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Reimo Nickel, from Germany, is a new member of the board of PROMOOD, the Delft association of PhD students. Reimo's not only busy looking for problems to solve, he's also planning to organise social events for foreign PhD students, serving up food and music from different cultures.

/strong>Coffee roomThanks to Prologue, an information booklet in both in English and Dutch, more foreign PhD students know about PROMOOD. 'Prologue was the first bilingual document we spread throughout the whole university. All PhD students now receive it at the start of their projects," says PROMOOD board member, Ellen Jagtman, who notes that the association's last general meeting was attended by more foreign PhD students than Dutch students.In February, Reimo Nickel, from Germany, became a PROMOOD board member. 'People can come to us with their questions or problems and we will try to help them," Nickel says. 'To better understand the specific problems foreign PhD students encounter, we distributed a questionnaire. Of course, we then try to bring these problems to the attention of the executive board."Last September, Nickel began his PhD research project at the department of Offshore technology, studying the effect of wind and water wave power to energy producing wind turbines. Nickel: 'It's more difficult for PhD students to meet other students than it is for MSc students, because each PhD student is working on his own individual research project. Personally, I don't want to sit alone in my room all the time, so when a Civil Engineering PhD student asked me to join the PROMOOD board, I jumped at the chance."Nickel would like PhD students to have their own meeting within the university, where students of the various faculties could socialise. Nickel: 'Because there's no place for PhD students to meet, I'm planning to arrange a social gathering before the summer to see if there are people who are interested in organising parties with food and music from our different cultures."Dutch'It's more difficult to get to know people if you don't speak the local language. In the coffee room people often speak Dutch, and presentations are also often held in Dutch", says Nickel, who, helped by his German origins, has learned to speak Dutch reasonably well. "Foreign PhD students actually have to learn two languages. It makes life easier if they understand a little Dutch, and for writing their theses, most of them have to improve their English language skills." As a PROMOOD board member, Nickel would like to stimulate improvements in Dutch language courses.'I don't know how much influence PROMOOD has, but I hope it has some, ' Nickel says. 'I think it would might be better if Dutch language courses are especially devised for PhD students, because they need to know different things than the foreign students who are following Dutch BSc and MSc courses.'Another problem Nickel wants to draw attention to is the information that TU Delft sends to PhD students before they come to Delft. Nickel: "Some people expect everything to be arranged when they arrive in Delft. Some faculties do take care of renting an apartment and things like that, but others do not. Before arriving in the Netherlands, foreign PhD students should know if they must arrange an apartment themselves, and if so, they should be given tips how to do it, as well as a bit more general information about Dutch culture."

Reimo Nickel, from Germany, is a new member of the board of PROMOOD, the Delft association of PhD students. Reimo's not only busy looking for problems to solve, he's also planning to organise social events for foreign PhD students, serving up food and music from different cultures.Coffee roomThanks to Prologue, an information booklet in both in English and Dutch, more foreign PhD students know about PROMOOD. 'Prologue was the first bilingual document we spread throughout the whole university. All PhD students now receive it at the start of their projects," says PROMOOD board member, Ellen Jagtman, who notes that the association's last general meeting was attended by more foreign PhD students than Dutch students.In February, Reimo Nickel, from Germany, became a PROMOOD board member. 'People can come to us with their questions or problems and we will try to help them," Nickel says. 'To better understand the specific problems foreign PhD students encounter, we distributed a questionnaire. Of course, we then try to bring these problems to the attention of the executive board."Last September, Nickel began his PhD research project at the department of Offshore technology, studying the effect of wind and water wave power to energy producing wind turbines. Nickel: 'It's more difficult for PhD students to meet other students than it is for MSc students, because each PhD student is working on his own individual research project. Personally, I don't want to sit alone in my room all the time, so when a Civil Engineering PhD student asked me to join the PROMOOD board, I jumped at the chance."Nickel would like PhD students to have their own meeting within the university, where students of the various faculties could socialise. Nickel: 'Because there's no place for PhD students to meet, I'm planning to arrange a social gathering before the summer to see if there are people who are interested in organising parties with food and music from our different cultures."Dutch'It's more difficult to get to know people if you don't speak the local language. In the coffee room people often speak Dutch, and presentations are also often held in Dutch", says Nickel, who, helped by his German origins, has learned to speak Dutch reasonably well. "Foreign PhD students actually have to learn two languages. It makes life easier if they understand a little Dutch, and for writing their theses, most of them have to improve their English language skills." As a PROMOOD board member, Nickel would like to stimulate improvements in Dutch language courses.'I don't know how much influence PROMOOD has, but I hope it has some, ' Nickel says. 'I think it would might be better if Dutch language courses are especially devised for PhD students, because they need to know different things than the foreign students who are following Dutch BSc and MSc courses.'Another problem Nickel wants to draw attention to is the information that TU Delft sends to PhD students before they come to Delft. Nickel: "Some people expect everything to be arranged when they arrive in Delft. Some faculties do take care of renting an apartment and things like that, but others do not. Before arriving in the Netherlands, foreign PhD students should know if they must arrange an apartment themselves, and if so, they should be given tips how to do it, as well as a bit more general information about Dutch culture."

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