on my student life. All of a sudden, I was finding out about more parties and more events to go to and I was meeting a lot more Dutch people. I think me joining that association was a turning point and I’m still good friends with those guys even still today! I think internationals should realize the importance of joining an association like ISR or the one I joined.“