â€œThereâ€™s no way you are going to perform well in your studies, if your personal life isnâ€™t in order.â€
â€“ Tunmise Odediron, 31, Half Nigerian, Half Malaysian, President of ISR
“I was born in Nigeria but Iâ€™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 didnâ€™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 didnâ€™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 thatâ€™s because they had a bad start in their studies. Thereâ€™s no way you are going to perform well in your studies, if your personal life isnâ€™t in order.Â 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 didnâ€™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.Â 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 Iâ€™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.“