CLMN | Living in a Box3 April 2017
When I moved to the Netherlands, I was really looking forward to freedom from my parents, a new culture and bad weather. What I didn’t expect, was to be put in a box.
I live in a nice student residence in Strijp‐S. But, up until last year some of my fellow international students weren’t so lucky. They were living in these concrete boxes on the side of the campus’ cycling lanes. Luckily for them, they moved on to better, bigger and less exposed places. I just find it so poetic that Dutch people are living in their own boxes. The only difference is that these boxes can’t be bulldozed as easily.
When I got here, my Dutch friends put me in a box. Not a physical one. No need to call the police. It was more of a mental one where they classified me as a ‘university friend’. And that was that, I was a friend for the weekdays. On the weekends, they would visit their other boxes and their other friends and reverse the same process on Monday mornings. They leave boxes full of people everywhere they go, and aside from students’ house parties when they need people to fill it up, the boxes stay separate.
Last month, when the ‘America first but the Netherlands second’ video came out, I could only think of the wall building that the Dutch, like Americans, do in their lives. I sound so critical right? It does get better though, once they get to know you a bit better, they might mention their other boxes and recently I’ve been introduced to a couple more. I just didn’t expect it would take that long.
So to all the Dutch people reading this article: build bridges, not walls or boxes.
The quality of education seems to have slipped at TU/e. In the latest Dutch-language guide to universities (Keuzegids Universiteiten), Eindhoven's university has dropped from third place in the overall ranking to seventh place in the course of a year. "It's understandable but it's not good," says President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers, "and it is all the more reason to push on with introducing an upper limit on student intake to our programs. This is a result of the strong growth in student numbers."
Eindhoven's iGEM team has arrived in Boston. In the coming days, the students will participate in the Giant Jamboree, competing with nearly three hundred teams from all over the world. Their competition entry is their project GUPPI, in which they propose encapsulating tumors in a gel to prevent them growing and spreading.
As well as professors, from now on associate professors (UHD-1) at TU/e may also confer doctoral degrees on PhD candidates. Sixty associate professors were awarded the right to confer doctoral degrees at the start of this academic year after the move was approved by the Upper House of Parliament in the Netherlands shortly before the summer recess. “We couldn't wait to introduce this here.”
Before you google yet another one of my invented diseases and subsequently begin to question the title of this story, let me tell you this. With a new academic year having begun and a shiny new batch of freshmen accompanying it, the university is full of people suffering from the so-called octopus syndrome.