Questions were asked about the enrollment process, about the submission of diplomas and certificates, about registering with the municipality, about opening a bank account, and about whether it is necessary to get tested for tuberculosis at the municipal health service (GGD). As well as how to pick up your notebook if you are quarantining at home? A wide range of questions were raised this afternoon, even though many of the answers can also be found on the special site.
The first session, to which 250 international students had been invited, was joined by about 125 participants at two in yesterday afternoon. Marjan van Ganzenwinkel, host of the webinar and staff member of the CEC, notices at once that many participants have come from farther afield than the European community. She asks participants in the chat to say which country they are from. The world map is well and truly covered: Japan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, India, Mexico, Brazil, Hong Kong, Russia, Dubai, Indonesia, Kosovo, Pakistan, and so on.
Sarah van den Nieuwenhof of the International Office at TU/e welcomes the participants and says she understands that for many of them getting to Eindhoven has been a long and difficult process. “Schools and embassies suddenly closing, problems obtaining your diploma, travel restrictions, taking care of your own health and that of your loved ones at home, and perhaps on top of all that having to quarantine at home in Eindhoven. It’s been a lot to contend with,” says Van den Nieuwenhof to the participants. She applauds their perseverance.
At least they needn’t worry about those diplomas, which may be issued late due to corona. According to Van den Nieuwenhof they can be submitted any time before the end of September. In the meantime, students can start their degree program as planned.
Also making a short presentation is the international student association Cosmos. Its Brazilian chairperson Bárbara Dias explains the aims of her association, which numbers fifteen hundred members and eighty nationalities, and the events that will be organized for its members throughout the year. These include the celebration of Sinterklaas, although in all likelihood without any ‘Black Peters’. Dias promotes the association as the place where internationals can bring their questions and problems. But also, of course, as somewhere offering fun and laughter and the prospect of making new friends and contacts.
A cascade of questions then ensues, most of which the experts at TU/e prove capable of answering. Any questions that can’t be answered due to lack of time will be collected and the answers will later be mailed to the participants, promises host Van Ganzenwinkel. At which point she has to sign off, because the second session is about to begin. A new round, new questions.