Integrating  introduction

August will see the influx of new students joining TU Delft for the next academic year. For Dutch students Ontvangstweek, or Owee, serves as an introduction program to campus and a way to meet fellow students, while international students get the Introduction Program (IP).

This year, organisers are searching for ways to integrate these two events and increase contact between the Dutch and international inductees.

The Dutch program which is held over five days, August 21 to 25, is expecting approximately 3,000 participants this year, and the international program held over 2 weeks expects around 1,800. As TU Delft aims to become an increasingly international institution, attracting larger numbers of interna-tional students every year, it seems important to integrate them with Dutch students. And the students certainly think so. Rianne Smits from the IP team said that every year a questionnaire is sent out after the IP event and "We always get feedback that they missed interaction with Dutch students." Marjo van Koppen, coordinator of this year's IP program added that, "Introducing these groups in the introductory weeks is an opportunity for learning about each other, learning about where differences are and not to judge them but how to deal with them."

For Hubald Verzijl, head of Owee, not only would integration be a chance for internationals to learn about Dutch culture but it could also raise awareness about the significant international student population, and show them the campus and facilities. "If we integrate," he explained, "we are saying welcome to the Netherlands, welcome to TU Delft and good luck studying."

In addition to the large party on the Delft Markt, open to all students, there are more opportunities for international students to get involved in Owee activities. There are several tables reserved for international students to watch the parade in the campus bike lane. There are also 100 places reserved during the pub crawl, and opportunities to join the campus back-stage tour and the campus sing-along.

The executive board of the university has responded positively to upcoming changes to the programs.

Though there are a number of activities with opportunities to crossover, because of timing issues Verzijls does not expect a large number of internationals to join Owee. The first week of IP, when Owee will be held, sees international students sorting out BSN numbers, visas and administrative issues that Dutch students don‘t need to deal with. Smits and Van Koppen also believe that because most of the Dutch students are undergraduates while most of the international students are master’s students, differences in age and outlook may pose a barrier to integration. Organisers have chosen to integrate activities they believe will best suited both groups. However this is something of a prototype and if the small attempts at integration are well received there are hopes it will be attempted on a larger scale in coming years. "This is an opportunity to try some new things to see how we can make bigger steps during the next program," said Smits.

Read the interview with Hubald Verzijl at