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Week of the International Student: Getting to know each other during the pre-alumni event

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Right at 11:30 AM on November 17, the pre-alumni event of the Week of the International Student (WOTIS) kicked off! The moderator was Lars Sørensen, who welcomed all participants with some energising music! He introduced everyone entering the session and quickly explained Zoom’s functionalities. But not too long, as there was a very busy programme!

As this was the first time this event was ever held online, it may have been less personal than usually. But, an online event also allows us to get together with people from all over the world!

The first guest of the day was Manager of Knowledge & Innovation and Global Development at Nuffic, Roos Hogenkamp, who encouraged everybody to keep up the energy and hope. Usually, this event would be the students’ introduction to the Netherlands. Now that everything is a virtual experience, and everyone is studying online, everything is being done to ensure a full Holland study experience!

Next was Jeroen Kelderhuis, Head Civil Society and Education Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said that education is fundamental to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, and that all OKP and MSP scholarship students are now all ambassadors of the Netherlands. 

After a few words from a current OKP-student who is currently studying in the Netherlands, two videos of OKP alumni were shared, in which they also talked about their past OKP experience. 

After this first part, the participants moved to the breakout rooms, one of which had a fruitful discussion on climate action. The breakout room started with the question of whether or not scholarships help reach the sustainable development goals, with everyone agreeing that it does. Why? Because scholarships are the base for lifelong partnerships between individuals and countries, allowing for lifelong mutual knowledge exchange.

The breakout rooms allowed for each group to discuss their topics for about 45 minutes, until everyone was returned to the main session. Each group had a moderator, and the moderators relayed the most important discussion points back to the host, for everyone to hear. 

Now that the world has changed into one where travel cannot be taken for granted any longer, students and alumni may have to gain and keep up their international experience and contacts in a more virtual way. Having an international network like this opens you up to talk to people from so many different places. It not only may give you a new group of friends, it also allows you to you learn from everyone else’s life experiences!

All with all, a big success for OKP and MSP scholarship recipients to get to know each other a little better virtually!

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