Despite the cancellation of some activities because of the lockdown, participants are happy with the opportunity to meet new people. The Winter Break program is organized by the Student Service Center, Student Training & Support and multiple student associations from Wageningen.
Lisa Nguyen, project leader Diversity & Inclusion for students, coordinates the Winter Break programme. ‘For some international students, it is unfortunately not possible to visit their friends and relatives this year. We organize this programme so they can meet new people from different countries and study programs and engage in fun activities together. Because of the new corona measures, we sadly had to cancel many activities, including sporting activities and a scavenger hunt. Luckily, many other activities can still be done.’
Doing something fun
Sergi Domenech (26) is a Master’s student Organic Agriculture from Spain. ‘I signed up for the activities because I like to meet new friends and do something fun. Three weeks ago I came back from Spain to Wageningen to write my thesis. I signed up for group activities as well as open activities. Sometimes we combine them: the Pub Quiz is an open activity but we did it with our group. That was a lot of fun.’
‘I met my group on Monday when we picked up the box with stuff for the group activities. We are from Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Netherlands and I am from Spain. Today we will get together and do some activities again—which ones we will decide later. Maybe writing postcards, baking cake or cookies, or having a movie night. The ambiance in our group is good: we feel comfortable.’
Hiteshree Koli (24) is a Master’s student Food Technology from India. ‘I could not go back home for the winter break because flight tickets to India have almost tripled, it is too costly. Then I considered travelling in Europe, but since it is now a lockdown, it felt safer to stay here. So when I heard about these activities, I signed up for it.’
‘We are a group of four, with one Dutch, one Chinese and two Indian students. We have done a few activities so far: writing postcards to friends and family, writing postcards to the elderly and we participated in the online pub quiz. It is fun to meet new people here and I also like it that we have a Dutch person in our group who can explain to us how Dutch people celebrate Christmas, because in India we don’t really celebrate it.’