Feeling at home on campus
The two students, from Lebanon and Turkey, have been in the Netherlands for some time and heard about the Radboud Welcomes Newcomers initiative via a friend or via a Whatsapp group. They are gratefully making use of the opportunity to participate in education at the university. Both students attend lectures in Artificial Intelligence, among others. Attending the courses allows the students' lives to feel more 'normal' again, allowing them to forget the problems at home or the AZC a bit more. They feel at home on campus and enjoy being here.
Apart from attending lectures, there is also room for social activities with other students and buddies. As a result, the students get to know new people, feel involved in Dutch society and learn a lot about our culture. One student was struck by the fact that in the Netherlands, most activities are planned in advance, even an appointment with friends. Another thing they noticed is that, while the area surrounding the university is very open, students still feel safer here on campus than in their home country.
In the Netherlands, most activities are planned in advance, even an appointment with friends
Bonding with your buddy
The project allows the students to have close contact with other students in the programme, with Lia, refugee policy coordinator at the university, and with their buddies. Nathalie is one of these buddies and she says she is currently mentoring three to four students. A newsletter informed her about the initiative and she wanted to give other people the feeling of home just like she experiences on campus. Nathalie says the amount of guidance needed varies from student to student. Sometimes students are very independent and don't require any help, while sometimes a special bond can emerge between the buddy and the student, even resulting in a friendship. No matter how much guidance is needed, this bond is very valuable in all cases.
Both refugee students are incredibly grateful for the opportunity they have been given. In the future, the students would like to delve further into Artificial Intelligence. One of the students looks forward to pursuing the full Bachelor's programme in AI, while the other student is currently focusing on his venture in programming. This is how he would like to create an income for his family who unfortunately cannot be with him at the moment.