Two new world associations at the UT

| Rense Kuipers

Under the umbrella of internationalization platform UniTe, there are two new world associations: the Romanian Student Association and the African Student Association. ‘This could be a bridge to share our culture with the entire UT community.’

Master’s student of Business Information Technology Flory Badea is the initiator of the newly founded Romanian Student Association. ‘I’m originally from Romania and when I came here to study, I saw that there were maybe about twenty other Romanian students.’ That number has increased a lot over the last few years, says Badea. ‘I’ve noticed it during my work for the Marketing and Communications department, being the country’s representative and guiding students through the application process.’

Two-way communication

Having a Romanian student association can be beneficial in a lot of ways, says Badea. ‘In supporting fellow students and representing and helping them if they’re struggling. But this could also be a bridge to share our culture with the entire UT community. Many of my international friends say they need a reality check. I think everyone can use a reality check from time to time. Listening to people from different backgrounds really helps you to understand who you are, where you’re from and what you value. I hope this new association can help spur that form of two-way communication.’

What’s typical for Romanian students? ‘We love technology and programming,’ says Badea. ‘And we’re known for our self-deprecating humour. Also, we are the kind of people who would try everything to make something work. Whatever problem there is, someone from Romania will fix it.’

Traditional sweets

The Romanian Student Association already has six board members. ‘And twenty people who are interested in joining. We’ll start with acquiring members next month.’ This Saturday, during the Kick-In Global Fair, the association will introduce itself to the public. ‘With traditional Romanian dancing and food. We hope people will especially enjoy our favourite childhood sweets.’

‘Something bigger’

Victor Okoro is the founding father of African student association AFRISA. ‘I came to this university in September last year and couldn’t find an association specifically for people from Africa,’ says the Psychology Master’s student. ‘I could have started a Nigerian association and join up with other people from my home country who study here. But I wanted to make this something bigger.’

The goals of the association vary per member, says Okoro. ‘Some people just want to meet others and hang out with them. Others want to share knowledge about studying and living in Enschede. Even knowing which barber to go to helps a lot, since our hair is usually very much different from that of Dutch people. So we need barbers who know what they’re doing.’

Spread throughout Europe

While still in the process of being recognised by Student Union, AFRISA already has over forty members. ‘I work fast,’ says Okoro. ‘My ultimate goal is that this association will spread all throughout Europe. Something like the Erasmus Student Network, but for African international students.’